Beama has welcomed the publication by the IEC of parts 1 and 2 of the new 61439 standard series for switchboards (replacing the 60439-1 standard), having championed – and then driven – the revision for some 10 years.
The revision constitutes the most significant change in this area of standards for half a century. Work is continuing on additional parts for the other products in the series that also used 60439 as a reference.
61439 -1 (General Rules) – a general rules document to be referenced by the various parts where required and 61439-2 (Power switchgear and control gear assemblies) reflects the complexity and diversity of clients' equipment requirements. They address the need for a method to verify the design of application specific assemblies.
The key characteristic of the new series is that when remaining parts are completed, it will encompass all low voltage assemblies. When adopted as European standards they will be the logical route to demonstrating compliance with the Low Voltage and EMC Directives.
The headline change to the new standards is the requirement for the performance of every assembly to be demonstrated at design and manufacturing stages. This will be through a combination of stringent and defined verification processes (proving tests, inspection, design rules and/or calculation).
The design performance of assemblies is now determined by a verification process, assessing key performance parameters including circuit ratings, diversity, temperature rise, impulse ratings and short circuit ratings. The overall benefit is that specified performance for each and every application is assured.
As customers become more aware of the benefits of this approach, manufacturers can expect to be challenged to demonstrate the conformity of their products with the new standards.
The benefit to manufacturers and users alike is that all LV assemblies will have a standard that is relevant to that product, and can be used to demonstrate compliance with LV and EMC Directives.
Beama members have been heavily involved in the development of the new standards. As a result of this, Beama has published two guidance documents available from: www.beama.org.uk/assessment. One guide outlines the verification requirements, the other provides a brief, easy-to-understand summary of the revision's key changes.