IEC 61439 Verification Methods 

By on

iec5858The (relatively new) switchgear and control gear standard, IEC 61439 'Low-voltage switchgear and controlgear assemblies' , ensures compliance to the standard by a series of design and routine verifications.

Design Verifications

The standard has three methods which can be used to verify the design characteristics of an assembly will meet the standard. These are verification by test, verification by calculation and verification by the use of design rules.

The following table (table D.1 from Annex D of the standard, IEC:2011) summarizes each characteristic and the allowable options for design verification:

  Verification options
No. Characteristics to be verified Clauses or
subclauses
Testing Calculation Design
Rules
1 Strength of materials and parts:
Resistance to corrosion
Properties of insulating materials:
Thermal stability
Resistance of insulating materials to abnormal
heat and fire due to internal electric effects
Resistance to ultraviolet (UV) radiation
Lifting
Mechanical impact
Marking
10.2
10.2.2
10.2.3
10.2.3.1
10.2.3.2

10.2.4
10.2.5
10.2.6
10.2.7

YES

YES
YES

YES
YES
YES
YES

NO

NO
NO

NO
NO
NO
NO

NO

NO
YES

YES
NO
NO
NO
2 Degree of protection of the enclosures 10.3 YES NO YES
3 Clearances 10.4 YES NO NO
4 Creepage distances 10.4 YES NO NO
5 Protection against electric shock and integrity
of protective circuits:
Effective continuity between the exposed conductive
parts of the assembly and the protective circuit
Short-circuit withstand strength of the protective
circuit
10.5

10.5.2

10.5.3


YES

YES


NO

YES


NO

NO
6 Incorporation of switching devices and components 10.6 NO NO YES
7 Internal electrical circuits and connections 10.7 NO NO YES
8 Terminals for external conductors 10.8 NO NO YES
9 Dielectric properties:
Power-frequency withstand voltage
Impulse withstand voltage
10.9
10.9.2
10.9.3

YES
YES

NO
NO

NO
YES
10 Temperature-rise limits 10.10 YES YES YES
11 Short-circuit withstand strength 10.11 YES YES NO
12 Electromagnetic compatibility (EMC) 10.12 YES NO YES
13 Mechanical operation 10.13 YES NO NO

 

Routine Verification

Routine verification is carried out the detect faults in workmanship and the correct functioning of the panel.  The standard (IEC:2011) list the following:

  1. Construction (see 11.2 to 11.8)
    1. degree of protection of enclosures
    2. clearances and creepage distances
    3. protection against electric shock and integrity of protective circuits
    4. incorporation of built-in components
    5. internal electrical circuits and connections
    6. terminals for external conductors
    7. mechanical operation
  2. Performance (see 11.9 to 11.10)
    1. dielectric properties
    2. wiring, operational performance and function

Original and Assembly Manufacturer

ABBIEC61439Verification
IEC 61439 Verification, Courtesy ABB
The standard also tries to explain the differing roles of the original panel manufacturer and a assembly manufacturer.  The original manufacturer is the party who initially carries out the panel design and arranges for the necessary design verifications to be performed.  The assembly manufacturer is the party who finally builds the panel to the customers requirements and delivers it.    The image shows the relationship between the parties and who performs the verification.

Note: if an assembly manufacturer incorporates his own arrangements, he is then deemed to be the original manufacturer by the standard.

In addition to this post, you may also be interested in my post on 'Forms of Internal Separation' according to the standard:

Switchboard - Forms of Internal Separation



Steven McFadyen's avatar Steven McFadyen

Steven has over twenty five years experience working on some of the largest construction projects. He has a deep technical understanding of electrical engineering and is keen to share this knowledge. About the author

myElectrical Engineering

comments powered by Disqus

  1. CM3PhaseDesign's avatar CM3PhaseDesign says:
    2/21/2012 12:16 PM

    Hi Steven.
    I just wanted to confirm with you that the table D1 above is now out of date. With the issue of Edition 2 last year this table was amended.

    You can see the current table on our website
    http://www.3phasedesign.com/service.asp?i=48&t=Design%20Verification%20Table

    • Steven's avatar Steven says:
      2/21/2012 1:28 PM

      Thanks for pointing this out. I have updated the table to the 2011 edition.


Comments are closed for this post:
  • have a question or need help, please use our Questions Section
  • spotted an error or have additional info that you think should be in this post, feel free to Contact Us



Photovoltaic (PV) - Electrical Calculations

Photovoltaic (PV) cells (sometimes called solar cells) convert solar energy into electrical energy.  Every year more and more PV systems are installed...

Post Authorship

In 2011, with the introduction of it’s Panda search ranking algorithms, Google introduced tools for determining the original author of posts.  The intention...

ABB Technical Guides - Motor Operation

ABB has produced a range of technical guides that offer concise explanations of the major technologies and technical issues in low voltage AC drives. ...

The dc resistance of conductors

This is the first of two posts on the resistance of conductors. In the next post I will look at the ac resistance, including skin effect and we deal with...

Skin Tapping Input

Tapping your forearm or hand with a finger could soon be the way you interact with gadgets. A new technology created by Microsoft and Carnegie Mellon ...

3 Phase Loads

Three phase systems are derived from three separate windings, either connected in delta or star (wye). Each winding can be treated separately, leading...

Fault Calculation - Symmetrical Components

For unbalance conditions the calculation of fault currents is more complex. One method of dealing with this is symmetrical components. Using symmetrical...

Electrical Engineering

Electrical engineering is a field that covers a wide variety of sub-fields, including electricity and electronics. It is a field that goes back to the...

Fire Resistant and Fire Retardant Cables

Fire resistant and fire retardant cable sheaths are design to resist combustion and limit the propagation of flames. Low smokes cables have a sheath designed...

How a Digital Substation Works

Traditionally substations have used circuit breakers, current transformers (CT), voltage transformers (VT) and protection relays all wired together using...

Have some knowledge to share

If you have some expert knowledge or experience, why not consider sharing this with our community.  

By writing an electrical note, you will be educating our users and at the same time promoting your expertise within the engineering community.

To get started and understand our policy, you can read our How to Write an Electrical Note