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A guide to
BS EN 60439 -1

Incorporating Amendment No. 1

and Corrigenda Nos 1 + 2

Under current electrical and safety legislation
it is a requirement that equipment
purchased should be both fit for purpose
and safe. This may be demonstrated through
meeting the requirements of a European
harmonised standard. In the field of
switchgear and controlgear assemblies, this
standard is BS EN 60439-1.
This guide has been compiled by members
of the GAMBICA Controlgear Systems
Group to provide specifiers, designers and
purchasers of switchgear and controlgear
assemblies with a clearer understanding of
BS EN 60439-1 to assist in the selection of
fully compliant and safe products related to
this standard.

GAMBICA gratefully acknowledges the

significant amount of time and effort put into
the preparation of this guide by
representatives of member companies.
The greatest care has been taken to ensure
the accuracy of the information contained in
this guide, but no liability can be accepted by
GAMBICA, or its members, for errors of any
Note: In this revision the UK National
Annex has been removed, since it is no
longer permitted by BSI to reproduce it on
an open access website. Typical practice in
the UK, however, is now taken into account
in the types of construction.

The guide seeks to highlight the most

relevant areas of the specification and to give
the purchaser confidence in the safety and
reliability of the equipment. In addition, it
explains commonly used terminology and
areas of customer choice to assist in the
decision making process.

This Guide covers BS EN 60439-1:1999 with the following changes:

Amd. No. 15206 dated 30 June 2004
Amd. No. 15498 dated 31 January 2005 (Corrigendum No. 1)
Amd. No. 10633 dated 11 January 2006 (Corrigendum No. 2)
BS EN 60439-1:1999 incorporating Amendment No. 1 and Corrigenda
Nos. 1 and 2 is equivalent to EN 60439-1:1999 + A1:2004 and
IEC 60439-1:1999 + A1:2004
2006 The GAMBICA Association Ltd.
This publication may be freely produced, in whole or part, provided its source is acknowledged.





(TTA and PTTA)



Type-tested assembly (TTA)

Partially type-tested assembly (PTTA)
Performance requirements


Enclosure and degree of protection

Temperature rise
Short-circuit withstand strength
Effectiveness of the protective circuit
Dielectric properties
Clearances and creepage distances
Mechanical operation
















Low Voltage Directive

EMC Directive
Machinery Directive




1. Type-tested and partially type-tested

assemblies (TTA and PTTA)
BS EN 60439-1 is Part 1 of the 60439-series
of standards and is the main part covering
the general requirements for type-tested and
partially type-tested assemblies. The several
subsidiary parts, which have to be read in
conjunction with Part 1, deal with the
particular requirements for certain specialised
forms of assemblies (see Figure 1).

BS EN 60439
Low-voltage switchgear and
controlgear assemblies
BS EN 60439-1:
Specification for type-tested and partially
type-tested assemblies
BS EN 60439-2:
Particular requirements for busbar
trunking systems (busways)
BS EN 60439-3:
Particular requirements for
assemblies intended to be installed
where unskilled persons have access for
their use - Distribution boards
BS EN 60439-4:
Particular requirements for assemblies
for construction sites (ACS)
BS EN 60439-5:
Particular requirements for assemblies
intended to be installed outdoors in
public places - Cable distribution cabinets
(CDCs) for power distribution in networks
Figure 1. The BS EN 60439-series

In standards terminology, low-voltage control

panels, motor control centres, distribution
boards and the like are known collectively as
"low-voltage switchgear and controlgear
assemblies", or just "assemblies" for short.
By "low-voltage" is meant voltages up to
1000 V a.c. or 1500 V d.c.

The need to conform to standards

Low-voltage switchgear and controlgear
assemblies come under the EU Low Voltage
Directive, which applies in all Member States
of the EEA (European Economic Area EU Member States, Norway, Iceland and
Liechtenstein) and in Switzerland through a
Mutual Recognition Agreement.The Directive
is implemented in the UK by the Electrical
Equipment (Safety) Regulations 1994. All
assemblies placed on the EEA and Swiss
market intended for use within it must bear
the CE marking in an appropriate place, which
indicates that the manufacturer is declaring
compliance with the essential safety
requirements of the Directive (see Chapter 6).
The Directive requires electrical equipment
to be safe and constructed in accordance
with the principles generally accepted within
the member states of the EU as constituting
good engineering practice in relation to
safety matters.
It requires that the electrical equipment (e.g.
an assembly), together with its component
parts, is made in such a way as to ensure
that it can be safely and properly assembled
and connected. It also requires that
measures are taken to ensure that

protection is assured against various hazards

which might arise from the electrical
equipment or by external influences on it.
Just some of the hazards listed by the
Directive include:

direct and indirect contact with live

parts - shock
dangerous temperatures, arcs or radiation
insulation failures
mechanical failures
expected environmental conditions
non-electrical dangers caused by
the assembly.

There is, of course, the proviso that an

assembly is used in the application for which
it was made, and that it is properly installed
and maintained.
Significantly, the Directive declares that its
safety requirements are deemed to be met
by electrical equipment which satisfies the
safety provisions of harmonised standards.
In the case of assemblies, the relevant
harmonised standard is BS EN 60439-1.
Therefore, quite apart from the assurance
which conformity with the standard provides
that an assembly will achieve acceptable
levels of performance, safety and reliability,
it is also the preferred and most
straightforward means of demonstrating that
the equipment meets UK legislative

So, what is a TTA or PTTA?

It is important to appreciate that, although
BS EN 60439-1 is the basic standard for

assemblies, it only considers those which can

be classified either as "type-tested assemblies
(TTA)" or "partially type-tested assemblies
There are no other classifications - the standard
does not cater for assemblies built to less
stringent design and test requirements, or which
satisfy only some requirements of the standard.
Such assemblies do not conform to
BS EN 60439-1.
Type tests are tests which are carried out on
representative samples of assemblies as part of
the process of verifying equipment designs and
material selections. They are not to be
confused with "routine tests" which are those
carried out on actual production assemblies
prior to dispatch/installation and which serve to
check for manufacturing and material defects.
See Chapters 2 and 3 for more details of type
and routine tests.
It is essential to recognise that the terms "typetested assembly (TTA)" and "partially typetested assembly (PTTA)" are closed and
defined descriptors having very specific
meanings within the context of the standard.
They are not simply abbreviations - a "TTA", for
example, is not just another way of saying "an
assembly which has been subjected to some
type tests"!

1.1 Type-tested assembly (TTA)

A low-voltage switchgear and controlgear
assembly conforming to an established type or
system without deviations likely to significantly
influence the performance, from the typical
ASSEMBLY verified to be in accordance
with this standard.
[BS EN 60439-1 Clause]

The term "type-tested assembly (TTA)" was

coined because the difficulty was recognised in
applying correctly the simple adjective "typetested" to the description of a production
assembly. One reason for this is that assemblies,
unlike many other products, are often individually
customised. This means that a production
assembly, even though clearly conforming to an
established type or system, can rarely be
identical in all respects to representative
samples which have been type tested. There is
always likely to be a requirement for some
application-specific deviations, even if these
deviations are quite minor ones. For example,
there may well be a need for variations in the
complement and arrangement of the switchgear
and controlgear products within the assembly, or
changes to individual circuit configurations.

Reductions in busbar cross-sections,

changes in busbar profiles and spacing.

Changes to the type or quantity of busbar

supports or the support structures.
Since any of the above deviations could
affect the mechanical strength of the
busbar system, these would cause
unpredictable, and possibly adverse,
changes to the short-circuit withstand
rating of the busbars.

The effective short-circuit coordination

between a major protective device,
e.g. incoming fuse-switch or circuitbreaker, and an assembly or section
thereof cannot be established other than
by test. By removing or installing
protective devices not taken account of in
the programme of type tests there is the
risk of major damage to the assembly
under conditions of short-circuit.

Therefore, the term "TTA" provides the

necessarily qualified description of a production
As can be seen from the definition of a TTA, the
crucial factor is that the essential characteristics
of the type-tested arrangements are retained
and no deviation is such as to adversely affect
the performance of the assembly in comparison
to that of the type-tested samples.
Within the definition of a TTA the phrase
"without deviations likely to significantly
influence the performance" does, of course,
introduce a degree of subjectivity. However, in
the case of certain deviations it should be selfevident that the performance is likely to be
significantly (i.e. adversely) affected.
Deviations which could significantly affect the
performance include:

Major structural changes to the

assembly carcass.

Exclusion of or changes to major shortcircuit protective devices taken account of

in the programme of type tests.

Reductions in compartment sizes.

Components and wiring dissipate heat.
If installed within compartments smaller
than those established during the type
test programme then higher temperature
rises will be the result. These may exceed
the permissible limits. The resultant
overheating of components and wiring
may cause subsequent component
breakdowns, insulation failures and
internal short-circuit faults.

The effects of other deviations may not be so

self-evident but here it is reasonable to expect
that TTA manufacturers, on the basis of their

type-test data, will be able to define very

closely in their associated engineering
procedures the limits of their application
design parameters.

1.2 Partially type-tested assembly

A low-voltage switchgear and controlgear
assembly, containing both type-tested and nontype-tested arrangements provided that the
latter are derived (e.g. by calculation) from
type-tested arrangements which have complied
with the relevant tests.
[BS EN 60439-1 Clause]
Following from the above, the situation may
arise where certain arrangements within an
assembly (e.g. compartment layouts,
component configurations) cannot be
directly equated to similar arrangements in
the representative type-tested samples
and/or cannot be considered to be
insignificant deviations within the context of
a TTA. Here, the standard allows such
deviations but only provided they are
themselves derived from type-tested
arrangements! This means design criteria
and calculation methods have been proven
by type-tests. However, since they have not
actually been type-tested, they then have to
be subject to the alternative considerations
listed in Table 7 of the standard.
Such an assembly is designated a "partially
type-tested assembly (PTTA)".
It is very important to note, therefore, that
the description "partially type-tested
assembly (PTTA)" does not indicate that an
absence of type-test background for some
arrangements within the assembly is
permissible. On the contrary, all design

aspects of a PTTA must be based, directly or

indirectly, on the results of type tests.

1.3 Performance requirements

The standard lays down a comprehensive
package of performance requirements.
These come under 8 basic headings (see
Figure 2) and all must be verified irrespective
of whether an assembly is to be offered as a
TTA or as a PTTA!

Temperature-rise limits
Dielectric properties
Short-circuit withstand strength of
main circuits
Effectiveness of protective circuit
Short-circuit withstand strength of
protective circuits
Clearances and creepage distances
Mechanical operation tests
IP degree of protection

Figure 2. Performance requirements to be

verified - for TTA and PTTA
The correlation between these performance
requirements and the safety objectives of the
Low Voltage Directive should be evident.

The principal standard for LV switchgear and
controlgear assemblies is BS EN 60439-1,
but it only covers those which can be
designated as TTA or PTTA.
Assemblies conforming to this standard
are deemed to satisfy the essential safety
requirements of the Low Voltage
Directive and can bear the CE marking

From 1 January 1997 all new assemblies

intended for use in Europe must be so

providing the design basis for a PTTA.

Ironically, the most significant tests are also
the most difficult and expensive to carry out.

The TTA and PTTA concepts are closely

related and are not opposite extremes they are both based on a full background of
type testing.

2.1 Enclosure and degree

of protection

To comply with the standard, a full

programme of verifications must be
completed. Users should ask to see
documentary evidence of this.

The usual interpretation of the IP code of an

assembly is in terms of external protection.
Dust or particles and moisture entering the
interior or protected space must have no
harmful effect. When the assembly is in its
normal service condition, personnel outside
the equipment should not be able to touch
any dangerously live parts. If the degree of
protection of part of the assembly, for
example the operating face, differs from that
of the remainder, then the manufacturer must
indicate the degree of protection of the
various parts.

The TTA approach is the most

straightforward way of ensuring full
compliance with the standard and with UK
legislative requirements.

2. Type testing
BS EN 60439-1 details eight type tests in
Table 7 (see Figure 2) which are carried
out to verify equipment designs. All eight
type tests must be carried out on each
design of TTA and in the majority of cases,
type tests on similar designs must form
the basis of design verification for PTTAs.
At first sight, all type tests may appear to
be associated with constructional and key
performance aspects of the assembly.
Careful examination shows that most are
also very much related to safety, as will be
Type tests are expensive to conduct but
they are vital and the only effective means
of verifying the design of a TTA and of

(Design and Construction:

Clause 7.2/Type tests: Clause 8.2.7)

The other use of the IP code is to define the

internal degree of separation assigned to the
assembly (see Chapter 5). This includes
personal protection, and protection of the
assembly from the transfer of objects from
one compartment to another.
Type testing is carried out in accordance with
BS EN 60529. For a PTTA, no IP code can
be given unless the appropriate verification
has been made or tested prefabricated
enclosures are used.
Although the design and construction
requirements for protection against electric
shock are treated as a separate issue in the
standard, verification of protection against
electric shock by direct contact is embedded
within the section dealing with degrees of

2.2 Temperature rise

The design of an assembly should take

into account a number of factors which will
affect the assemblys ability to meet the
temperature rise limits set by the standard.
The limits for the various parts of an
assembly are summarised in Figure 3, which
is based on a table appearing in the
standard (BS EN 60439-1 Table 3 Temperature Rise Limits).

(Design and Construction:

Clause 7.3/Type tests: Clause 8.2.1)
Testing in this category is one of the most
critical in determining the reliability and long
service capability of an assembly and must
not be overlooked. Excessive temperatures
result in premature ageing of components
and insulation and ultimately failure. Current
ratings of components are valid only when
the temperature around them is within the
limits specified by the component
manufacturer. Safety aspects are also of
significance although they may arise mainly as
a secondary effect through the touching of
hot covers or operating handles.

Parts of assemblies

Temperature rise (K)

Built-in components

In accordance with the component

manufacturers instructions taking into
account the temperature in the assembly

Terminals for external insulated conductors

Busbars and conductors, plug-in contacts of
removable or withdrawable parts which
connect to busbars

Limited by:
mechanical strength of conducting material
possible effect on adjacent equipment
permissible temperature limit of the
support insulating material
the effect of the conductor temperature
on equipment connected to it
nature and treatment of plug-in contact material

Manual operating means:

of metal
of insulating material


Accessible external enclosures and covers

metal surfaces
insulating surfaces


Discrete arrangements of plug and

socket-type connection

Figure 3. Temperature Rise Limits


Determined by the limit for those components

of which they form a part

From Figure 3, it is clear that temperature

rise and therefore temperature limits are set
for the external interfaces, cable terminals,
covers and handles. There is a differentiation
between operating handles which need to
be held and covers, and a recognition of the
effects of different materials. Top
temperatures are however quite high, for
example a plastic cover at a temperature of
75C (temperature rise of 40 K plus daily
ambient temperature of 35C) is considered
Other parts within the assembly are
essentially limited to temperatures which will
have no detrimental effects. This does not
mean temperatures are unlimited. The
manufacturer must ensure the temperatures
within the assembly do not exceed the
specified ratings of the components, materials
and in particular the insulation, used.
Predicting or calculating temperatures within
an assembly is difficult and has to take into
account load and component operating
temperatures. Each component may have a
different temperature operating capability.
Due to close coupling one component may
transfer heat to another. Adjacent circuits
will have a mutual heating effect. Different
levels of ventilation have significant effects.
As the level of ingress protection increases
(see previous section) so does the potential
for overheating and derating of components
may need to be applied in order to
overcome the problem.
Temperature rise tests cannot be avoided if
confirmation of performance is required.
To carry out a temperature rise test all
devices are closed and control circuits
energised as in normal service. Current is

applied to the incoming circuit and shared

between the outgoing circuits, loading each
to its rated current multiplied by the
diversity factor applicable to the application.
Where no other information is provided, the
standard details the diversity factor to be
used in Table 1, with values ranging between
0.6 and 0.9.
Temperature rise tests are time consuming.
Current is applied until conditions stabilise,
usually around eight hours, and in the final
hours temperatures are monitored, normally
with thermocouples. Critical areas for
temperature measurement are covers,
operating handles, busbars and joints,
insulators, cable terminals, device and/or
internal air temperatures.
As a guide to the potential power loss
within an assembly some typical test results
for Watts loss are shown in Figure 4.

1000A Horizontal busbar (per section)

15kW DOL Starter - fuse protected
315A Fuse Switch Disconnector
2000A Air Circuit Breaker

Figure 4. Typical Watts losses

A section of a typical MCC may have an
available capacity to dissipate 400 Watts.
With circuits having losses as detailed in
Figure 4, this can be readily exceeded.

If circuits which generate a lot of heat are

being incorporated, or the sections ability to
dissipate heat is reduced, e.g. as a result of a
high ambient temperature, the problems are
even more acute. Natural ventilation of the
section may not be sufficient and forced
ventilation may be the only alternative.
Temperatures directly affect equipment life.
The key to ensuring long life and reliability in
this respect is temperature rise type testing.

2.3 Short-circuit withstand

(Design and Construction:
Clause 7.5.2/Type tests:
Clauses 8.2.3 and
Short-circuit testing is necessary to verify the
ability of electrical equipment to withstand
the forces and thermal effects produced by
short-circuit currents. It is often carried out
at an accredited third party testing station
which will issue a certificate detailing the
tests that have been completed satisfactorily.
The tests must be carried out in accordance
with the requirements laid down in
BS EN 60439-1. They are type tests which are
not repeated for every piece of equipment
supplied and are thus carried out on
equipment manufactured specifically for testing
purposes. For subsequent equipment to be
covered by the test certificate it must be
without significant variation in design (see 1.1).
In order to completely type-test an assembly,
it is necessary to test a sample of each
significant variation of circuit and busbar
system within that assembly. Individual
component parts such as contactors and
MCCBs should have been tested by the
component manufacturer.

Within a range of equipment, this normally

includes short-circuit tests on each type of:

Main busbar system

Distribution bars (risers or droppers)
Outgoing circuits
Incoming and bus section unit.

In order to achieve the above, the testing is

carried out in accordance with clause 8.2.3
of the standard and would typically comprise
the following:
Outgoing circuits
Each basic type of outgoing circuit which
includes a component (connections being
considered a component) which has not
previously been tested is through-fault
tested in turn.
For this test the circuit being considered
is closed and a short-circuit applied to its
outgoing terminals. A 3 phase test supply
having a voltage equal to 105% of the
operational voltage of the equipment
being tested, and capable of delivering the
specified short-circuit current, is
connected to the incoming terminals of
the assembly. Usually with outgoing
circuits this prospective short-circuit
current is allowed to flow until
interrupted by a short-circuit protective
device (fuse or circuit-breaker).
If the circuit includes a neutral, the
procedure is repeated considering the
neutral and adjacent phase, but with a
prospective fault current equal to 60% of
the 3 phase value.

Incoming circuits and busbars

Generally, the incoming circuits and
busbars (plus bus-section units) are tested
together. The test supply is connected to
the incoming terminals and a short circuit
applied to the remote end of the busbar
system being considered.
If the incoming circuit contains a short
circuit protective device, then the fault
current may be interrupted after a short
duration as described for outgoing circuits
above. Alternatively, and more likely with
larger rating assemblies, the fault current
will be required to persist for a definite
time (short time withstand current). As
for outgoing circuits, tests are carried out
for 3 phase and single phase and neutral,
again with the prospective neutral current
equal to 60% of the 3 phase value.
Where different busbar designs
(horizontal and vertical) are included
within the assembly, each must be tested.
On completion of the short circuit tests,
minimum of IP protection, creepage and
clearance distances, insulation integrity
and mechanical capability must be
maintained. Slight deformation of
enclosures and busbars is acceptable.
2.4 Effectiveness of the protective
(Design & Construction:
Clause Tests:
Clause 8.2.4)
Adequate protective circuits within an
assembly are vital. Their principal function is
to protect personnel should non-current
carrying parts accidentally become live.

Generally, the basic protective circuit is the

metal structure of the assembly. Usually, but
not essential by according to the standard,
for multi-section units this is supplemented
by a protective conductor (earth bar)
running the full length of the assembly. To
this are connected supplementary earth
bonds from instruments, cable glands, etc.
where appropriate.
Verification of the effectiveness of the
protective circuit is achieved by examination
and by tests.
An examination of the assembly is
carried out to confirm that the
constructional requirements to ensure
an effective protective circuit have been
met e.g.
(i) All exposed conductive parts greater
than 50 mm by 50 mm and which can
be touched are connected to the
protective circuit.
(ii) Manual operating handles etc. are
effectively connected to the protective
circuit or adequately insulated.
(iii) The removal of a part from an
assembly does not interrupt the
protective circuit for other parts.
(iv) Doors and covers are effectively
(v) Protective conductors are sized in
accordance with the standard.

Test:Verification of the effective

connection between the exposed
conductive parts and the protective

2.5 Dielectric properties

Clause of the standard requires

that it must be verified by a specified test
method that the resistance between the
incoming protective conductor and
exposed conductive parts does not
exceed 0,1 ohms.

The standard gives a choice of dielectric

type tests. If the manufacturer has declared
an impulse withstand capability, then impulse
tests are carried out. Table G1 in the
standard gives guidance on the appropriate
value for a particular voltage and place in
the system.

Test:Verification of the shortcircuit strength of the protective

Requirements for short-circuit withstand
testing of the protective circuit are
covered by clause of the standard.
This test verifies that the assembly
enclosure and its protective circuit
(earthing system) are capable of
withstanding the thermal and electrodynamic stresses resulting from shortcircuit currents up to their rated values.
The various component parts of the
protective system need to be considered
as it is important that all parts of the
system are adequately rated. Particular
areas which require full consideration are:

Short-circuit rating of the earth bar

The connection between the outgoing
protective conductor terminal and the
earth bar.

Effectively the tests involve a repeat of the

single phase and neutral short-circuit tests
but using one phase and the protective
circuit. Again, they are carried out with a
prospective short-circuit current equal to
60% of the 3 phase value.


(Design and Construction:

Clause tests:
Clause 8.2.2)

More usually the second option of power

frequency dielectric tests is carried out.
These are popularly referred to as "Flash
Tests" and involve the application of specified
test voltages between all live parts and the
interconnected exposed conductive parts of
the assembly.
The standard sets out values for the test
voltage in sub-clauses and
For main power circuits, for example, the
dielectric test voltage should be 2500 V ac
when the operational voltage of the
equipment is between 300 - 690 V. Auxiliary
circuits typically have a test voltage of 1500 V
minimum. The test voltage is required to
have a practically sinusoidal waveform and a
frequency between 45 Hz and 62 Hz.
At the moment of application of the test
voltage, its value should not exceed 50%
of the values given in the above
sub-clauses. It is then steadily increased
to the full value specified in the sub-clause
and the level is maintained for five
seconds. Care has to be taken to ensure
that the a.c. power source is capable of
maintaining the test voltage irrespective of
any leakage currents.

The succinct definition of a successful result

contained in the standard is:
The test is considered to have been passed if
there is no puncture or flash-over.
[BS EN 60439-1 Clause]

2.6 Clearances and creepage

(Design and Construction:
Clauses and tests: Clause 8.2.5)

pollution occurs or dry, non-conductive

pollution occurs which becomes conductive
due to condensation). Similarly, creepage
distances are a function of pollution degree
and the tracking index of insulation material
(Material group) being used.
Creepage and clearance distances of 8mm
or less for main busbars and connections
may well be acceptable in many applications.

2.7 Mechanical operation

(Type tests: Clause 8.2.6)

When considering this particular type test, the

requirements of the standard are fairly brief:
It shall be verified that clearances and
creepage distances comply with the values
specified in 7.1.2.
If necessary, these clearances and creepage
distances shall be verified by measurement,
taking account of the possible deformation of
parts of the enclosure or of the internal
screens, including any possible changes in the
event of a short-circuit.
If the ASSEMBLY contains withdrawable parts, it is
necessary to verify that both in the test position
(see 2.2.9), if any, and in the disconnected
position (see 2.2.10), the clearances and
creepage distances are complied with.
[BS EN 60439-1 Clause 8.2.5]
In other words, clearances and creepage
distances shall not be less than given in
Tables 14 and 16 respectively of the
standard. The values detailed however are
no longer simple arbitrary values. Clearance
distances are based on the degree of
pollution anticipated. If the user does not
indicate otherwise, the manufacturer will
assume pollution degree 3 (i.e. conductive

When considering this particular topic, the

standard is brief but its text, as follows,
says it all:
This type test shall not be made on such
devices of the ASSEMBLY which have already
been type tested according to their relevant
specifications provided their mechanical
operation is not impaired by their mounting.
For those parts which need a type test,
satisfactory mechanical operation shall be
verified after installation in the ASSEMBLY.
The number of operating cycles shall be 50.
Note: In the case of withdrawable
functional units, the cycle shall be from the
connected to the disconnected position and
back to the connected position.
At the same time, the operation of the
mechanical interlocks associated with these
movements shall be checked. The test is
considered to have been passed if the
operating conditions of the apparatus,
interlocks, etc., have not been impaired and if
the effort required for operation is practically
the same as before the test.
[BS EN 60439-1 Clause 8.2.6]


3. Routine Tests
This chapter gives a brief introduction to
routine tests, with specific reference to LV
Motor Control Centres.
The introductory text in the standard sets
out the basic requirements, as follows:
Routine tests are intended to detect faults in
materials and workmanship. They are carried
out on all parts of each new ASSEMBLY.
Another routine test at the place of installation
is not required.
ASSEMBLIES which are assembled from
standardised components outside the works
of the manufacturer of these components, by
the exclusive use of parts and accessories
specified or supplied by the manufacturer for
this purpose, shall be routine-tested by the
firm which has assembled the ASSEMBLY.
Routine tests include:
a) inspection of the ASSEMBLY including
inspection of wiring and, if necessary,
electrical operation test (8.3.1);
b) dielectric test (8.3.2);
c) checking of protective measures and of
the electrical continuity of the
protective circuit (8.3.3).
These tests may be carried out in any order.
Note: The performance of the routine tests
at the manufacturers works does not relieve
the firm installing the ASSEMBLY of the duty
of checking it after transport and installation.
[BS EN 60439-1 Clause 8.1.2]


The requirements are further amplified in

clause 8.3 of the standard but as the
standard covers a broad range of
equipment, it is very general. It is up to
each manufacturer to establish, within their
ISO 9000 Quality Assurance System,
procedures which will ensure they are fully
satisfied the equipment they are providing
complies with the standard, and that the
equipment is fit for purpose. In addition, the
user may also have included within the
contract further specific routine tests they
believe are necessary to confirm the
assembly is suitable for their applications, e.g.
measuring the resistance of busbar joints.
In order to carry out routine tests in a
controlled, logical and efficient manner it is
usual for a manufacturer to have detailed
procedures with limits of acceptance for test
results. It is now general practice for the
results obtained during routine tests to be
formally recorded on documents that form
part of the suppliers Quality Plans and, as
such, an inherent element in their quality
assurance procedures.
Within the standard there is only one
allowable difference between TTA (typetested assemblies) and PTTA (partially typetested assemblies), this being with respect to
dielectric testing. TTAs must be subject to a
power frequency dielectric (flash) test or
impulse test. PTTAs may be subject to the
same test, or alternatively, an insulation
resistance ("Megger") test at a minimum of
500 V. A manufacturer can, of course, if
they feel it advantageous carry out both
tests on all types of assembly.

Any insulation resistances measured in the

various tests will depend on the size of the
assembly, its contents and the climatic
conditions. Usually a manufacturer will set
their own minimum values. This may be of
the order of 10 megohms but the standard

only requires a minimum of 1000 ohms/volt.

It is also important to recognise that values
obtained in a clean, dry factory can be
considerably reduced when the equipment is
installed on site.

4. The so-called fault-free zone

The main busbars and the connections
between them and the supply side of
functional units share the same upstream
short-circuit protection. Therefore, in the
absence of any relaxation to the contrary,
these connections would need to have the
same short-circuit withstand strength as the
main busbars themselves.
However, in practice it may be impossible or,
at least, impractical or uneconomic to
achieve this short-circuit strength because
the rated currents of some functional units
may be of a much lower order than that of
the busbars and this may have to be
reflected in the dimensioning of the
associated conductors and, indeed, in the
dimensioning of related circuit parts such as
plugs and sockets (e.g. in the case of
withdrawable functional units).

is subject, of course, to certain provisos.

For example, the conductors have to be so
arranged that under normal operating
conditions, an internal short-circuit ... is only a
remote possibility.
The term fault-free zone is used colloquially
to describe this interface zone between the
main busbars and the functional units,
although it is not actually a term which is
used in the standard, which refers to nonprotected active conductors.

Main busbars

The fault-free
functional unit

The solution
Figure 5. The fault-free zone
In such cases, the dilemma is resolved by
clause of the standard which allows
that the conductors between the main
busbars and the supply side of functional
units may be rated on the basis of the
reduced short-circuit stresses occurring on
the load side of the short-circuit protective
devices in the functional units.This relaxation

A preference for solid rigid conductors led

to the inclusion in clause of
distribution busbars as particular examples
of conductors which may be rated on the
basis of down-stream short-circuit
protective devices. The standard defines a
distribution busbar to be a busbar within


one section (of the assembly) which is

connected to a main busbar and from which
outgoing units are supplied.

circuits, where danger could arise if the

supply were to be interrupted through the
operation of an upstream protective device.

The 1999 edition of the standard

introduced a new clause to provide
guidance on the selection and installation of
conductors in order to satisfy the objective
that a short-circuit between the
conductors, or between the conductors and
earth, should be only a remote possibility.
At the same time it encompasses certain
other circuits in an assembly where it may
not be possible to provide upstream shortcircuit protection. For example, auxiliary

Clause provides this guidance in the

form of a table (see Figure 6). It gives
examples of conductor types and
associated installation requirements.
Conductors installed as in this table and
having a short-circuit protective device
connected on the load side may be up to
three metres in length.

Type of conductor


Bare conductors, or single-core conductors with

basic insulation, for example cables according
to IEC 60227-3.

Mutual contact or contact with conductive

parts shall be avoided, for example by the
use of spacers.

Single-core conductors with basic insulation and

a maximum permissible conductor operating
temperature above 90C, for example
cables according to IEC 60245-3, or heat-resistant
PVC-insulated cables according to IEC 60227-3.

Mutual contact or contact with conductive

parts is permitted where there is no applied
external pressure. Contact with sharp edges
must be avoided.There must be no risk of
mechanical damage. These conductors may
only be loaded such that an operating
temperature of 70C is not exceeded.

Conductors with basic insulation, for example

cables according to IEC 60227-3, having additional
secondary insulation, for example individually
covered with shrink sleeving or individually run
in plastic conduit.
Conductors insulated with a very high mechanical
strength material, for example FTFE insulation, or
double-insulated conductors with an enhanced
outer sheath rated for use up to 3 kV, for
example cables according to IEC 60502.

No additional requirements if there is no risk

of mechanical damage.

Single or multi-core sheathed cables, for example

cables to IEC 60245-4 or IEC 60227-4.

Figure 6. Examples of conductor types and associated installation requirements

(conductors not protected by short-circuit protective devices)


5. Forms of internal separation (Forms 1-4)

The internal compartmentation of assemblies
is dealt with in Clause 7.7 of the standard
under the heading "Internal separation of
ASSEMBLIES by barriers or partitions".
This clause is concerned with the ways in
which the busbars and "functional units" in
an assembly may be separated from one
another - either by fitting interposing
barriers or by locating them in separate
compartments, and classifies some typical
arrangements into four groups - the socalled "Forms of internal separation, Forms
1-4" (see Figure 8).
The clause is only concerned with this one
aspect of internal separation and does not
otherwise preclude the use, for whatever
purposes, of other barriers, partitions,
shrouds or compartmentation.
It should already be emphasised at this
stage that the standard also does not impose
a requirement on the manufacturer to
adopt any of the Form 1-4 separation
classifications. Indeed, for some assemblies
it can be inappropriate or impossible to
do so. For example, since each classification
(except Form 1) relates to the separation
of functional units from busbars, then it
would clearly be difficult to declare any of
the other classifications in the case of an
assembly having no busbars. Nevertheless,
such an assembly can still conform fully
with the standard and the manufacturer is
entirely free to discuss alternative or
synonymous separation arrangements with
the client.

This is just one reason why the standard

makes it clear that the form of separation
has to be subject to agreement between the
manufacturer and user.

The elements to be separated

The clause is concerned solely with the
separation of busbars and functional units.
By busbars is meant the main busbars as well
as any associated risers and distribution
busbars (droppers).
A functional unit is defined as "a part of an
assembly comprising all the electrical and
mechanical elements that contribute to the
fulfilment of the same function." Typical
examples of functional units would be
incomers, distribution outgoers, individual
starters, and the like.
The clause also gives special consideration to
those terminals which are required for the
connection of external conductors to a
functional unit and which are treated as an
integral part of that unit. These may have to
be separated from the terminals of other
functional units and/or from the busbars; and
in some cases there may be advantages in
separating them from the main body of the
associated functional unit.
Conductors which are connected to a
functional unit but which are external to its
compartment or associated individual
terminal box (e.g. control cables to a
common marshalling compartment) would
not be considered to form part of the
functional unit.


Separation objectives
The standard only considers the two
objectives detailed in Figure 7. Either one or
both of these objectives may be used as the
basis of a classification of the Form of
internal separation.

Protection against contact with live

parts belonging to the adjacent
functional units. The degree of protection
shall be at least IP2X or IPXXB.
Protection against the passage of solid
foreign bodies from one unit of an
assembly to an adjacent unit. The
degree of protection shall be at least

Figure 7. The possible objectives of internal

The purpose of the first of these objectives
is to ensure that there will be at least
fingerproof (IP2X or IPXXB) protection
between adjacent functional units. This is
to enable an individual functional unit to be
disconnected (isolated) from the supply and
for its interior to be accessed while the rest
of the assembly remains in service. The aim
here is to reduce the risk that accidental
contact could be made with the live parts
of adjacent units or busbars.
Similarly, if the functional unit in question is
of the removable or withdrawable type and
has been removed from the assembly, then
access to live parts via the vacated
compartment interior must also be


The second objective is to reduce the risk

that loose parts, tools or debris, for
example, could fall or otherwise pass into an
adjacent compartment. This could occur
either while the assembly is in service or, as
above, while work is being carried out on
an individually isolated functional unit. The
requirement that the degree of protection
must be at least IP2X means that objects
greater than 12.5 mm diameter are unable
to pass into adjacent functional units.
The requirement for at least IP2X or IPXXB
protection also makes it clear, subject to
certain provisos, that gaps between
compartments can be allowed. This
verification was lacking in earlier editions of
the standard and led to conjecture about
the acceptability of gaps. Nevertheless,
higher degrees of protection may be
demanded for certain applications and these
are permitted by the standard subject to
agreement between the manufacturer and
It should be clearly noted that these two
objectives are not concerned with
separation in terms of arc fault containment.
Arc fault containment is not specifically
addressed in the standard and might need to
be the subject of a special agreement
between the manufacturer and user.

The means of separation

The standard states that an assembly may be
divided by means of partitions or barriers
(metallic or non-metallic) into separate
compartments or barriered sub-sections. In
other words the standard is not solely
concerned with compartmentation in the
strictest sense, i.e. the confinement of

functional units within their own discrete and

virtually sealed housings, but also with their
separation through the interposition of
simple partitions or barriers.

or from what materials they are to be

made. Nor has it been found practicable to
lay down performance criteria apart from
the IPXXB or IP2X verification requirements.

A barrier is defined as a part intended to

provide protection against direct contact
from any usual direction of access (minimum
IP2X) and against arcs from switching
devices and the like, if any.

The manufacturer is, therefore, allowed

considerable freedom in his choice of
constructional techniques and materials and may
indeed be able to offer the user several possible
solutions, even for a given assembly type.

Because of the wide variety of assemblies

which this standard covers - from small
control panels to large motor control
centres and distribution boards, and not least
because of the variety of constructional
possibilities which may be available even
within a given assembly type - the standard
does not attempt to impose detailed design

This freedom is yet another reason for the

standard to state that:
the form of separation ...shall be the subject
of an agreement between the manufacturer
and user.
[BS EN 60439-1 Clause 7.7]

It does not dictate, for example, how the

partitions or barriers are to be constructed

The basic descriptions of the Forms of

separation are set out in Figure 8.

The Forms of separation

(Forms 1- 4)

Form 1 No separation.
Form 2a Separation of the busbars from the functional units. The terminals for external
conductors are not separated from the busbars.
Form 2b As 2a but the terminals for external conductors are separated from the busbars.
Form 3a Separation of the busbars from the functional units and separation of all the functional
units from one another. The terminals for external conductors are separated from
the functional units, but not from each other or from the busbars.
Form 3b As 3a but the terminals for external conductors are separated from the busbars.
Form 4a Separation of the busbars from the functional units and separation of all functional
units from one another, including the terminals for external conductors which are
an integral part of the functional unit.The terminals for external conductors are in
the same compartment as the associated functional unit.
Form 4b As 4a but the terminals for external conductors are not in the same compartment
as the associated functional unit, but are in individual, separate, enclosed protected
spaces or compartments.
Figure 8. The Forms of separation


The standard explains that these Forms of

separation are to be regarded as typical only.
In other words, it is not an exhaustive list and
does not preclude other arrangements.

Each solution has its place - and this is yet

another reason for the form of separation
to be the subject of agreement between
the manufacturer and user.

Furthermore, just as there is flexibility in the

choice of construction techniques and
materials for the barriers and partitions, so
there is also wide flexibility in the design
solutions which can be offered for each
Form of separation. There are no definitive

5.1 National annex to

BS EN 60439-1: 1999

For a given Form, the actual design solution

which is chosen is likely to depend on
several factors. For example, if the intention
of deciding on a Form 4a or 4b arrangement
is to allow maintenance staff to access the
interiors of individually isolated functional
units or their terminals while the rest of the
assembly remains live, then the decision may
also depend on the likely frequency of access
and the qualifications/experience of the
persons involved in such activities. It will
depend also on the solution possibilities
offered by the particular assembly type and,
last but not least, it will almost certainly
depend on the cost!
For example, the user may wish for a Form
4a arrangement in which the terminals are
accommodated in the same compartment
as the associated functional unit. However,
space and other factors may hinder or
preclude this option. If, therefore,
consideration has to be given to a Form 4b
solution in which the terminals are
separately accommodated, then a choice of
constructions for the terminal housings may
be available for a given switchboard type
ranging from simple flexible shrouds to
individual rigid insulated or steel casings.


A UK National Annex to the standard was

published in order to provide manufactures,
specifiers and users with a means of
specifying some of these possible solutions.
For ease of reference this describes and
classifies various basic solutions based on
typical UK practice. They are included,
where appropriate, against the Forms 1-4
under the heading "Types of construction".
The National Annex, first published in 1995,
was not updated in the 1999 edition of the
standard. It was eventually correctly
implemented by Corrigendum No.2, which is
taken into account in this edition of the guide.
It should be noted, however, that these
Types of construction do not preclude other
constructional arrangements, nor is it
necessary to adopt any of the included Types
in order to comply with the requirements of
the standard. Nevertheless, adoption of an
included Type may assist in the process of
achieving agreement between manufacturers
and users.
Essentially, the "Types of construction"
consider three aspects of the assembly design:

the arrangement of the terminals for

external conductors, i.e. whether or not
accommodated in the same
compartment as the associated
functional unit

the material to be used for the barriers

and partitions separating the busbars,
functional units and terminals, i.e.
whether this is to be of metal or
insulating material (rigid or flexible)

the location of the glanding

arrangements, i.e. whether each
functional unit has its own integral
glanding facility.

terminals while the assembly was live and

where such access would only be required
for simple inspection purposes by skilled
and experienced personnel.

When deciding on the required Type of

construction and, indeed, when selecting
between Forms 1-4, it is desirable to strike
a sensible balance between the actual
application requirements and the likely
For example, taking some opposite
extremes, in so far as a choice is available it
is self-evident that a Form 1 assembly is
likely to be significantly less expensive than
its equivalent Form 4 version. Similarly, the
cost of a Form 4 Type 5 assembly with its
terminals merely separated by rubber
"boots", for example, is likely to be
significantly less costly than Form 4 Type 7
assembly with its terminals installed in
separate, integrally glanded and rigid-walled
The latter solution (Form 4 Type 7) could
be an appropriate choice in cases where
cabling access to the terminals of functional
units is needed at all times and it is
impossible to disconnect the rest of the
assembly from the supply when carrying
out such work. On the other hand, a
solution such as Form 4 Type 5 might be
considered by the user to be adequate and
more cost effective in cases where it
would be only rarely necessary to access


Forms of separation/Types of
The Forms of internal separation and the
associated Types of construction are
illustrated in Figures 10.1 through 10.6.

The diagrams are simple schematics

intended solely to illustrate the principles
involved. They are not intended to
represent or determine in any way the
actual physical layouts of assemblies.

Form 1
Main Criteria
No internal separation

Figure 9.1. Representation of Form 1


Form 2a
Main Criteria
Separation of busbars from the functional units
Terminals for external conductors
NOT separated from busbars

Typical variants

Form 2b
Main Criteria
Separation of busbars from the functional units
Terminals for external conductors
separated from busbars

Type 1:
Busbar separation is achieved by
insulated covering e.g sleeving,
wrapping or coatings 1)
Type 2:
Busbar separation is by metallic or
non-metallic rigid barriers or

See 7.4.2 in relation to protection against contract with live parts.

Figure 9.2. Representation of Form 2


Form 3a
Main Criteria
Separation of busbars from the
functional units
Separation of all functional units from one another
Separation of the terminals for external conductors from the functional units
but not from each other

Terminals for external conductors
NOT separated from busbars

Figure 9.3. Representation of Form 3a)


Form 3b
Main Criteria
Separation of busbars from the
functional units
Separation of all functional units from one another
Separation of the terminals for external conductors from the functional
units but not from each other

Terminals for external conductors
separated from busbars

Typical variants

Type 1:
Busbar separation is achieved by
insulated covering e.g sleeving,
wrapping or coatings 1)
Type 2:
Busbar separation is by metallic or
non-metallic rigid barriers or


See 7.4.2 in relation to protection against contract with live parts.

Figure 9.4. Representation of Form 3b


Form 4a
Main Criteria
Separation of busbars from the functional units
Separation of all functional units from one another
Separation of terminals for external conductors which are an
integral part of the functional units
Terminals for external conductors in same
compartment as functional unit

Typical variants

Type 1:
Busbar separation is achieved by
insulated covering e.g. sleeving,
wrapping or coatings 1). Cables may
be glanded elsewhere.
Type 2:
Busbar separation is by metallic or
non-metallic rigid barriers or
partitions. Cables may be glanded

Type 3:
Busbar separation is by metallic or
non-metallic rigid barriers or
The termination for each functional
unit has its own integral
glanding facility.

See 7.4.2 in relation to protection against contract with live parts.

Figure 9.5. Representation of Form 4a


Form 4b
Main Criteria
Separation of busbars from the functional units
Separation of all functional units from one another
Separation of terminals for external conductors which are an
integral part of the functional units
Terminals for external conductors
NOT in same compartment as the
associated functional unit, but in individual
separate enclosed protected spaces
or compartments

Typical variants
Type 4:
Busbar separation is achieved by
insulated coverings e.g. sleeving,
wrapping or coatings.
Cables may be glanded elsewhere.
Type 5:
Busbar separation is by metallic or
non-metallic rigid barriers or partitions.
Terminals may be separated by insulated
coverings 1) and glanded in common
cabling chamber(s).
Type 6:
All separation requirments are by metallic or
non-metallic rigid barriers or partitions. Cables
are glanded in common cabling chamber(s).

Type 7:
All separation requirements are by metallic
or non-metallic rigid barriers or partitions.
The termination for each functional unit has
its own integral glanding facility.


See 7.4.2 in relation to protection against contract with live parts.

Figure 9.6. Representation of Form 4b


Key to symbols in Figure 9.1 - 9.6

internal separation by
compartments or barriers



functional units
including terminals for external

cable gland

NOTE: Conductors which are connected to a functional unit, but where they are external to
its compartment or enclosed protective space (e.g. control cables connected to a common
marshalling compartment) are not considered to form part of the functional unit.


6. The CE Marking
In order to demonstrate that certain
products are legal within Europe, it is a
requirement of national legislation
implementing EU New Approach Directives
to apply CE marking to certain categories of
The CE marking of an assembly represents a
declaration by the manufacturer (or his
authorised representative in the EEA, in the
case of products imported into Europe)
that it complies with the essential
requirements of all directives relevant to
assemblies.These directives (see also
Figure 11) are:

itself lead to the removal of the system

from the market.
It should be noted that this indication is for
the benefit of national administrations and
is the sole purpose of the CE marking. It is
not intended to be used as a marketing
tool; it does not even indicate that an
assembly is "Made in Europe". Nor does it
imply a level of quality or that the assembly
has been in any way "approved" or thirdparty certified.

The purpose of the CE marking is to

indicate to national administrations that
there is a "presumption that the essential
requirements of the relevant directives have
been met". It enables an assembly to be
placed on the European market without any
initial challenge by any of these authorities.

The CE marking has a strictly defined

format (see Figure 10). If reduced or
enlarged, the proportions must remain the
same, but it must not be less than 5 mm
high. The UK Regulations say that the
marking can be on the product, the
packaging or other accompanying
documentation. However there is a lack of
clarity on the intent of the Directive, so
other EEA member states can have different
requirements. Some require the CE marking
to be on the product, unless the product is
too small. Although not a requirement to
put it in more than one place it may be
helpful to also affix the CE marking to the
packaging and other accompanying material.

The policing of compliance of products

with these directives is complaint driven.
Should investigations carried out by a
national enforcement authority confirm that
any of the requirements have not been
met, then this could lead to total banning of
the assembly system from the European
market, and perhaps the fining and/or
imprisonment of the responsible person.
Misapplication of the CE marking could

Figure 10. The CE Marking

The Low Voltage Directive

The EMC Directive


EU Directive
Implemented in UK through:
Abbreviated title

Full title

Low Voltage

Council Directive 73/23/EEC

on the harmonisation of the laws
of Member States relating to
electrical equipment designed for
use within certain voltage limits.

Statutory Instrument 1994 No.3260;

The Electrical Equipment
(Safety) Regulations 1994.

EMC Directive

Council Directive 89/336/EEC

on the approximation of the laws
of the Member States relating to
electromagnetic compatibility,
as amended by Council Directive

Statutory Instrument 2005 No.281:

The Electromagnetic
Compatibility Regulations 2005.

Figure 11. The Low Voltage and EMC Directives

6.1 The Low Voltage Directive

The Low Voltage Directive is applicable to
all low-voltage electrical equipment, i.e.
equipment operating at voltages from
50 - 1000V a.c. or 75 - 1500V d.c. It sets
out a number of key demands. For
example, it requires that LV equipment may
be placed on the European market only if it
satisfies certain basic ("essential") safety
requirements. This must include protection
against hazards such as:


direct and indirect shock hazard;

hazards arising from dangerous
temperatures, arcs or radiation;
hazards arising from overloading;
hazards arising from insulation failures;
hazards arising from mechanical
hazards arising from the expected
environmental conditions;
hazards arising from non-electrical

Naturally, there are certain provisos - for

example, the equipment must be used in
applications for which it was made, and
must be adequately maintained.
The Directive itself does not go into any
more detail of how these requirements are
actually to be met but states that
equipment is deemed to comply if it
satisfies the safety provisions of relevant
European harmonised standards.
This means that assemblies conforming
to BS EN 60439-1 are considered to
satisfy the essential requirements of
the Low Voltage Directive.
Furthermore, the Low Voltage Directive
states that, if an assembly satisfies these
safety requirements, then its free movement
within the European market must not be

The assembly manufacturer is required to

hold specified documentation, i.e. a
"technical file", to support the claim that
the equipment conforms to the
regulations. By applying a CE marking the
manufacturer is also declaring that he
holds such a file. The technical file, which
in practice will be design calculation and
test data, possibly located in a number of
separate files, has to be made available for
inspection by national enforcement
authorities, if required, but there is no
right of access by customers or users.
Enforcement authorities can themselves
only demand access to the file if
investigating a justified complaint.
However, as part of the technical file, the
manufacturer also has to make a Declaration
of Conformity for each assembly type. This
will indicate to which directives the
CE marking relates, and must detail the
specification(s) to which his equipment
conforms and which thereby form the basis
of the conformity declaration. Copies of this
declaration may be made available to third
parties although there is no obligation to
supply a copy with each assembly.

6.2 The EMC Directive

The EMC Directive (EMC = Electromagnetic
Compatibility) requires that:
Equipment must have an adequate
level of immunity to electromagnetic
disturbance, and must not itself
generate excessive electromagnetic

The Directive lays down two possible routes

to compliance. These are:
the Technical Construction File Route
the Standards Route
The situation with the first of these routes
to compliance is not so straightforward as
with the Low Voltage Directive.
The reason for this is that the Technical
Construction File route does not permit
self-declaration of compliance by the
manufacturer; instead, the manufacturer has
to make application to a governmentappointed Competent Body for a technical
report or certificate. This is subject to a
conformity assessment by that body
involving the inspection and approval of the
documentation describing the equipment,
its relationship to the applicable generic
EMC standards and the procedures, e.g.
tests, used to ensure conformity.
Therefore, assembly manufacturers are likely
to prefer the more straightforward "Standards
Route to Compliance". As with other
electrical products this involves working to
the relevant EN (European) product standard
provided this is officially recognised as
a standard satisfying the requirements
of the EMC Directive. These standards
have to be so mandated by the European
Commission and their reference numbers
published in the Official Journal (OJ) of the
EU as standards deemed to satisfy the
essential requirements of this Directive. They
are thereby recognised as "Product EMC


BS EN 60439-1 is such a standard. Its clauses

dealing with EMC requirements were ratified
by CENELEC in November 1995 as
satisfying the requirements of the EMC

It states that, unless subject to special

agreement, an assembly is intended for use in
one of the following electromagnetic
environments (the manufacturer has to
declare which applies):

It has to be recognised that the application

of the EMC Directive to assemblies poses
particular problems. For example, most
assemblies are manufactured as one-off,
customised units and, as such, incorporate a
wide selection of devices and components
which will, individually and/or in combination,
exhibit particular EMC performance
characteristics. It is difficult, therefore, to
conceive of any system of sample testing
which could accurately predict the EMC
performance of all the possible assembly
variations which could arise in practice. Also,
on account of their physical size and ratings,
meaningful EMC testing of assemblies, which
would have to be carried out under
conditions of full load, would in any case
usually be quite impracticable.

Environment 1, corresponding to
residential, commercial and light industrial
locations/installations; or
Environment 2, corresponding to nonpublic or industrial networks, locations or

Furthermore, each assembly forms part of

an installation comprising incoming and
outgoing power supply and load circuits,
motors, cables and external wiring. All of
these elements have an influence on the
EMC performance of the assembly and might
not be under the control of the
Therefore, BS EN 60439-1 adopts the
approach that consideration can only be
given to the EMC requirements for the
individual products that are to be built into
the assembly.


(These environments are encompassed by,

and are described in, the harmonised EMC
generic emission and immunity standards
BS EN 50081 Parts 1 & 2 and BS EN 50082
Parts 1 & 2 respectively).
BS EN 60439-1 goes on to state that no
EMC immunity or emission tests are then
required to be carried out on the assembly
provided the following conditions are fulfilled:
a) the incorporated devices and
components are designed for the
specified Environment 1 or 2 in line with
the relevant harmonised product or
generic EMC standards, and
b) the internal installation and wiring is
carried out in accordance with the
instructions of the manufacturers of the
devices and components (arrangement
with regard to mutual influences, cable
screening, earthing, etc).
In the event that devices or components
in the assembly do not satisfy the above, then
EMC immunity and emission test
requirements for these are specified to ensure
their suitability for use in Environments 1 or 2.

Many of the products which will be built into

assemblies are already covered by the
necessary product EMC standards, e.g. the
BS EN 60947 series of standards covering
low-voltage switchgear and controlgear. The
EMC performance requirements laid down
in these standards also relate to
Environments 1 and 2 and thereby mirror
the requirements of BS EN 60439-1.
So, provided an assembly is tested and
manufactured fully in conformity with the BS
EN 60439-1 standard and its EMC clauses,
then that assembly is deemed to satisfy the
requirements of the EMC Directive and have
the CE marking.

b) to machinery which is electrical

equipment in so far as the risks as to the
safety of such equipment are mainly of
electrical origin. It explains that the
meaning of "electrical equipment" is as
given in the Low Voltage Directive.
Therefore, on both counts assemblies built to
BS EN 60439-1 and which therefore fall
under the Low Voltage Directive, are exempt
from the requirements of the Machinery
Directive. They can be used in machinery
applications but do not require to have the
CE marking in relation to that Directive.
Nevertheless, they should still conform to
BS EN 60204-1 (Electrical equipment of

6.3 The Machinery Directive

This Directive is also of relevance to
assembly manufacturers because many
assemblies are used with machines, or
indeed, are built into them.
The Machinery Directive, as amended, is
implemented in the UK through the supply
of Machinery (Safety) Regulations 1992 (S1
1992/3073) as amended by the Supply of
Machinery (Safety) (Amendment)
Regulations 1994 (S1 1994/2063) and The
Supply of Machinery (Safety) (Amendment)
regulations 2005 (S1 2005/831). It requires
that all machines placed on European
market from 1 January 1995 must have bear
CE marking.
However, the Directive explains that it does
not apply
a) to machinery where all the essential
health and safety requirements relate to
risks wholly covered by other Directives,




Supply voltage and current capacity of busbars including neutral rating:


System fault capacity:


Diversity factor (if other than that

specified in standard):


Special installation conditions:



Temperature above 35C?

Other conditions including

External degree of protection:



Degree of internal protection:


NOTE: IP2X is minimum within standard


Form of construction:

Fixed / Withdrawable


Accessibility for maintenance:

Front / Rear


Accessibility for cabling:

Front / Rear
Top / Bottom Entry


Form of Separation:




Ask for test data on ALL aspects of design before ordering and ask for a Declaration
of Conformity to the Low Voltage Directive when equipment is delivered.


GAMBICA is the Association for Instrumentation, Control

and Automation. Its primary aims are to further the
successful development of this sector and to promote the
interests of member companies through a broad range of
activities in the UK and overseas.

The greatest care has been taken to ensure the accuracy of

the information contained in this guide, but no liability can be
accepted by GAMBICA, or its members, for errors of any

The Association operates through Association Groups and

covers the five principal sectors of the industry:
Laboratory based analytical and measuring equipment
Test and measurement equipment for electrical and
electronics industries
Process measurement and control equipment and systems
Environmental measurement and monitoring equipment
Industrial control and power electronics components and

The GAMBICA Association Limited

St. Georges House 195-203 Waterloo Road London SE1 8WB
Telephone: +44 (0)20 7642 8080 Fax: +44 (0)20 7642 8096
Email: Website:
2006 11/06