This new certification obtained by PE guarantees personal protection in the event of an internal arcing failure.
An internal arcing failure is defined as a high-power electrical discharge involving two or more conductors. The above testing entails deliberately provoking a short circuit in the busbar of the cell. The resulting discharge produces overheating, which can involve temperatures of up to 20,000°C. The consequences of this include the generation of fumes and incandescent particles, along with an increase in internal pressure, which can lead to damage of mechanical components and, even more seriously, result in grave or even fatal injury to persons in the vicinity.
In the case of the PE cells, any explosion that might be caused by an internal arcing failure is contained by the carefully designed casing, which includes doors and other accesses to the cell. If an explosion should occur, internal pressure and any fumes that might be generated are safely dissipated via a series of internal conduits designed to evacuate them into the atmosphere in a reliable and controlled way. This ensures that there is no risk to bystanders who might be in the vicinity when an internal arcing failure arises. Testing also entails placing a series of flammable objects along a 30 cm perimeter around the cell. If they fail to burn when the explosion occurs, this part of the test is passed.
Classification includes the type of access, the accessible sides so classified and the amperage and duration of the arcing. In our case, we achieved classification for all four sides, access to authorized persons and one of the highest internal arcing currents on the market for products of this type: 31.5 kA.
Testing was carried out in the laboratories of TECNALIA at its headquarters in Zamudio (Bilbao, Spain), which is also home to Spain and Portugal’s biggest power testing laboratory, connected to the 220 kV transmission grid with a power rating of 300 MVA – 1 s. The TECNALIA power testing laboratory is accredited by ENAC with reg. no. 4/LE148, which authorizes it to carry out tests of this type.