Power Distribution and Management

4 Steps for Testing and Commissioning Arc Flash Protection in Medium Voltage

The previous posts in this series have covered the goals, benefits and installation of arc flash protection in medium voltage equipment. In this final post, I’m going to cover best practices for testing and commissioning, which panel builders and contractors should do before energizing an installation.

This is critical because as the panel builder or contractor, you are responsible for the proper operation of a medium voltage installation. So you need to make sure that the installed arc flash mitigation equipment is going to play its needed role.

First, make sure you follow lockout/tag out procedures and are wearing appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE). You may think there is no chance for an arc flash, but it is better to be safe. In North American, for example, NFPA Standard 70E defines where and when PPE must be used.

Second, inspect the arc flash protection installation to ensure that it has been done as specified by the original equipment manufacturer (OEM). This inspection should be conducted by two people working together, and it is best if one of the inspectors is someone who was not involved in the original installation. Checking in tandem minimizes the chance that an error will be overlooked.

Third, test the arc flash protection using the methods called for by the OEM. Ideally, this will involve an arc flash simulator unit that can be used to evaluate the performance of sensors and other parts of the arc flash protection. This may involve energizing part of the circuit or measuring the voltage. Thus, this step may have to be done as part of the next step.

Finally, follow a commissioning and testing standard for the entire installation that applies to your situation and locale.

Learn more about arc flash solutions today, and get our free white paper, “Evaluating the Arc-Flash Protection Benefits of IEC 61850 Communication.”


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