Machine and control panel manufacturers often wonder which Electrical Standard shall they follow for the CE Marking of Industrial Control Panels.
There are different schools of thought: some people think that the IEC 60204-1 Safety of machinery – Electrical equipment of machines – Part 1: General requirements is the only one applicable standard, and others think that IEC 61439-2 Low-voltage switchgear and controlgear assemblies – Part 2: Power switchgear and controlgear assemblies is fully applicable as well.
The doubt is justifiable because neither of the two Standards could be classified as the Product Standard for the industrial control panels.
IEC 61439-2 is the standard for low-voltage switchgears, while IEC 60204-1 provides requirements and recommendations related to the electrical equipment of machines so as to guarantee:
- Safety of person and property;
- Consistency of control response;
- Ease of maintenance.
The latter is more an installation Standard than a product Standard, equivalent to NFPA 79 for the USA market. The IEC 61439-2 is the product standard closer to the concept of industrial control panels despite the Standard is written having switchgears in mind.
In the USA the situation is clear: the product standard for switchgears is UL 891, and the one for industrial control panel is UL 508A.