Forms of Separation
This blog will attempt to help you understand form type specification in Electrical Distribution Panels. The principle reason for separating an assembly is to facilitate access to a part of the assembly whilst other parts may remain energised and in service. Whilst, in general separation does not improve the electrical performance of the assembly it does provide:
- Protection against contact with live parts belonging to adjacent functional units
- Protection against the passage of solid foreign bodies from one unit of an assembly to an adjacent unit.
What do you need to consider when specifying form type of a panel board?
First, you need to consider the repercussions of isolating the entire assembly (will this affect business, safety or security?). You will have to consider what tasks are likely to be carried out during the life of the assembly, and the competence of the person that will execute work. All low voltage panels we produce are to meet certain criteria within the guide to forms of separation. Most of our configurations are required to meet the criteria for at least Form 4. The minimum requirement for a Form 4 configuration is the separation of the busbar from functional units (Incoming/ Outgoing Devices) and separation of all functional units from each other including their terminals.
What is the right form type for my panel?
There are 7 subdivisions to Form 4 depending on how the busbar is separated from the functional units and where the cables are glanded. The highest form of separation is Form 4 Type 7. In this configuration, all separation requirements are by rigid barriers and the termination for each functional unit has its own integral glanding facility. Form 4 Type 7 is the most expensive option available and will consume the most space, but it does provide the highest level of safety. Additionally, it means part of the LV panel board can be accessed and worked on while the rest of the panel board remains live. This provides for the least amount of disruption to power when maintenance works are ongoing, an essential trait for a switchboard that is supplying a hospital, security facility or business.
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