UL Solutions by Bihl+Wiedemann
USA and Canada – a Specific Market
North American equipment manufacturers who make products for the domestic market must comply with local regulations that are fundamentally different from European IEC standards. The same applies, of course, to manufacturers from other countries who wish to export equipment to this market. In practice, it is essential that the equipment is UL-certified. Special care must often be taken to comply with the power limitation associated with NEC Class 2/limited energy circuit.
Bihl+Wiedemann’s advanced ASi solutions consisting of ASi-5/ASi-3 gateways and 30 V power supplies are all UL-certified. Further, we offer special NEC Class 2 power supplies and UL-certified power limitation modules which also satisfy NEC Class 2 requirements on limited energy circuits.
UL Certification & 100 W Power Limit
Anyone exporting electrical products to North America, or manufacturing them there for the domestic market, must comply with the rules set out in the NEC, among others. For instance, conformity with the safety regulations of the USA and Canada is confirmed by the UL test mark issued by the “Underwriter Laboratories” testing laboratory. References to UL standards are found in the U.S. National Electrical Code (NEC). Many components, such as typical sensors, are certified as Class 2 only, which means that their power supply must not exceed 100 W. This limitation to 100 W must be tested and certified by UL (or a comparable body) in accordance with the standards. Three options are equally available for this purpose:
- Limited energy circuit according to UL/CSA 61010-2-201
- Limited Power Source according to UL/CSA 60950-1
- Class 2 supply source according to NEC, NFPA 70, Clause 725.121 and CEC, Part I, C22.1.
What Does This Imply for the ASi Installation?
Since ASi-connected sensors are mostly only permitted for use in NEC Class 2 circuits (limited energy circuits), care must be taken to ensure that the power limitation is maintained in accordance with the standard. Bihl+Wiedemann offers two options for this: Either a separate NEC Class 2-certified power supply for each ASi circuit or a heavy-duty power supply in combination with a UL-certified power limitation module (see setup recommendations). Our power limitation module was specially developed for ASi-5/ASi-3. An important aspect, which had special attention during the development, was to make sure that communication on ASi would not be negatively affected by the power limitation module.
Compliance With Standards
All ASi-5/ASi-3 gateways are either UL-certified or are in the process of being so. To comply with the 100 W limitation for each ASi circuit in a UL-compliant manner, it is possible to use either the 2-channel power limitation module (BWU4189) or the NEC Class 2 power supply (BW4223). Both are also UL-certified and ensure that ASi-3 and ASi-5 communications continue to function properly.
The 30 V power supplies are less costly than previous ASi power supplies – mainly because data decoupling is now integrated as standard in our ASi-5/ASi-3 gateways. This means that a separate decoupling is automatically available for each ASi circuit and one power supply unit can simultaneously supply several ASi circuits. This also means that you don't have to use separate circuit breakers for each ASi circuit.
Further the power supplies are also more compact compared to special ASi power supplies, as they no longer contain decoupling coils. They can be connected side-by-side, which means that they do not require any free space on the left and right. This frees up additional valuable space in the control cabinet.
- 30 V power supply is limited to 100 W, UL-certified, NEC Class 2
- No power limitation module necessary
- Simple setup for small applications
- A total of 100 W is available for the ASi nodes
More than 1 ASi circuit is required and a separate 100 W power supply is to be used for each ASi circuit. Then it is recommended to use a gateway with 2 ASi circuits and integrated decoupling optimized for 2 limited energy circuits.
- 2 × 30 V power supplies are each limited to 100 W, UL-certified, limited energy circuit
- Setup without power limitation module
- Gateways optimized for 2 × UL-compliant ASi circuits limited to 100 W. Available for different fieldbuses (EtherNet/IP, BWU3947, PROFINET, BWU3830)
- A total of 200 W is available for the ASi nodes
A common power supply is to be used for 2 ASi circuits (double master). In that case, to create a UL-compliant 100 W limited ASi circuit, it is recommended to use the power limitation module. One advantage of this variant is flexibility: Machines can be built the same way as usual and for the North American market one simply adds the power limitation module. In addition, the power limitation module enables the implementation of large applications with increased current requirements from ASi (see the final setup recommendation).
- ASi-5/ASi-3 gateway is not limited to 100 W according to UL
- A low cost 30 V 8 A power supply (optional BW4219: 1-phase or BW4220: 3-phase) for both ASi circuits
- Limited energy circuit limitation achievable with the power limitation module (BWU4189): 2 channels in one IP20 housing for 2 separate ASi circuits
- A total of 200 W is available for the ASi nodes
If a total of 200 W is not sufficient to supply the ASi nodes, it is possible to use one power limitation module per ASi circuit. Thus, the two ASi circuits can each be split into two separate 100 W sections. Up to a total of 400 W is then available for the ASi nodes of the two ASi circuits.
- ASi-5/ASi-3 gateway with 2 × 8 A decoupling is not limited to 100 W according to UL
- A low cost 30 V 16 A power supply (optional BW4221: 1-phase or BW4222: 3-phase) for both ASi circuits
- Limited energy circuit limitation achievable with 2 power limitation modules (BWU4189): 2 channels in one IP20 housing for 2 sub-circuits of one ASi circuit
- A total of 400 W is available for the ASi nodes
No, unlike CE marking, UL certification is not mandated by any law. However, in North America, all electrotechnical products must be approved. For example, the legal basis for the USA is in the National Electric Code (NEC), and for Canada in the Canadian Electric Code (CEC). Due to the federal system of both countries, different versions of the NEC or CEC need to be followed in individual regions. UL stands for Underwriters Laboratories which are the testing laboratories of insurance companies. The standards to which UL conducts the testing are based on national standards.
The acceptance of the equipment is usually carried out by an AHJ (authority having jurisdiction). It verifies the compliance with the essential product requirements on site – by inspecting the product and taking into account the technical documentation supplied. It issues the operating permit to the operator if this acceptance is positive. The UL mark allows to conduct a simplified acceptance procedure which represents a competitive advantage.
UL is authorized to certify according to both U.S. (NEC) and Canadian (CEC) safety regulations. This is represented by the respective UL mark. The C-UL-US or C-UR-US mark may be substituted for certification by the CSA testing laboratory for Canada. Conversely, CSA can also confirm approval according to UL standards.
Whether a power limitation module is required depends on the respective target market. It is required for the North American market, but not outside. This means that European manufacturers can simply add it to their products if they want to export them to North America. Conversely, U.S. and Canadian manufacturers can omit the power limitation module when exporting their equipment elsewhere.
Bihl+Wiedemann’s power limitation module was specially developed for ASi-5/ASi-3. During development, we took particular care on ensuring that communication on ASi was not negatively affected by the power limitation module.