Thursday, September 3, 2015

What Certifications Apply to Infrared Windows?

Years of industrial manufacturing experience have given technicians a trust that the minimum requirements necessary for certifying a product to UL standards are usually enough to ensure safe and reliable operation. In the case of infrared windows this is not necessarily true.

UL 50V is the only standard defining infrared windows. It verifies that the window provides a means for passage of infrared radiation. The scope of the standard specifically states that meeting the requirements for this standard do not assure the window is suitable for use in any application and that suitability for continued use requires additional evaluation as to the performance characteristics necessary for the installation. It simply verifies that the window passes infrared energy at an unknown transmission rate. Some of the other certifications which are more detailed in defining the functionality necessary and more importantly the safety aspects required before attempting to modify an electrical enclosure in any way are described below.

UL/NEMA 50E: Environmental standards which apply to electrical enclosures intended to be installed and used in non-hazardous locations as follows: enclosures for indoor locations only, Types 1, 2, 5, 12, 12K, and 13; and enclosures for indoor or outdoor locations, Types 3 and 3R.

UL 508: These requirements cover industrial control panels intended for general industrial use, operating at a voltage of 1500 volts or less. This equipment is intended for installation in ordinary locations, in accordance with the National Electrical Code, ANSI/NFPA 70, where ambient temperatures do not exceed 40°C (104°F) maximum.

UL 746C: A standard to test performance of viewing optics. This standard identifies the ability of a window to withstand impact and flame.

UL 1558: A standard covering viewing panes and IR windows fitted into metal-enclosed low-voltage (<600V) power circuit breaker switchgear assemblies. This standard covers low voltage assemblies and allows the impact resistance of the assembly to be tested with the window closed as the pass criteria is that you should not be able to pass a ½ inch diameter rod through the window or cover.  IRISS is the ONLY manufacturer that can pass this test with the covers open as the standard requires that the IR window should not crack, shatter or dislodge which is a requirement that crystal IR windows cannot meet.

IEEE C.37.20.2 section a.3.6: This IEEE standard and test procedure for viewing panes mounted in electrical equipment with ratings above 1kV and requires viewing panes to withstand both impact and load tests.  Unlike UL this does not give any dispensation for material composition of the IR viewing window or whether or not covers are fitted.  The test is simple, it requires that both sides of the IR viewing window are subjected to the impact and load and that neither side can crack, shatter, or dislodge…  Again this is a requirement that crystal IR windows cannot meet.

Lloyds of London Type Approval: Lloyd’s Register Type Approval is an impartial certification service providing independent third-party “Type Approval” certificates attesting to a product’s conformity with specific standards or specifications, and verification of an appropriate production quality system. It is based on a design review and type testing or, where type testing is inappropriate, a design analysis. There is growing international awareness of the importance of third-party certification.

ABS Design Assessment: The intended service location and environmental ratings for the component are verified by engineers verifying the validity of the testing performed on a component before the design assessment certification process in marine and offshore electrical equipment is completed.

Arc Rating –  An arc rating can only be given to a completed assembly and not to a single component within that assembly. Electrical cabinet designs and dimensions are infinite and we therefore CAN NOT or MUST NOT use the data from one cabinet design to another design unless they are identical in every way.

DNV – DNV Certification is awarded for marine and offshore applications and allows preventative maintenance on electrical equipment in these vertical markets. DNV covers Rules for Classification of Ships and Offshore Standards (vessels, tankers, military and cruise ships, and oil drilling riggs).

CE Mark – The CE mark, or formerly EC mark, is a mandatory conformity marking for certain products sold within the European Economic Area (EEA) since 1985. The CE marking is also found on products sold outside the EEA that are manufactured in, or designed to be sold in, the EEA.

IEC 62271-200 – Provides a controlled arc flash test using 1kV to 50kV metal enclosed switchgear to a voltage of 6kV using a current of 31.5KA for a duration of 0.5 seconds to determine the amount of pressure and heat installed components on switchgear can survive and maintain integrity.

This is the reason why components can NEVER carry a generic arc rating and must be subjected to standard industry tests to confirm they meet the mechanical strength and environmental properties for electrical cabinets and assemblies to which they are being fitted.

IRISS CAP and VP series windows are certified to all of the standards mentioned above. As a manufacturer of industrial grade products our windows have completed more testing on than any other infrared window manufacturer. If we can’t meet the requirements of an application we innovate until we can meet the requirements.

IRISS products were conceived by thermographers, to assist with safety and efficiency of industrial inspections. The fact that our products are capable of withstanding an industrial environment should come as no surprise. Only the physical characteristics of available materials limit what the team at IRISS is willing to do to be the solution provider for our customers.

Helping you “Save Time, Save Money and Stay Safe” is what it is all about.


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