Find out what a UL508A certification means, and why it’s crucial to your control panel!
We at Superior Control are proud UL508A certified industrial control panel builders.
But what does that mean exactly?
And why should you care?
Glad you asked.
Simply put, UL508A refers to the internationally recognized standard for industrial control panel design, officiated by Underwriters Laboratories – an American worldwide safety and certification company.
UL508A specifically pertains to a set of regulations for control panels intended for general industrial use that operate on 600 volts or less and in an environment that does not exceed 40°C, or 104°F.
(Whew. Say that three times fast.)
In a nutshell, these requirements ensure that the components that comprise of an assembled industrial control panel perform optimally, safely, and contain good circuit protection.
Sounds reasonable enough, right?
Unfortunately, the follow-through is much more complicated.
Why is that exactly? Okay. Let’s break it down further.
Let’s turn the clock back a bit: ten years exactly, as of this post.
This is the year when a major change occurred in our industry’s standards for component safety and regulation; the revised UL508A statute decreed that control panel builders (like us) were to begin including short circuit current ratings on the panel assemblies.
While this new mandate to include short circuit current readings would undoubtedly increase the user’s safety by promoting good practice with proper components and uniform wiring, it was a bitch for most control panel builders to accurately establish short circuit ratings.
Control panels builders generally don’t possess the finances, equipment, or special engineering expertise to run short circuits tests for each and every piece of equipment from the myriad of component manufacturers to determine a uniform standard.
So, what did they do?
They consulted the manufacturers directly: “Hey, does Part A work with Part B if X amount of voltage runs through it for Y amount of time? Yes? Awesome.”
As you can probably imagine, due to the nearly limitless combination of parts and equipment utilized in industrial control panels, this led to an overwhelming index of cataloged component compatibility. Rather than continue to add onto this daunting thousand-page spreadsheet, our friends at UL enabled manufacturers to create a new category for any part used in the power circuit of an industrial control panel, aptly called component short circuit current ratings.
What this did was help simplify the process of identifying compatible components when building an industrial control panel by integrating a generic formula (Part A will function with Part B under X and Y voltage/amps.)
The trouble is, it’s a generic formula.
The tricky part of obtaining a UL508A certification is learning to treat each industrial control panel as its own unique monster; no two panels are alike, no two set-ups are identical, and there are various factors (such as enclosed or open-type panels, voltage ratings, and so forth) that require experienced expertise in order to build the optimal control panel unique toyour site.
Experts like us, at Superior Control.
Rest easy and leave it to us to do the mathematical legwork in determining the best combination of UL508A certified components for your very own industrial control panel!
Trust us. We got this.