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Strategy
15/11/2018

Faster access to approval requirements

for pluggable interfaces for industrial control panels
Frank Quast
Head of Product Management Installation Technology, HARTING Electric
Faster access to approval requirements

The trend towards modularity in plants and production facilities also extends to industrial control panels and control units. In response to these developments, HARTING has been cooperating with U.S. product certifier, Underwriters Laboratories, UL. This cooperation has led to faster access through the approval process for pluggable interfaces for industrial control panels and delivers a greater efficiency for the North American market.

UL508A - US-Basis for industrial panel shops

Industrial control panels for the North American market are to comply with the UL 508A standard. This standard defines the requirements for electrical safety and fire protection, with the aim of avoiding personal injury and property damage. Failure to do so may result in non-acceptance and thereby additional expense in installing equipment in the United States and Canada. New trends also entail the need for adaptation. Industrial control panel construction have seen modular assemblies as well as fast and simple connection technology make inroads into all "modern" solutions as essential elements. The standards group has also responded to this trend and has taken the essential innovations into account in standard UL 508A, Edition 2018. HARTING was one of the leading driving forces behind the update of the standard. Particular attention was placed on standards UL 2237 and UL 2238, which are relevant for interfaces installation, performance, and operation. Another update concerns the table SA1.1, requirements for components. Now available on UL.com/UL508A- Supplement SA, gives manufacturers more flexibility in selecting and using UL-certified components. Changes are currently being entered so that adjustments can be made quickly. The requirements continue to be part of the certification.

UL 2237/2238 - Basis for interfaces whithin UL 508A

UL 2237/2238 contain specifications for cable assemblies and connectors in control cabinets. To date, developers who wanted to work with the electrical characteristics relevant to the design of a control panel for the North American market have needed to possess a thorough and detailed knowledge of UL product categories (Category Code Numbers –CYJV, PVVA) – and most often had to contact individual component manufacturers in obtaining performance parameters. The joint efforts of UL, HARTING and panel shops have succeeded in defining these parameters relevant to interface design in every detail. The result is a table in the UL Certification Directory, which is freely accessible and available to anyone at anytime, anywhere, with fingertip access via the UL homepage. All-important specifications such as cable cross-section, the maximum current carrying capacity, environmental rating or overcurrent protection, including short-circuit rating. In the updated version, the values are recognisable at a glance and can be quickly compared for different products.

Data Acceptance Program

UL has accredited the HARTING Technology Group for the Data Acceptance Program (DAP). Since acceptance in the DAP, HARTING has been permitted to conduct testing in its own laboratory according to the UL standards defined in the accreditation certificate. This testing ability can reduce the safety certification process. This program provides a coordinated and integrated effort in reducing in-house product development time. As a result, products can attain certification faster for the North American market, while customer-specific solutions can be developed more efficiently – together with customers.

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