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Insulation monitoring in IT systems

Electrical safety for people and


machine.

Which factors influence the insulation resistance ?

Insulation resistance is a very important factor when the protective goals


are being considered.

Electrical

static overvoltage

transient overvoltage

frequency changes

protection against direct and


indirect contact is not guaranteed;

lightning

overload

protective arrangements against


overcurrent or fault currents will
frequently lead to interruptions
of operation;

voltage form

short-circuit and earth fault


currents may cause fires and
destroy parts of the plant;

shock, impact

flaw, bend

vibration

high costs are incurred due to


interruptions of operation, damage and losses.

penetration of foreign bodies

Without adequate insulation


resistance:

Mechanical

Environmental

climate

moisture, temperature

chemical influences

pollution, dust, oil

agressive exhaust air, fumes

ageing

Other effects

animals (such as biting by rodents)

plants

incorrect connections

The IT system with supplementary equipotential bonding and insulation


monitoring equipment
The IT system is supplied either from an isolating transformer or an independent voltage source, such as a battery or a generator. The peculiarity is that no
active conductor is directly connected to earth in this system. The advantage of
this is that only a small fault current can flow in the event of an insulation fault.
This current is essentially caused by the system leakage capacitance. The
upstream fuse does not respond, thus maintaining the voltage supply - and
therefore operation - even in case of a phase-to-earth fault.
The high reliability of an IT system is guaranteed thanks to continuous insulation monitoring. The insulation monitoring device recognises insulation faults
as they develop, and reports that a value has fallen below the minimum
immediately, before an unforeseen interruption of operation is caused by a
second insulation fault.
The following illustration shows the typical arrangement of an IT system.

Arrangement of an IT system with supplementary equipotential bonding and


insulation monitoring.

TN systems
TN systems have one point directly
earthed, the exposed conductive
parts of the installation being
connected to that point by protective
conductors. Residual current monitors
(RCMs) can be used to monitor TN
systems. You will find devices suitable
for this purpose in Part 4 of the
BENDER Main Catalogue.

TT systems
TT systems have one point directly
earthed, the exposed conductive
parts of the installation being
connected to earth electrodes
electrically independent of the earth
electrodes of the system. Residual
current monitors /RCMs) can be used
to monitor TT systems. You will find
devices suitable for this purpose in
Part 4 of the BENDER Main Catalogue.

Consequences of an insulation fault

Advance information in the IT system

Hazards to people, because of:

It is critically important to have early information about a fall in the insulation


resistance. With an insulation monitoring device, you will have the required
advance information.

high touch voltages

danger of injury

High costs, because of:

unavailability of staff due to


injuries

interruption of operation

Operating principle of insulation monitoring devices

material damage

The insulation monitoring device is connected between the active conductors


and earth (protective conductor), and it superimposes a measuring voltage on
the system. Depending on the system to be monitored, this can be a direct
voltage or a pulsating voltage. If an insulation fault occurs, the measuring circuit
is closed and a small measuring current will flow. This measuring current is
proportional to the insulation resistance and it is evaluated by the devices
electronic system. For pure DC systems, some times the passive UG measuring
principle is used: this evaluates the voltage displacement between system and
earth.

Fire and explosion hazards because


of:

arcing

heat

Interruptions to operation because of:

unintentional switchoff

defective equipment

control malfunctions

Reliability of measurement
Modern systems contain a large spectrum of interference which can lead to
erraneous measurement of the insulation resistance. However, thanks to the use
of sophisticated measurement techniques and carefully selected components,
BENDER A-ISOMETERS are able to filter out interferences and to measure the
insulation resistance accurately. This is exemplified by the AMP measurement
process (BENDER patent pending), which is used in all IT systems, particularly in
those with frequency converters.

Standards

The EC directive
All the devices in this catalogue carry the CE symbol, meaning that they comply with the
respective EC directive. The corresponding standards and limiting values are listed below.
These are general data which are valid for all the products in this catalogue provided that
the directive is applicable.

Test of the Electromagnetic Compatibility (EMC)


Immunity for industrial environments acc. IEC 61000-6-2
Electrostatic discharge immunity test acc. to IEC 61000-4-2
Radiated, radio-frequency, electromagnetic field
immunity test acc. to IEC 61000-4-3
Electrical fast transient/
burst immunity test acc. to IEC 61000-4-4
Surge immunity test acc. to IEC 61000-4-5
Immunity to conducted disturbances,
induced by radio-frequency fields acc. to IEC 61000-4-6
Power frequency magnetic field
immunity test acc. to IEC 61000-4-8
Voltage dips, short interruptions and voltage
variations immunity tests acc. to IEC 61000-4-11

severity degree 3
severity degree 3
severity degree 3

overcurrent protective devices

insulation monitoring devices

residual current protective devices

The next illustration shows an overview


of the protective measures and the coordination which they require between
the type of distribution system used
and the suitable protective device.

severity degree 3
severity degree 3
severity degree 3
class B*
class A

Mechanical tests:
Shock resistance acc. to IEC 6068-2-27
Bumping acc. to IEC 6068-2-29

15 g/11 ms
40 g/6 ms

Vibration strength acc. to IEC 6068-2-6

10 ... 150 Hz/0.15 mm - 2 g

*Class A devices are only suitable for use in the industrial sector. For use in other
sectors, interference suppression measures must be implemented under certain
circumstances. Class B devices are suitable for use in the household and industrial
sectors.
Standards for the types of distribution system
The various types of distribution system (system forms) are described in DIN VDE
0100 Teil 300:1985-11, and in IEC 60364-3. The various types of distribution
systems result from the different treatment of the neutral point of the system
(earthed or isolated) in conjunction with the possibilities of earthing exposed
conductive parts. You will find more information about these types of distribution
systems on pages 6 and 7 of this catalogue.
Standards for protective measures
Protection of people and animals against hazardous body currents is basically
regulated in DIN VDE 0100 Part 410 (IEC 60364-4-41). These standards define the
measures for protection against direct contact, as well as in the case of indirect
contact. The hazard resulting from direct contact with live parts is easily
understood. Comprehensible measures can achieve protection in this case.
Measures achieved by switchoff or alarm are necessary as protection in the case
of indirect contact. Protective measures with protective conductors require the
type of distribution system to be coordinated with the protective measure.

Standards for insulation


monitoring devices
The special requirements for insulation monitoring devices are stipulated
in IEC 61557-8, EN 61557-8. This
document des-cribes devices which
are used in pure AC systems, as well as
devices which are used in AC, DC and
mixed AC/DC systems.
IEC 61557-8, EN 61557-8 is very
precise with respect to the special
requirements for devices, type of
construction, measuring technology,
documentation and tests/inspections.
IEC 61557-9, EN 61557-9 regulates the
requirements for insulation fault
location systems.
All the devices in this catalogue satisfy
the requirements of
IEC 61557-8, EN 61557-8 and
IEC 61557-9, EN 61557-9.

Annex

Emissions acc. to EN 50081-2:


Emissions acc. to EN 55011 / CISPR11

severity degree 3

The types of distribution systems (IT,


TT and TN systems) have already been
explained. The following protective
equipment is allowed:

The measurement technology of


insulation monitoring devices
The use of insulation monitoring devices in IT systems is specified in various
standards. Additional requirements
may also be mentioned in these documents. Thus insulation monitoring
devices for use in rooms utilised for
medical purposes must additionally
conform to DIN VDE 0107. DIN VDE
0118 is for use in the mining sector. DIN
VDE 0105 regulates special
requirements in electric railroad
systems. Separate reference is made
where BENDER devices conform to
additional standards.
Preventive maintenance
The availability of electrical installations and preventive maintenance are
addressed directly or indirectly in
various standards. The German
standard DIN 31051 deals directly
with maintenance. This presents measures to maintain and restore the
intended condition of the technical
equipment in a system.
Further information about the maintenance of electrical installations can be
found in EN 50110. A distinction is
drawn here between preventive
maintenance and corrective
maintenance. Regular tests of points
such as insulation resistance are required. The requirements of this standard are intended to achieve safe
operation of electrical installations and
safety of work in the vicinity of such
installations. Hence, the measures cited
in the standard (tests, measurements)
represent contributions towards the
prevention of operational shutdowns
and towards cost savings.

The high reliability of an IT system is ensured by continuous monitoring of the


insulation. The insulation monitoring device already detects insulation faults as
they are developing, and gives an early indication whenever a value falls below a
minimum.
The measuring principle which must be used in the insulation monitoring device
depends on the type of the IT system, and/or the influencing variables which
occur in it.
Superimposition of a DC measuring voltage
One frequently used measuring principle is the superimposition of a
DC measuring voltage between the system and the protective
conductor. This is the standard measuring principle for pure AC one
and three-phase systems. The positive pole of the measuring voltage
Um is connected to the system via high-impedance coupling resistors Ri, and the
negative pole is connected to earth via the devices electronic system. If an
insulation fault occurs in the system, the measuring circuit closes via the
insulation fault RF and a DC measuring current Im starts to flow, proportional to
the insulation fault. The measuring current is evaluated electronically via the
measuring resistance Rm.

This measuring principle is suitable for monitoring pure AC systems. DC voltage


components in the system, high capacitances, and voltage and frequency changes
can exert a negative influence on this measurement.
Control systems (such as those for presses) frequently contain alternating current
consumers which include electrically connected DC components (such as
solenoid valves). If insulation faults are present on the DC side, extraneous DC
voltages will occur in addition to the DC measuring voltage. These may falsify
the measurement result. In order to prevent this, a reversing stage is additionally
integrated into the electronic system of the device. As a result of the measuring
principle, insulation faults on the DC side are detected with increased response
sensitivity, which is nevertheless acceptable in specific applications.
You can find additional information on this subject in Protective measures with
insulation monitoring, a specialised book published by the VDE Verlag.

The voltage asymmetry principle


This passive measuring principle does not involve the superimposition of a measuring voltage on the system; instead, the system
voltage is used as the driving voltage. The two poles of the system
to be monitored and the PE conductor are connected to a bridge
circuit.

The displacement voltage created by an earth fault, RF+ or RF- drives a measuring
current Im, which is recorded in an electronic measuring circuit. When the
response value is reached, the alarm relay will switch. On account of the
measuring principle, symmetrical insulation faults are not recorded and a direct
display of the insulation resistance in k is not possible.
The devices are used exclusively in DC systems. They are designated as earth fault
relays and are not insulation monitoring devices as defined in IEC 61557-8.
The AMP measuring principle
The AMP measuring principle (patent applied by BENDER) is based
on a specially clocked measuring voltage which is controlled by a
microcontroller and adapts itself automatically to the respective
system conditions. Software-supported evaluation differentiate
between system leakage current which occur as interference
variables on the evaluation ciruit, and the measurement variable, which is
proportional to the ohmic insulation resistance. Consequently broadband
interference influences (such as those which are created when a frequency
converter is in operation) do not have a negative influence on the exact
determination of the insulation resistance.

The frequency code principle


In systems with highperformance frequency
converter drives, extreme
interference voltages
frequently occur. In these cases, the
interference voltages can often have
high amplitudes in the frequency
range 0.1 - 1 Hz, due to operation of
the drives at very low speeds. The
frequency code measuring principle
has been developed for such
applications.
In this instance, there is selective recording of measurement signals using
digital band filters. The rigid coupling
between the centre frequency of the
filter and the measuring cycle also
allows a very high filter quality to be
achieved. Because of this, it is possible
to record the measuring signals even
when the interference amplitudes are
very high. The frequency code
measuring principle evaluates three
spectral frequencies of the measuring
signal; the insulation resistance RF and
the leakage capacitance Ce are
calculated from two amplitude values
and two known frequencies in each
case. As soon as the measuring
principle recognises interferences in
the measuring signal, the measuring
cycle as well as the filter characteristic
are adapted.

Devices with this measuring principle can be used universally in AC, DC and AC/
DC systems, with voltage or frequency variations, high system leakage
capacitances and DC components. These devices are able to cope with today`s
modern distribution systems, which usually contain influencing variables of this
sort (the key words are frequency converters and EMC).

Annex

The adjustment parameters (response values, special alarm and display functions)
are programmable, and are stored in a non-volatile memory. Some devices are fitted
with interfaces for connection to data aquisition systems.

Summary of the measuring


principles
The IT system, its structure and its
components are directly interrelated
with the measuring principle of the
insulation monitoring system. For
planning purposes, it is therefore
important to know which insulation
monitoring device operates with
which measuring principle. The table
opposite shows the selection of
measuring principles, taking the system
parameters into account.

Fuse protection for insulation monitoring devices


Most insulation monitoring devices
have two connections with an active
system. These are:

the connection to the supply


voltage US

the coupling of the measuring


circuit to the system to be
monitored Un

Basically, each form of protection for


an insulation monitoring device should
be regarded as wiring protection.
However, a fuse protection in conformity with IEC 60364-4-473 is always
necessary if the current-carrying
capacity is reduced by decreased wire
cross section, by a different type of
routing, by different line conductor
insulation or by a different number of
leads.
Safety devices for overload protection
may be omitted in lines and cables

where there is no need to expect that


overload currents will occur, provided
that they have no spurs or plug appliances. In general, it may be assumed
that these conditions can be fulfilled,
both for the system coupling and for
the supply voltage connection of insulation monitoring devices.
The situation is different with regard
to short-circuit protection. As a basic
principle, the supply voltage for
insulation monitoring devices must be
fitted with short-circuit protective
devices to afford protection in the
event of a short-circuit. The use of 6 A
fuses is recommended. The fuse
protection also makes it easier to
access the devices for service work.
For the system coupling, safety devices to provide protection in the case
of a short-circuit can only be omitted
if the possibility of a short-circuit is

reduced to a minimum (on this


subject, see IEC 60364-4-473). In these
cases, cabling which is proof against
short-circuits and short-circuits to
earth is advisable as the minimum. It is
often very difficult to reduce the
danger of short-circuits to a minimum,
and to decide whether this goal has
been achieved. In cases of doubt, it is
also appropriate to install protective
devices in the system coupling, to
provide protection by means of 6 A
fuses in the event of a short-circuit.
If an insulation monitoring device is
operated in combination with a coupling device, it is absolutely essential
for the connection between the coupling device and the system to be fitted a
short-circuit protection (6 A fuse).
On devices with integrated connection
monitoring, a protection failure is reported as a line interruption.