Arc Fault Detection & Arc Fault Protection

ARC Fault

The requirements for arc fault protection devices are set out in product standards such as IEC62606 and UL1699.

In IEC62606, such devices are referred to as Arc Fault Detection Devices – AFDDs, or AFDs, and in UL1699 they are referred to as Arc Fault Current Interrupters – AFCIs.

Arcing is a normal phenomenon in terms of electrical installations. Each time we open and close a switch we generate an arc. Such arcing is transient in nature and perfectly normal and safe.

However, when there is a fault present, possibly a broken or intermittent connection for example, it can trigger what is known as persistent arcing and this can be dangerous and may cause electrical fires. Ignition and fire can result under conditions of persistent arcing and gasses can build up in confined spaces and increase the risk of fire or explosion.

Arc fault protection is hugely important and far more complex to detect than shock protection and residual fault current detection. Arc fault detection requires a very specific technology, and only a few companies around the globe have managed to successfully develop this technology. Western Automation is one of the few independent providers of this technology to OEM companies world-wide and has considerable expertise in this important area.

Our technology ensures that normal arcing is ignored by the detector which as a result reduces nuisance tripping. It focuses solely on detecting genuine arc faults and thereby reducing the risk of electrical fire.

The progression from shock protection to arc fault protection is a natural one and they are both complementary to each other. RCDs and Arc Fault Detectors go hand in hand in every electrical installation worldwide, reducing the risks associated with electric shock and electrical fire.

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