Control Panel Standards for International Markets

Count on Siemens as your trusted partner for control panel standards

With 84 national committees, the International Electro-technical Commission (IEC) is the leading standard organization in the electro-technical area. The relevant standards and Directives governing control panels are always being refined through regular updates. With two-thirds of the world under the application of IEC standards and EU directives, it is essential that panel builders in the U.S. understand these standards and changes to remain competitive in international markets. Learn more below about the standards and directives that impact industrial control panels in international markets. Read more about the recent changes to IEC60204-1 in our white paper.

Questions on IEC standards and EU directives for your industrial control panel application? Get in contact with one of our experts.

Industrial Control Panel International IEC Standards

Because of growing uncertainty on the market as to which standard should be considered most important for a machine control panel, the German Commission for Electrical, Electronic and Information Technologies of DIN and VDE (DKE) has published a statement on this subject. Read our white paper on the recent changes to IEC 60204-1.

Various standards have to be observed for the construction of industrial control panels for machinery. IEC 60204-1 is the relevant standard, but it is the manufacturer's responsibility to ensure the electrical safety of the control panel. This is why we recommend that a risk analysis takes place. For the European market, this is even stipulated in the relevant directives. If further risks are identified during the risk analysis that are not covered by IEC 60204-1, then IEC 61439-1/-2 and, if necessary, other standards, may also be consulted as an additional design aid. Our guideline on IEC standards and directives will help you to navigate these standards. Click here to download.

Safety standard IEC 60204-1, “Electrical equipment of machinery – Part 1: General requirements for the electrical equipment of machines” constitutes an important standard for control panels as part of a machine.

The scope of this standard:

  • Applies to the use of electronic equipment and systems for machines

  • Starts at the point of connection to the electrical equipment of the machine

  • Relates to control panels with rated voltages of up to 1,000 V AC or 1,500 V DC

In late 2016, the International Electro-technical Commission published a new version of IEC 60204. It is expected that national standards will be derived from this from late 2017 onward. The new standard has not yet been incorporated in the Official Journal of the European Union.

The new version mainly involved revision or introductions to the following topics:

  • Applications with drive systems

  • EMC, surge protection, short-circuit rating and protective conductor system

  • Control circuits and control functions

  • Symbols for actuators and control devices

  • Requirements for technical documentation

  • National requirements, normative conditions and references to the literature

IEC 61439 is the standard for low-voltage switchgear and control gear assemblies and, following a transitional period, has had sole validity since 2014. Parts 1 and 2 establish safety requirements for power switchgear and control gear assemblies, which may also be of relevance to machine control panels.

Our white papers on the EU directive for risk analysis, changes for power drive systems, short circuit current ratings according to IEC, and other new EU directives will help you navigate the recent changes.

Important European Directives for Industrial Control Panels

EU Directives set forth the product requirements that apply throughout Europe. Products marketed in the European Economic Area must satisfy the protection goals of the applicable directive or directives.

The essential directives governing control panels for machines are the Low Voltage Directive 2014/35/EU and the EMC Directive 2014/30/EU. The directives refer, in turn, to harmonized EN standards, which in most cases are borrowed from the IEC standards.

The CE mark is a legally prescribed label for all products that comply with EU Directives, and is thus essentially a “technical passport” for products within the European Economic Area. The EU declaration of conformity forms the basis for CE labeling of a product: it is the manufacturer’s declaration that the product it is marketing complies with the fundamental health and safety requirements of all relevant European Directives.

The CE mark must be applied directly to the product. If this is not possible on technical grounds, the packaging and/or accompanying documentation (instructions for use, certificate of warranty) may also be used for the CE mark.

Our white papers on the EU directive for risk analysis, changes for power drive systems, short circuit current ratings according to IEC, and other new EU directives will help you navigate the recent changes.

Eight new EU directives came into force
Starting in 2008, EU Directives have been standardized as part of the New Legislative Framework (NLF). On April 20, 2016, the new versions of a total of eight EU Directives were transposed into national legislation of the EU member countries, including the Low Voltage, EMC and ATEX Directives.

The most important changes in the new directives include:

  • Documentation must be available in a language that is understood by local authorities and users

  • Documentation must include a risk analysis and assessment

  • A postal address must be included on the product itself or, if this is not possible, on the packaging or the enclosed documentation.

  • A clear definition of the economic operators and their obligations: manufacturers, authorized representatives, importers, distributors

  • A clear definition of the following activities:
    - Making a product available to the market
    - Marketing
    - Conformity assessments
    - Withdrawal from sale
    - Recall

The Low Voltage Directive stipulates the following safety objectives:

General conditions:

  • The essential characteristics for safe use must be specified.

  • Electrical equipment shall be made in such a way as to ensure it can be safely and properly assembled and connected.

  • Electrical equipment shall be designed and manufactured as to ensure that protection is assured against the hazards listed. Definition of one stipulation for equipment maintenance is permitted.

Protection against hazards arising from the electrical equipment:

  • Persons and domestic animals are adequately protected against the danger of physical injury or other harm that might be caused by direct or indirect contact

  • Temperatures, arcs or radiation that would cause a danger are not produced

  • Persons, domestic animals and property are adequately protected against non-electrical dangers caused by the electrical equipment which are revealed by experience

  • The insulation is suitable for foreseeable conditions

Protection against hazards which may be caused by external influences on the electrical equipment:

  • Meets the expected mechanical requirements in such a way that persons, domestic animals and property are not endangered

  • Is resistant to non-mechanical influences in expected environmental conditions, in such a way that persons, domestic animals and property are not endangered

  • Does not endanger persons, domestic animals and property in foreseeable conditions of overload.

  • The scope of application was extended to include domestic animals and objects. It also covers other hazards (mechanical, chemical; noise, etc.)

Effectively apply international standards and directives with Siemens as your trusted partner

At Siemens, we are here to ensure you have what it takes to compete in international markets. With two-thirds of the world adhering to IEC standards, it is essential that you have the know-how and tools to compete in an efficient and cost-competitive way. With our tools and data for digitalization, you can significantly reduce your engineering time. For example, the TIA Selection Tool can be used to quickly configure and select components for your bill of materials. The CAx Download Manager can then be used to select all the needed data types in just a few clicks.  And, with Siemens, you can be sure our aligned product portfolio meets all international requirements.