NFPA Standards and Industrial Control Panels
All articles / NEC electrical panels
Our custom control panel design and manufacture process includes careful consideration of each panel’s intended operating environment and associated application standards, to minimize the risk of fire and other electrical hazards.
Choosing a panel builder qualified to manufacture to the NFPA 79 standard in-house, at every step in the process, provides a level of compliance unattainable through a third-party inspection.
What is the NFPA?
NFPA stands for National Fire Protection Association, a nonprofit organization that provides nationally and internationally recognized safeguards, codes, and standards for industrial machinery to reduce the risk of fire and other hazards, for the protection of the operators, equipment, facilities and work-in-progress.
Is NFPA 70 the same as NEC?
Yes. The NEC (National Electrical Code) is a widely used code developed by the NFPA, also known as NFPA 70 (its official title). It governs the safe installation of electrical wiring and equipment across all industrial applications in the United States. A new version of the NEC is published by the NFPA as NFPA 70 every three years.
Does NEC apply to control panels?
Article 409 of the NEC outlines the standards and requirements for industrial control panels, including:
- Short Circuit Ratings and Markings
- Wiring Space and Wire Bending Space
Article 409 was added to the NEC in 2005 primarily to ensure proper equipment ratings and markings are in place for safe installation and application of industrial control panels.
What about NFPA 79?
NFPA 79 is a code governing how to properly wire and ground a piece of industrial machinery equipment. NFPA 79 includes stipulations for control panels such as:
- Infeed and main switch
- System & motor protection
- Protection against electrical hazards
- Selection, design & layout of control panel field wiring
- Requirements for identifications, safety information & technical documentation
NFPA 79 together with UL 508A (Industrial Control Panels) to which the NEC refers in Article 409, forms the basis for ensuring compliance with the technical requirements for electrical equipment of machinery in the USA.
NFPA 70 vs NFPA 79
NFPA 70 (NEC) covers the electrical installation for supplying a piece of equipment with power, and applies to the materials and methods outside the equipment.
NFPA 79 applies to the wiring, electrical controls and components inside electrical equipment.
Is UL listing required by NEC?
While the NFPA as a standards organization doesn’t require industrial control panels to be listed, OSHA and local AHJ (Authorities Having Jurisdiction) often require a control panel be listed with a Nationally Recognized Testing Laboratory (NRTL).
Underwriters Laboratory (UL) is the biggest, oldest, and most widely recognized NRTL. Industrial control panels built to UL508a standards automatically meet NEC and NFPA 79 requirements. As a UL 508A Certified Panel Shop, PanelTEK builds every control panel in compliance with all industry standards, for safe and reliable performance in each panel’s intended environment.