IEC 61439 - arc fault containment and RAMS

By R van Leeuwen ABB Low Voltage Systems


Published in:

Electricity+Control, November 2014 (pages 26 – 27))

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Electrical switchgear, essential to the control and protection of plant processes in industry, has received attention in the regulatory environment, with a revision to the standards (ie IEC 61439) guiding the switchgear manufacturers in South Africa.

The control and protection of plant and personnel are of great importance to owners and operators of commercial and industrial facilities across the world. The constant revision of standards (ie IEC 61439) and associated legislation, reflecting technological progress, is important for the protection of both equipment and people operating near electrical apparatus.

IEC 61439-1 and IEC 61439-2 standards and their interpretation are the subject of many articles and workplace discussions with little attention to that which follows compliance.

The ABB MNS switchgear solution has been subjected to IEC 61439-2 compliance testing by DEKRA and demonstrates full compliance and carries KEMA certification. Additionally, IPH-Berlin has also awarded the company MNS ASTA certification following a rigorous programme that includes test laboratory audits by Intertek. This certification provides objective authoritative, written evidence confirming that the company’s MNS equipment complies with relevant safety standards and statutory regulatory specifications.

Once compliance has been achieved by switchgear manufacturers and panel builders their focus must shift to seeking improvement in switchgear productivity by paying particular attention to plant Reliability, Availability, Maintainability and Safety (RAMS).


Take note

  • The control and protection of industrial plant and personnel are vital.
  • It is important to constantly revise standards and associated legislation.
  • The interpretation of IEC 61439-1 and IEC 61439-2 is addressed among switchgear manufacturers on an ongoing basis.