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More funding boosts global arc flash study

By COS staff

A multi-year project on arc flash research recently got aboost with a US$500,000 sponsorship contribution from Schneider Electric, addingmore resources to the estimated US$6.5 million joint research initiative by theInstitute of Electronics and Electrical Engineers (IEEE) and the National FireProtection Association (NFPA).

Schneider Electric’s North American Operating Division,based in Palatine, Ill., made the half-a-million-dollar donation to the ArcFlash Collaborative Research Project in a bid to help improve electricalstandards and protect worker safety, according to Jim Pauley, SchneiderElectric’s vice-president for industry and government relations.

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

“We believe this project will produce the data necessary tofurther our understanding of the arc flash phenomena, which will help us designsafer components and provide better guidelines for safely maintainingelectrical equipment,” Pauley said in a statement.

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

The collaborative research initiative by the IEEE and NFPAwas designed to better define arc flash hazards and provide information toimprove electrical safety standards, predict hazards associated with archingfaults and accompanying arc blasts, and provide employees with practicalsafeguards in the workplace.

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