Arc Flash Analysis: an essential factor for safety

Trace Software International announces that the elec calc™ Arc Flash module has been just released. The company possesses a  unique passion for the design of high-performance software solutions for electrical engineering since 1987.

What is an Arc Flash?

According to the NFPA 70E (the relevant standard from the National Fire Protection Association), Arc Flash is a “dangerous condition associated with the release of energy caused by an electrical arc.”

Arc flash typically occurs when the electrical insulation or isolation between live conductors is severed or can no longer withstand the applied voltage. Near the high power electrical equipment, the short-circuit power available is high and consequently so is the energy associated with the electrical arc in case of a fault.
In Europe, regulation and standardization are mainly aimed at protecting workers against the risks of direct contact during work and interventions on and near electrical installations. The risks in the case of electric arc and the means to prevent them are mentioned but not developed.

In some countries, particularly in North America, these risks are better taken into account for human, material and financial aspects, and regulations are much more stringent in this area.

The effects of the electric arc:

  • The electric arc produces intense light and heat, high noise, high overpressure
  • Heat and splashes of molten metal can cause lethal burns
  • Noise can lead to permanent or temporary hearing loss, a flash of vision disorders
  • The overpressure can open and project the doors of electrical cabinets or cause falls during work at height

In addition to personal injury, an arc flash can result in serious damage to electrical equipment. which can cause disruption to electrical systems in manufacturing and process industry environments or tertiary buildings. The cost of downtime can be considerable.

Risk assessment and arc flash analysis

There is no method of analysis and risk assessment by IEC or European standards. In contrast, the United States has the following documents:

  • NFPA 70E (Standard for Electrical Safety in the Workplace) takes into account all electrical risks including those due to electric arcs recommends PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) to be used depending on the level of risk
  • IEEE 1584-2018 (Guide for Performing Arc-Flash Hazard Calculations) gives the methods to calculate the incident energy in case of electric arc  and allows determining an arc flash protection boundary


The elec calc™ arc flash module by Trace Software International


elec calc™ Arc Flash module

Risk management and prevention have always been important aspects of the safety programs within the electrical industry. The correct assessment of the risk level of the arc flash can help reduce downtime and ensure a safer working environment.
The arc flash module provides the professionals of the electrical industry with a fundamental tool in the sector, as the user will be able to develop its safety analysis in the vicinity of switchboards and panels. By design, elec calc™ has almost all the data allowing the calculation of the figures of the arc flash, from which the user will be able to elaborate his security analysis near the tables and boxes.
From the operating modes described in a project, elec calc™ determines the maximum and minimum three-phase short-circuit currents that can occur on a distributor. It calculates the corresponding cut-off times of the concerned protective devices. Specific data of the equipment can be completed or modified by the user through a simple interface.
The following results are provided according to the calculation methods of the IEEE 1584-2018 guide (empirically derived model or method of Lee depending upon the characteristics of the installation):

  • The maximum incident energy at the working distance
  • The protection boundary for the boundary energy
  • The glove class (PPE) to be used to prevent the risk of electric shock (IEC 60903 and ASTM D 120)

Warning labels

elec calc™  allows the edition of the labels to be affixed on the concerned equipment or the export of the corresponding results to make possible the customization of the labels. The format of the label is consistent with the recommendations of the document NFPA 70E (edition 2018).
In addition, elec calc™ monitors the evolutions of the installation and prevents the obsolescence of previously published labels.
Trace Software International commits itself to conceive software solutions capable of guaranteeing electrical safety and system protection. More than 30 years of experience in the industrial engineering sector has allowed us to guarantee the highest standards of quality and reliability, as well as the complement of local and international regulations in terms of safety.


Want to know more?

Tracesoftware – Empowering electrical solutions.
Check out: Webinars – eShop – Sales – Linkedin

Electrical installations in critical facilities

The Grounding system by Trace Software International

The basics of a grounding system

Electrical safety at work by Trace Software International

Electrical safety at work

There is no doubt that electrical safety is one of the fundamental elements in assessing the quality of jobs. According to ESAW methodology, an accident at work is defined as a discrete occurrence in the course of work which leads to physical or mental harm.

Occupational accidents are common and numerous in the modern society. And, as electricity is an essential factor of modern economies, its use at work is inevitable.  Electricity is a serious workplace hazard as it has enough power to cause death,  so even the simplest electrical system can become dangerous.

Electricity can be defined as the flow of electrons through a conductor.

Resultado de imagen de ley de ohm

R is the resistance of the conductor,

is the potential difference in the circuit at the extremes of the resistance

is the current intensity

Resistance is the tendency of a material to oppose the flow of charge. The current will flow through the easiest possible path (minimum energy principle), which means, as conductor’s resistance increases, the current ability to cross it decreases. Based on their electrical behavior, the materials are subdivided into conductors and insulatorsThe conductors are those materials that allow electric current to flow. On the other hand, materials that prevent the passage of current are insulators.

In the electric field, the overload occurs when the system is crossed by a certain quantity of electrons, which is actually higher of its capacity. This is why, in an electrical circuit, cables need to be sized in order to guarantee a specific flow rate.  Any electric current that exceeds the rating of the circuit leads to an overcurrent.

Electricity is recognized as a serious workplace hazard and failure to comply with the specific regulations can be of fatal consequences. According to Health & Safety Executive, there are four main types of electrical injuries: Electric shockElectrical burnsLoss of muscle controlThermal burns.

However, the electricity has enough power to cause death by electrocution. The Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) notes that most electrical accidents are caused by one of these factors: unsafe equipment or installation, unsafe environment or unsafe work practices.

Trace Software International has been empowering electrical solutions since 1987. This is why the company promotes safe work with electricity and electrical systems.

The proper sizing of cabling is the most important design feature for the reliability, consistency, and safety of the system. elec calc ™ is the CAE software solution dedicated to the sizing of electrical installations, the only one in the world that allows integrating the management of high and low voltage in the same project and in compliance with international standards. In a more and more demanding market, characterized by ultra-competitiveness, the latest software version guarantees excellent results in terms of safety, time and productivity, including flawless installation.

It is easy to get started. You can now learn more about this state-of-the-art software solution and download a free trial version: FREE TRIAL.

Want to know more?
Tracesoftware – Empowering electrical solutions.
Check out: Webinars    eSHOP    Sales  Linkedin