Underwriters Laboratories Inc. and Panelboards for Data Centers

Over time, panelboards have changed from a simple housing that is an assembly of fuses, switches and circuit breakers to the utilization of supporting a variety of different complex electrical equipment. Today’s panelboard designs support a variety of electrical supply systems with over current protections for many short-circuit capabilities, resulting in a complex marking system.

Underwriter Laboratories Inc. plays an important role in the development of many types of electrical equipment, including panelboards for data centers. In an effort to support those who are charged with specifying, installing and maintaining panelboards, earlier this year, the UL team developed a “panelboard Marking Guide” for electrical inspectors, electric utilities, contractors, installers, users, designers, and others who need to understand panelboard use in a variety of different applications.

Underwriters Laboratories

The Underwriters Laboratories (UL) is a global independent not-for-profit product testing and certification organization. Established in 1894, UL develops standards and test procedures for products, materials, components, assemblies, tools, and equipment, specifically related to product safety. UL also evaluates and certifies the efficiency of a company’s business processes through its management systems and its registration process. Their five strategic businesses include product safety, environment, life and health, and university and verification services.

Earlier in 2011, UL developed the “panelboard Marking Guide” to help those associated with panelboard maintenance, installation, and inspection and better understand all that has changed with panelboard installation, use, and maintenance. It is important to note that the panelboard information provided within the guide should be installed in accordance with the National Electric Code (NEC), as required by UL 67.

Panelboards for Data Centers

Within a data center, you can find a variety of different types of equipment. From phone systems to server racks, all equipment must work through a safe electrical system, which includes the proper use of panelboards for data centers. Any power or IT professional should utilize the Guide from UL in order to ensure all equipment is installed according to the specifications within the guide and NEC, UL 67.

UL defines a panelboard as “a single panel or a group of panel units designed for assembly in the form of a single panel which includes buses, automatic over current devices, and may be equipped with switches for the control of light, heat, or power circuits; designed to be place in a cabinet or box placed in or against a wall or partition and accessible only from the front.” When it comes to panelboards for data centers, the biggest concerns today are related to heat and over current.

The equipment utilized in server rooms today generates massive amounts of heat, especially when used in a high density configuration. They also require massive amounts of power. By specifying and installing appropriate panelboards for data centers, equipment will run much more safely and efficiently.