More funding boosts global arc flash study

A multi-year project on arc flash research recently got a boost with a US$500,000 sponsorship contribution from Schneider Electric, adding more resources to the estimated US$6.5 million joint research initiative by the Institute of Electronics and Electrical Engineers (IEEE) and the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA).
Schneider Electric’s North American Operating Division, based in Palatine, Ill., made the half-a-million-dollar donation to the Arc Flash Collaborative Research Project in a bid to help improve electrical standards and protect worker safety, according to Jim Pauley, Schneider Electric’s vice-president for industry and government relations.

An arc flash is an electric current that is passed through air when insulation or isolation between electrified conductors is no longer sufficient to withstand the applied voltage. The flash is immediate and can cause severe injury. Every year, burn centres are treating more than 2,000 cases of extended injuries among workers caused by arc flash, according to IEEE research.

“We believe this project will produce the data necessary to further our understanding of the arc flash phenomena, which will help us design safer components and provide better guidelines for safely maintaining electrical equipment,” Pauley said in a statement.

Sue Vogel, director of technical committee programs for the IEEE Standards Association, welcomed the contribution saying it will “help speed the work of this project and ensure a solution that will help save lives.”

The collaborative research initiative by the IEEE and NFPA was designed to better define arc flash hazards and provide information to improve electrical safety standards, predict hazards associated with arching faults and accompanying arc blasts, and provide employees with practical safeguards in the workplace.