industrial control panel
Industrial Control Panel approval services

Industrial Control Panel approval services:

Here at Product Approvals Ltd, we have a wealth of experience in facilitating the certification of industrial control panels, whether it be CE marking for the UK (and rest of the EU), or for the USA (such as UL approval) and Canada (such as CSA marking). We’ve carried out assessments on simple control units right through to a £ million+ multiple-line manufacturing system for installation in the USA. And we also offer training courses capitalising on the years of hard-won experience we have acquired, which can help equip your team with the required knowledge to get started on obtaining relevant approvals, if you wish to do this in-house (or perhaps just to understand the requirements better).

This page describes our various service offerings and also the training courses we run in this field.

We have also given below a useful insight into some of the typical approval processes involved in the various approval types.

 

Index of control panel approval services offered: 

1. Assistance with CE marking for the EU

2. Assistance with type approval for the USA

3. Assistance with Field Evaluation (FE) approval for the USA

4. Assistance with type approval for Canada

5. Assistance with Special Inspection for Canada

6. Training Course: An introduction to designing industrial control panels to meet CE / US / Canadian requirements. 1 day course.

7. Training Course. Control panel design-for-compliance and component selection to meet CE / US / Canadian requirements. 1 day course. Intermediate level.

 

industrial control panel

 

CE Marking process:

We will assist you to get your control panel CE marked.

NB this is for a control panel, not an associated machine, which requires a separate certification process (which we can also assist with if desired).

 

Typical process:

 

  • Assess the overall panel design (normally including BS EN 60204-1 Safety of machinery. Electrical equipment of machines. General requirements)

  • Assess panel electrical components to the required EC directives and harmonised standards

  • Review rating label markings, user manual / installation cautions & warnings

  • Provide an initial report on findings from review of the control panel design. Recommend changes if needed to bring into compliance

  • Carry out tests if required / advisable (on site or in our laboratory as appropriate and subject to satisfactory prior construction review)

  • Compile a TCF (Technical Construction File)

  • Create a CE DoC (Declaration of Conformity) ready for signing by manufacturer

The process we normally follow is ‘self-certification’ under the applicable CE marking directives such as the Low Voltage Directive. We are also experienced in achieving third-party certifications through the large certification bodies, for example where an end customer may be requesting a particular approval mark to be obtained for the panel.

Whether you just need an initial review of a new control panel design, or just some basic safety checks/tests to be carried out; right through to a full compliance project management service, we can help you.

For further advice and assistance, please contact us on:

Tel: +44 (0)1588 620192

Email: info@productapprovals.co.uk


 

US control panel approval process:

We will assist you to get your control panel certified to US requirements.

The process would normally involve either obtaining a ‘type approval’ for a control panel that is to go into serial production (identical or similar panels shipped to the USA on an ongoing basis) or a ‘field evaluation’ process that is normally best suited to one-off panels, or a small number of panels (not expected to go into serial production).

 

Type approval for the USA:

We will assist you to get your control panel type-approved to US requirements.

Note that there are basically two options to type-approved a control panel. By type-approve, we mean getting the control panel ‘Listed’. This will result in the US safety Listing mark of the relevant certification body (such as UL’ Listing mark) being applied to all the panels made under this scheme.

The two options are:

  1. Find and appoint a registered panel builder to build your US specification panel for you. The builder will apply the Listing mark providing the design is compliant.

  2. Become a registered panel builder yourself. This will require an application to be made to the certification body and upon meeting the various requirements, your panel building facility will be able to apply the certification body’s safety Listing mark to panels built under the scheme. This will require a fee to be paid to the body to gain accreditation and an initial inspection to be done on the first-build panel. Thereafter, an inspector from the certification body will regularly (usually every 3 months) audit you panel building process by inspecting panels that you have built, to ensure they comply with requirements. There will be an ongoing cost levied by the certification body, in order to stay on this programme.

 

Typical process:

Note – the below process may vary depending on which of the above routes you take. For example, some accredited panel builders would expect you to have produced a UL508A compliant design and they will simply build directly to your instructions. In any case, it is important to have a good understanding of the requirements, so for example you can review a US design completed on your behalf by a supplier, to satisfy yourself it is compliant.

 

  • Assess the panel electrical components to check that they are ‘UL Recognised’ (or ‘UL Listed) to the appropriate category and hold suitable CoAs (conditions of acceptability)

  • Assess the overall panel design (normally to UL 508A Industrial Control Panels standard, also taking into account any relevant requirements from NFPA 70 (US National Electrical Code) and NFPA 79 (Electrical standard for industrial machinery).

    • Including sub-tasks such as determination of SCCR (short circuit current rating), how BCP (Branch Circuit Protection) will be implemented, UL/NEMA panel enclosure rating considerations and so on.

  • Review rating label markings, user manual / installation cautions & warnings

  • Provide a report on findings on review of the control panel design. Recommend changes if needed to bring into compliance

  • Carry out pre-compliance testing if required. Note that the UL 508A standard does not require any testing to be done, providing certain conditions are met but there may be instances where it is required, for example if wishing to use a non UL approved component.

 

Timescales for type approval vary depending on the specific approach. If setting-up to become a registered panel builder, able to self-apply certification marks, this could take overall around 6-8 weeks depending on the certification body workload. There would be a very steep learning curve if you have not designed a panel to the UL 508A industrial control panel standard before.

An initial inspection of first-off build of panel will need to be arranged. As mentioned above, an alternative is to locate a panel builder company that already holds accreditation to apply the desired US approval mark to the panel and to sub-contract the build of the panel to that company. Note that such companies may not be able to provide a full design and/or checking service. Product Approvals Ltd can pre-check / assist you in the design process.

The timescales when utilising a registered panel builder will be reduced compared to the time required to become a registered panel builder (and one would need to be manufacturing US compliant panels on a regular basis to justify the cost of registration as a US certification body qualified panel builder).

Whether you would like a review for a new USA-compliant control panel design, assistance with producing a US compliant design, a training course on designing to meet UL 508A requirements, through to a full compliance project management service, we can help you.

For further advice and assistance, please contact us on:

Tel: +44 (0)1588 620192

Email: info@productapprovals.co.uk


 

Field evaluation for the USA:

We will assist you to get your control panel field evaluated to US requirements.

Assuming a Field Evaluation mark is desired then this needs to be carried out by the certification body you wish to use (or as dictated by the end customer). Note that Product Approvals Ltd cannot directly provide a US certification mark but we have many years of experience in facilitating it, liaising on behalf of our customer, with the certification body.

It is worth noting that a Field Evaluation mark is not mandatory and there are many installations in the USA that do not have either a Listing mark (see type approval route described above) or a Field Evaluation mark. These marks are independent verification that the control panel complies with the relevant requirements of the standard or programme (Field Evaluation differs in specific requirements to type approvals). One possible approach is to design in accordance with the US standard and have the design checked, with the resulting reassurance of knowing that if the control panel should subsequently be inspected in the USA, that it will pass (providing all requirements have been implemented).

As mentioned above, Field Evaluations are best suited to one-off or limited production quantities. Each and every panel to be field evaluated and marked will need to be inspected. This inspection can be done in the UK but may require a follow-up re-inspection on the installation site in the USA before the Field Evaluation (FE) mark will actually be applied to the panel by the certification body’s inspector.

Application of the FE mark will normally satisfy the local US AHJ (Authority Having Jurisdiction), if they are called-in or become involved, that the legal requirements have been met. There is much more flexibility in the FE process than the type approval process and it may be possible to accept CE marked components in some applications in the circuit, but the certification body and AHJ have the power to accept or reject the construction on any specific aspect.

Rejection of panel construction (due to one of more non-compliances) by an AHJ (such as local city electrical inspector) is called ‘red-tagging’, and as the name suggests, a red-tag will be affixed to the control panel and it would then be against the law to put it into service until the non-compliance is satisfactorily resolved. Clearly it is wise to review the panel design before it is built and exported, and some manufacturers (and/or end customer) may want a FE initial inspection to be carried out in the UK for extra peace of mind before export of the panel to the USA. Through our industry contacts we have heard of several stories of UK based manufacturers having had to send teams of staff out to the USA or Canada to rework red-tagged control panels on site and having to contend with the consequent expenses, delays and loss of confidence in the manufacturer.

Example process:

  • Assess the panel electrical components to check that they are ‘UL Recognised’ (or ‘UL Listed) to the appropriate category and hold suitable CoAs (conditions of acceptability)

  • Assess the overall panel design (normally to UL 508A Industrial Control Panels standard, also taking into account any relevant requirements from NFPA 70 (US National Electrical Code) and NFPA 79 (Electrical standard for industrial machinery).

    • Including sub-tasks such as determination of SCCR (short circuit current rating), how BCP (Branch Circuit Protection) will be implemented, UL/NEMA panel enclosure rating considerations and so on.

  • Review rating label markings, user manual / installation cautions & warnings.

  • Provide a report on findings on review of the control panel design. Recommend changes if needed to bring into compliance.

  • Carry out pre-compliance testing if required. Note that the UL 508A standard does not require any testing to be done, providing certain conditions are met but there may be instances where it is required, for example if wishing to use a non UL approved component. In our experience, testing is rarely needed.

  • Request Field Evaluation quote.

  • If quote meets requirements, arrange inspection with certification body engineer.

  • Liaise with certification body.

Whether you would like an initial review for a new USA-compliant control panel design, a training course on designing to meet UL 508A requirements, through to a full Field Evaluation compliance project management service, we can help you.

For further advice and assistance, please contact us on:

Tel: +44 (0)1588 620192

Email: info@productapprovals.co.uk


 

Canadian control panel approval process:

Broadly speaking the processes are the same as those described above for the USA control panel approval process, but with some slight differences as described below.

Type approval for Canada:

We will assist you to get your control panel type-approved to Canadian requirements.

 

  • Assess the panel electrical components to check that they are ‘UL Recognised’ (or ‘UL Listed) to the appropriate Canadian component categories and hold suitable CoAs (conditions of acceptability)

  • Assess the overall panel design to Canadian standard CSA C22.2 No.14 Industrial Control Equipment, also taking into account any relevant requirements from the CEC (Canadian Electrical Code). For example, circuit breaker deratings can be different to those applied under the US requirements.

  • Ensure French language markings / warnings are applied in addition to English language.

 

Field evaluation (Special Inspection) for Canada:

The equivalent Canadian process for US Field Evaluation described above is called ‘Special Inspection’.

We will assist you to get your control panel ‘Special Inspection’ to Canadian requirements.

 

  • Assess the panel electrical components to check that they are ‘UL Recognised’ (or ‘UL Listed) to the appropriate Canadian component categories and hold suitable CoAs (conditions of acceptability).

  • Assess the overall panel design to Canadian (CSA) standard SPE-1000. ‘Model code for the field evaluation of electrical equipment’.

    • Unlike the USA, there is a dedicated standard for evaluating electrical products requiring Special Inspection in the form of standard CSA no. SPE-1000. This is used extensively by Canadian certification body field inspectors.

  • Check that the certification body’s mark is accepted by the Canadian province where the equipment is to be installed. The CSA mark is universally accepted across Canada, but some less well known certification body marks may not be accepted in the province, or may elicit additional checks/enquiries because of possible unfamiliarity with the chosen mark with the local inspector.

 

Whether you would like an initial review for a new Canadian control panel design, a training course on designing to meet SPE-1000 & Canadian Electrical Code Canadian requirements, through to a full Special Inspection compliance project management service, we can help you.

For further advice and assistance, please contact us on:

Tel: +44 (0)1588 620192

Email: info@productapprovals.co.uk


 

 

Training courses:

CE (EU), USA and Canada control panel approvals:

If your company is interested in acquiring further knowledge on how to design for approval to pass CE, USA and/or Canadian control panel safety and associated requirements, please contact us for further information.

We can run courses at your location or at our facility. The courses can be tailored to individual requirements.

Further course details are described below.

An introduction to designing industrial control panels to meet CE / US / Canadian requirements. 1 day course.

Target audience: Design and application engineers, technical directors and managers, quality and safety staff.

  • The course will provide a useful and practical introduction on how to get started in achieving compliance to the applicable regulations of the target market (whether for example USA only, or Canada and the EU as well).

  • The course can be structured to focus on one country only or can cover EU, US and Canada (including overall comparison of requirements and key variations between these markets).

  • For CE marking, an introduction to the typically applicable CE marking directives (including the new Low Voltage and EMC Directives that came into force in April 2016) and the use of harmonised standards, how to compile a Technical File and the CE Declaration of Conformity. Also included is an introduction to the standard BS EN 60204-1 Safety of machinery – Electrical equipment of machines. An introduction to the requirements of the EU EMC directive as it applies to control panels is given.

  • For the US and Canadian market introductory course, attendees will gain an understanding of the key regulatory requirements for these countries, for control panels, including use of approved components, short circuit current ratings, enclosure type ratings and circuit protection basics.

  • An introduction to the relevant approval process for the target market.

  • Copy of course Powerpoint slides

 

 

Control panel design-for-compliance and component selection to meet CE / US / Canadian requirements. 1 day course. Intermediate level.

Target audience: Design and application engineers, technical directors and managers

 

  • This is an intermediate level course aimed at technical staff having responsibility for, or undertaking - industrial control panel design work, and assumes some knowledge of the basic approval processes and requirements (as is covered on our introductory course described above).

  • The course builds on the knowledge gained in the introductory course and gives key requirements for specification and selection of key components, depending on target market:

    • Designing to achieve target SCCR (short circuit current rating)

    • Types of circuit protection (for example difference between UL 489 circuit breakers and UL 1077 supplementary circuit protectors and where in the circuit they may be used, examples of fuse classes and so on)

    • Environmental ratings. IP codes for the EU, NEMA and UL enclosure ratings for North America

    • Circuit segregation requirements

    • Class I, II & III circuits. Advantages of using Class II power sources etc.

    • Wiring practices, wire gauges

    • Electrical spacings – creepage and clearance

    • Wire bending space

    • Cooling and air filtering

    • Designing to comply without testing (and when testing might be needed)

    • Grounding (Earthing)

    • Interlocking and emergency stops

    • Arc flash precautions

  • Copy of course Powerpoint slides

 

For further advice and assistance, please contact us on:

Tel: +44 (0)1588 620192

Email: info@productapprovals.co.uk