Understanding the concepts behind short circuit current ratings (SCCR)
The date of January 1, 2005, sits vividly in the minds of manufacturers within the industrial control panel field. That's because that's the day when the National Fire Protection Association's (NFPA) National Electrical Code (NEC) 2005 Article 409 officially went into effect. The code required that short circuit current rating be clearly marked on the industrial control panels in order to be inspected and approved. The markings made it easier to verify proper over-current protection against hazards such as fires and shocks on components or equipment, whether it be for initial installation or relocation. It was the beginning of an era when things would become a little more complicated, but for all the right reasons of ensuring more safety within the industrial world.
The main vision of the NFPA is to reduce or limit the burden of fire and other hazards on the quality of life by providing and advocating scientifically based consensus codes and standards, research, training and education. These codes and standards were established to minimize the possibility of and effects of fire and other risks. Due to misinterpretations, inconsistencies and advancements in technology over the years, they have had to update their codes with consistency in order to comply with existing standards.
Therefore, the focus of this paper will look at the changes that occurred due to Article 409, the impacts that it had, who was affected by the code and how to comply with the code. Precautions like this article had been enforced in the past, but they were too vague, so people found ways to get around them.
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