Ready for the Future
By Garrod Massey
Recently, Ron Siauw and I traveled to Underwriters Laboratory (UL) outside of Chicago for additional training. With UL, we have the ability in the UCEC shop to do three different listings: 508A (pretty basic, standard stuff); 698 and NNNY. These last two are ratings for control panels in hazardous locations.
In the middle of last year, UCEC became certified for NNNY and 698A. So, we know a good bit about the classifications and their stringent guidelines. We also knew enough to respect these classifications, so extra training was important. It’s definitely a case of “dotting the i’s and crossing the t’s”!
Ron and I spent two 9-hour class days at UL. Some of this time was brushing up on revisions to the 508A code book. Ron had never attended these classes before, so this part of the trip was especially valuable for him. These code books are like law documents—lots of dense text—so it’s great to be able to ask a lot of questions.
Ron was able to learn about short circuit ratings. This is used in panels where a customer wants to (for example) maintain a 65KA circuit rating. This means the panel has to withstand the 65,000 amps of power service feeding the panels. So, we have to look at the panel components, too. If a component is rated just to 10K, the component could fail and hurt someone very badly. Calculating the SCCR is pretty difficult; there are a lot of things we have to look for as we design and build the panel.
We moved next to the 698A course. For these UL listed panels, the panel itself will not be located in the hazardous location, but circuits will feed out from the panel that we’re building into equipment located in hazardous locations. Some things we have to pay attention to are making sure the signal has limited electrical and thermal energy. Also, we need to make sure we completely understand from the customer and their panel designers what type of hazard that we’re dealing with. Each hazardous material has its own flashpoint.
The more training I can get for my team and myself, the better. As professional panel craftsmen and women, it’s our job responsibility to understand the guidelines for UL listings. And now that Ron has trained extensively on our listings, I have additional confidence in his safety testing.
Since Ron and I returned from training, we’ve been passing on our knowledge to the rest of the team. They understand how important it is to do things correctly, and we have safeguards in place to make sure every panel we create is ready for whatever lies ahead.
Garrod Massey is an Operations Support Manager for UCEC.