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Highlighting the issue of circuit protection safety

Schneider Electric is urging all installers to take a closer look at the quality and safety of their chosen circuit protection devices…

Reports of product recalls taking place, due to substandard products reaching distribution channels and unknowingly being installed by electricians and contractors, have highlighted the need to ensure circuit protection safety. Schneider Electric is urging electrical contractors not to compromise on quality.

Despite stringent standards, such as BS EN 60898 surrounding the testing of devices such as Miniature Circuit Breakers (MCBs), which are integral to the safety of an electrical circuit, different manufacturing methods can still lead to substantial differences in quality.

For example, products that are machine built on automated production lines ensure consistency, with the same build quality from one batch to another. This is because machine building relies on precise specification for each component that goes into making a device, such as an MCB. If something is mis-aligned or doesn’t fit, then it is simply discarded from the process.

However, with hand built products, the same cannot always be said. This is because devices that might not correctly align together can be manually forced into position, which can lead to problems further down the line when the component is installed. In addition, human error - such as forgetting to fit a part - is possible.

For electricians and contractors installing new MCBs, it is important to consider where and how the products are manufactured . Paul Martin, product manager at Schneider Electric told us: "At the end of the day, it’s not only the manufacturer’s reputation on the line if a problem occurs, it is also the installers. We are therefore urging electricians and contractors not to take risks when it comes to circuit protection devices. If you’re in doubt as to whether the product you’re purchasing is up to the job, then start by looking at trusted, established brands in the market. Also check that the manufacturer actually produces their own products rather than outsourcing, as they will have more control over build quality. This information can be found out by speaking directly to the manufacturer or take a look at their website."

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