Understanding the Concepts Behind Short Circuit Current Ratings (SCCR)Download Now
The date of January 1, 2005 sits vividly in the minds of manufacturers within the industrial control panel field. That's because that's the day when the National Fire Protection Association's (NFPA) National Electrical Code (NEC) 2005 Article 409 officially went into effect. The code required that short circuit current rating be clearly marked on the industrial control panels in order to be inspected and approved. The markings made it easier to verify proper over-current protection against hazards such as fires and shocks on components or equipment, whether it be for initial installation or relocation. It was the beginning of an era when things would become a little more complicated, but for all the right reasons of ensuring more safety within the industrial world.
The main vision of the NFPA is to reduce or limit the burden of fire and other hazards on the quality of life by providing and advocating scientifically based consensus codes and standards, research, training and education. These codes and standards were established to minimize the possibility of and effects of fire and other risks. Due to misinterpretations, inconsistencies and advancements in technology over the years, they have had to update their codes with consistency in order to comply with existing standards.
Therefore, the focus of this paper will look at the changes that occurred due to Article 409, the impacts that it had, who was affected by the code and how to comply with the code. Precautions like this article had been enforced in the past, but they were too vague, so people found ways to get around them.
The biggest change that took place within the article was the new requirements adopted for industrial machinery electrical panels, industrial control panels, some HVAC equipment, meter disconnect switches and various motor controllers. For the purpose of this paper, we will be concentrating on industrial control panels which are specified as assemblies rated for 600V or less and intended for general use. All in all, it states that the above products must feature a safe design and be clearly marked with specific information concerning Short Circuit Current Rating (SCCR) in efforts of aiding with the designing, building, installation and inspection of the control panels. This way, the above users can both reference and apply all the needed requirements for all new products and installations as well as for modifying existing ones.