Machine and Process Management

Innovations in smart motor control provide for optimal SCCR

An engineer working on a data center

As an original equipment manufacturer (OEM), you’re tasked with building capabilities to accommodate more power and capacity for industrial operations while using less energy and space. It’s a common conundrum. Increasingly, customers are asking for control and electrical panels built to a higher short circuit current rating (SCCR). The end goal is to create a safer environment while increasing power and efficiency.

Across many industries, your customers are seeking more compact and configurable panels to provide flexibility for:

  • Installation in tight areas
  • Using valuable space on other control system features
  • Code compliance
  • Accommodating SCCR ranging up to 65 kA

Industrial control panel manufacturers design custom products for thousands of applications. However, electrical codes and standards often have different requirements which can create challenges for you and your customers who haven’t established SCCR requirements. This can result in added costs, increased inspections, and delays.

​​Awareness is increasing for SCCR thanks to education efforts. In fact, the National Electrical Manufacturers Association (NEMA) has created an Industrial Control Panel Council to promote the proper installation, provide guidance and recommendations for various jurisdictions, advocate for standards, and reduce design challenges.

Properly rated components are key to an optimal SCCR.

Panel builders are often limited by the lowest component SCCR in the panel, which includes power circuit components (such as motor controls, overload relays, fuses, and circuit breakers) and the primary side circuit protection device of the control circuit transformer.

OEMs and panel builders of equipment for other industries can also benefit from a similar strategy, even if a common SCCR requirement has not yet been established. By designing panels to 65 kA as the standard SCCR baseline, no engineering changes are needed when a customer wants a 65 kA-rated panel. However, in cases where a lower panel SCCR is requested, engineers then have the option to substitute using components with a lower SCCR or interrupt rating that may save material costs and increase profit on a project. As most engineers will attest, it is much more difficult to increase the panel SCCR than it is to lower it.

The key to success for this strategy is aligning with a product manufacturer that has a comprehensive range of products that can meet a variety of SCCR needs. Consider the impact of a new generation of motor starters and upgraded circuit breakers by Schneider Electric™ to meet these demands for optimal SCCR. The motor control innovations not only meet the demand for safety and additional design capabilities, but they also create more digitization opportunities that allow motor management to be integrated into asset management. This is a competitive advantage for your customers as they obtain panels with high SCCR, offering more flexibility for design and the ability to offer advanced services and analytic tools.

OEMs increasingly turn to circuit breakers over fuses to achieve higher SCCR.

Having good ratings on contactors, overloads, and distribution blocks also provides more flexibility to OEMs to use circuit breakers versus fuses in control panels and still achieve high SCCR. It is not unusual to find components that have a 100 kA SCCR with fuses, but fuses are often less preferred over breakers. Thanks to innovations in technology, components are realizing a better SCCR level with more circuit-protection options. For panels with high SCCR, design engineers have more freedom to choose the circuit protection they prefer.

The benefits of using circuit breakers instead of fuses include:

  • When a fuse trips it must be replaced. With circuit breakers, power can be quickly restored, minimizing downtime.
  • The lifetime cost of using circuit breakers is less than fuses.
  • Distribution blocks by Schneider Electric have up to 65 kA SCCR with circuit breakers, which meets most industry requirements.
  • Power distribution lugs by Schneider Electric mounted to the breaker help achieve higher SCCR ratings.
Electrician Engineer Team having discussing prevention plan of electricity supply interruption at power substation of factory.

Innovations in power control are driving efficiency and options for SCCR.

The new TeSys™ Deca and Giga series motor starters from Schneider Electric have improved ratings, which provide you with more versatility for SCCR, while working in many configurations. The starters and circuit breakers have been reimagined to reduce engineering time and complexity, while improving machine reliability and driving down maintenance costs. The TeSys Deca series offers market-leading SCCR solutions such as Type F combinations up to 100 kA 480 Y, as well as 85 kA 480 V contactors 9 – 38 A and 100 kA 480 V contactors 40 – 150 A. The TeSys Giga starters, when paired with circuit breakers, protect larger motors to 100 kA at 480 V, well above the industry common upper specification of 65 kA at 480 V.

PowerPacT™ molded case circuit breakers have offers ranging from 18 – 200 kA at 480 V. Recent enhancements to the entire line of circuit breakers have resulted in improved troubleshooting and operations.

The SCCR is of primary concern to your customers given its importance in safety and compliance. The TeSys and PowerPacT upgrades not only enhance SCCR design, but also bring full-scale protection. Configurable settings guarantee your customers a safe journey when it comes to overload relay protection, including overload protection, ground fault protection, and phase imbalance protection. But improving SCCR from a safety perspective does not prevent other innovations. The upgrades offer more versatility and design capabilities.

Design optimization is a competitive advantage for OEMs.

Design optimization in motor controls allows your customers to be able to do more with less. OEM customers are looking for increased flexibility to meet the growing demand for electrical power and for products that are easy to install. A modular design with more options, such as wide voltage range coils for contactors and wide full-load amps (FLA)-ranged overload relays with configurable protection selections, can enable a significantly higher degree of field application with the benefit of reducing inventory part numbers.

These innovations can also reduce costs while accommodating higher SCCR. The TeSys Giga contactors with a programmable logic controller (PLC) input will allow a reduction in the size of the power supply or transformer, which can be quite large for high horsepower contactors.

You also may be able to achieve a higher SCCR, save on costs, and reduce installation time by having fewer components. Schneider Electric’s line of Power Distribution Connectors can be used for multiple load connections on one circuit breaker. This option can be used in place of distribution blocks to save time and space while still ensuring a high SCCR. These connectors have configurations for three, six, and 12 conductors.

Learn how to grow your digital offerings to customers.

The TeSys and PowerPacT upgrades help your customers do more than advertise a strong SCCR on their box. Options exist that enable data from asynchronous motors and loads to be properly incorporated into modern asset management strategies. They also help your customers evolve and grow their ability to offer digital technology and services for motor control management.

These upgrades deliver even more value through:

  • Agile management and process efficiency
  • More information for operators
  • Asset performance management
  • Reliability and energy efficiency

As a single-source supplier, Schneider Electric provides 99% of the electrical components you need to easily and efficiently complete your offer. Delivering the ratings and integration from a trusted brand. See how Schneider Electric can help you.

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