Beyond the Concept: UL 508A Components Selection Considerations

Donavan Moore, the Electrical Design Department Manager at Concept Systems, educated host Tyler Kern on the considerations and selection process for UL 508A components.

UL 508A is the standard for the construction of industrial control panels with the first edition coming out in 2001. “It’s been the go-to standard for industrial control panel design,” Moore said. “They come up with safety and quality standards regarding components and component selections and usage.”

Control panel configurations are another standard set by UL 508A. “It defines ways to size wire, circuit protection, and makes sure that motors and stuff like that have the overloads that they need to be safe,” Moore said.

Moore noted that there sometimes is confusion between components that are UL listed vs. components that are UL recognized. “If you’ve got a component that is UL listed, you can pretty much use that without many restrictions in your cabinet,” Moore said. “If you’ve got UL recognized components, the first thing is you can’t use all UL recognized components. But the other thing that happens too is there’s sometimes caveats to their usage.” Bottom line: Moore recommended that people research before installing a UL-recognized component to ensure safe and proper usage.

So how does one determine whether a particular UL 508A cabinet design should use UL listed or UL recognized components? Moore said he goes to the manufacturer, looks up UL file numbers, and goes to the UL website to plug in the file information and get a component category code. “That category code tells us what standards that part was tested to, and then the UL 508A standard itself has a chart in there that can tell us how those items are supposed to be used,” Moore said.

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