Comprehensive testing for low voltage switchgear systems


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ABB Industries, a globally leading manufacturer of, amongst others, low voltage switchgear systems, came to DEKRA for the testing of their low voltage and motor control panels against the IEC 61439 standards for indoor use in the Middle East.

ABB needed to have a total of seven low voltage power and motor control panels tested against IEC 61439 for indoor use, in particular for climate conditions in the Middle East, and in order to gain approval by the Abu Dhabi Distribution Company (ADDC).

Beyond the IEC standard
DEKRA completed two testing projects for ABB which went beyond the IEC standard. The test procedures included multi cubicle assembly IP tests (for dust and water) on full size assemblies, short circuit tests on various low voltage panel configurations with numerous components, busbars and bus risers connection combinations and temperature rise tests at both ambient temperature and 50 degrees Celsius. The rated currents of the ArTu K panels ranged from 400 ampere (A) to 4,000A.


Fred Fu, project manager at DEKRA states: "Actually, 50 degrees Celsius is higher than the normal ambient temperature specified in the IEC standard. However, this test was very important to verify and establish that the design allowed both the low voltage panel and low voltage components in various combinations to operate at the rated current in the challenging climatic conditions of the Middle East."

Specialized laboratory
During the temperature rise tests, DEKRA's test equipment simulated normal usage conditions as precisely as possible. Test currents were kept stable as the panels were subject to temperatures of up to 50 degrees Celsius in the climate chamber (which is 15 meters long, 5 meters wide and 2.8 meters high).

Dekra Dust Chamber

Sanjay Raghavendra, technical manager at ABB Dubai's low voltage products division, explains that DEKRA's laboratory in Arnhem, the Netherlands, was a key factor in choosing DEKRA to perform testing: “Some ratings of the panels were up to 6 meters long with numerous possible combinations for testing all of the installation conditions in normal use. For us, it was important that the type tests would be performed in a controlled and regulated environment. We needed to ensure that the panels were tested and certified to the highest standards. We did not want the 50 degrees Celsius temperature rise test and certification to be a calculation or derivation.”

Reputable with high degree of credibility
DEKRA's strong reputation in the Middle East also influenced ABB's choice: “DEKRA is a reputable and well recognized brand in the Middle East. It enjoys a high degree of credibility, not only with end users but with regulatory authorities as well. These form an important part of our value chain to, in the end, reach our customers,” explains Raghavendra.

For most of the testing process, Raghavendra was present in the Netherlands. He adds that he valued DEKRA's customer focus while he was in the laboratory. “During testing, DEKRA's experts made us aware of potentially problematic scenarios, which helped us in planning ahead and in fine-tuning our decision-making,” he adds. “Furthermore, DEKRA's experts did a great job in ensuring that the ABB team visiting and working in the DEKRA premises in Arnhem was comfortable for the entire duration of the project. DEKRA goes beyond being ‘just’ a supplier."

About ABB

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ABB is a pioneering technology leader that is writing the future of industrial digitalization. For more than four decades, ABB has been at the forefront, innovating digitally connected and enabled industrial equipment and systems. Every day, ABB drives efficiency, safety and productivity in utilities, industry, transport and infrastructure globally. With a heritage spanning more than 130 years, the company operates in more than 100 countries and employs around 136,000 people.