What We’ve Learned about Arc Flash in Data Centers

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What We’ve Learned about Arc Flash in Data Centers

As more data centers emerge around the country, we are presented with more opportunities to learn lessons about arc flash.

“An energy-intensive data center requires multiple high capacity sources to function. When there is a failure, the arc flash energies are also notably greater when compared to small industrial  networks.”

So begins a recently published article (September 24, 2018, Occupational Health & Safety E-news) that highlights several situations in which data centers may find themselves, electrically speaking. Co-authored by three e-Hazard instructors, the article discusses these situations:

  1. data centers with more than one utility supply
  2. frequent upgrade projects due to customer demand
  3. networks unable to activate an instantaneous trip
  4. evaluation of the protection device trip curves
  5. defaulting to using the higher of two (upstream vs. downstream) arc flash incident levels

We give our observations as to an optimal resolution. Be aware that at your work site, situations should be evaluated on a case-by-case basis.

“Undertaking a network protection analysis combined with an arc flash engineering study provides several learning opportunities. Although the specifics cannot be adopted by the general industry, the concepts and principles can be applied generically.

…it is important to understand that every “lesson” cannot be conveyed in a single article. The topics covered in this article were presented in a simplified way geared toward non-specialist readers, and not all considerations were discussed.  These concepts are complex, and it is recommended that professional guidance be sought when specifying technical documents for arc flash studies and network protection design.”

Read the full article in Occupational Health & Safety E-news online.

If you find yourself needing an arc flash study, be sure to check out our services at www.e-hazard.com.

Zarheer Jooma

Zarheer is a contributor to the NFPA 70E, has published several journal transactions, chaired electrical safety standards, and holds a Master Degree in Electrical Engineering. Read more about Zarheer.

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