UL 508 Compliant Control Panels

Technician working on electrical control panel

JHFoster maintains an industry-leading, in-house UL 508A certified control panel shop to help our clients meet all their electrical control panel needs. A top-functioning control panel can make the difference between inefficient and efficient mechanical processes.

Control panels are most often used to simplify production, ensure quality materials, and facilitate accurate machining. They also improve efficiency and reliability, while upholding safety standards. They can even keep existing equipment operating with reduced breakdowns. UL compliance means the panels your business relies on meet the industry’s highest standards. This article focuses on the importance of the National Electric Code and its quality applications.

What is the National Electric Code?

The National Electric Code, or NEC, provides a series of quality guidelines for the safe design, installation and inspection of electrical wiring and equipment. It requires that all electrical systems are labeled, listed, identified or approved as compliant to relevant safety standards as developed by a standard writing organization.

The NEC is the U.S. standard for electrical quality, but there are other certifications that also play a role in promoting the safe use and installation of electrical equipment. Underwriters Laboratory, or UL, is the most recognized of this group, with over 125 years of testing and certifying experience.

NEC defines an industrial control panel (ICP) as “an assembly of two or more power circuit components, control circuit components, or any combination of power and control circuit components.” These components typically come in the form of switches, motor drives, transformers, and such.

Common NEC Violations

Although the National Electrical Code covers every conceivable area, Section 409 specifically deals with industrial control panels. Common violations in this area include:

  • Section 409.22 – Short-Circuit Current Rating: This section specifies that ICPs cannot be installed where the available fault current exceeds its short-circuit current rating.
  • Section 409.110 – Marking: This section specifies how markings are to appear on ICPs.
  • Section 409.104 – Wiring Space: This refers to the space that is required if ICPs are to be used for specific purposes, such as a junction box or auxiliary gutter.

The NEC is updated every three years, to maintain the highest of safety standards. Failure to adhere to the latest in compliance standards might cause serious problems for your products and your business. Non-compliant ICPs might not function at maximum efficiency, or they could represent an electrical malfunction safety issue.

Components that have been flagged could result in fines or legal problems. Most of all, it could mean dissatisfied customer, wasted time, and lost revenue. Using a certified control panel shop means you don’t have to worry about whether your ICP is in compliance.

Optimizing Industrial Control Panels for NEC

Devices that are UL listed have two pieces of information associated with them: the Category Control Number (CCN) and the E-file number. Each piece of information can be used to select listed parts or confirm if a part is listed. The CCN shows you the category or standard for your part, and reveals whether the manufacturer is UL listed or UL recognized for use in the U.S. or Canada. The E-file number can also be obtained directly from the manufacturer to evaluate a part for UL compliance.

When you work with an UL 508A certified control panel shop like JHFoster to purchase or service your ICPs, you have the peace of mind knowing that your panels will be in compliance. We work closely with you through every stage from purchase or custom design, to manufacturing, installation and service.

A JHFoster employee works on an electrical panel.

Contact JHFoster for all your industrial control panel purchase or service needs. An additional benefit that you might not find with other shops is that we are also UL 698A compliant. This specification relates to the design and fabrication of hazardous control panels, which can be particularly dangerous. If you have a special need in this area, you can rest assured that JHFoster has the capability to meet the toughest of safety standards for your business and your personnel.

JHFoster offers complete design services, panel manufacturing and support for all types of applications including filling, food, material handling, product testing, compressor controls, relay panels, and pneumatic circuits. We produce over 60 electronic control panels per month for use in a wide variety of industries, and have a wealth of knowledge and experience. You can find some of our helpful industry insights in the JHFoster Automation Library, which is full of free Electrical Control Panel product knowledge resources.

Headquartered in Eagan, Minnesota, John Henry Foster’s in-house UL 508A certified control panel shop has been engineering and designing control panels to fit customer specifications for over twenty years. Our team offers over 100 years of combined experience in hardware, software and design/build projects. Contact us online, request a quote, or call 855-688-0043 to discuss your electrical control panel needs.