Electrical Engineering

Protection Classes, Types of Electrical Protection, Protection areas

All important information on the subject of protection during electrical installation

Good protection, safe installation and long-term operational safety are the be-all and end-all in electrical installation. The IP protection classes, protection classes for electrical engineering and protection areas for the bathroom are standardized for all installations throughout Germany. But what does IP 44, protection class II or protection zone 0 mean? We will answer these and all other important questions on the subject of protection in electrical engineering in this article.

  • Safe in and around the house – protection classes for lights and electrical devices
  • Which devices are double insulated?
  • Two numbers that say it all – IP degrees of protection
  • In the open air: IP protection classes for outdoor use
  • Electricity and water don’t mix: electrical safety areas in the bathroom

Due to the high demand, we have updated this article and added the question “Which devices are double insulated?”.

Safe in and around the house – protection classes for lights and electrical devices

The protection class designates the security measures that are built into an electrical device or component to protect it and its users against electrical accidents such as electric shocks. There are a total of four protection classes that were defined in DIN VDE 0140-1. This subdivision is important to define a general security standard. It also allows you to see how secure a device is at a glance, without a lengthy investigation.
Protection class 0 – not permitted
Protection class 0 designates devices and electrical components which, in addition to their own insulation, have no protection against electrical accidents and cannot be connected to a protective conductor (see below). Devices with this protection class are not approved for use in Germany, the EU and numerous other countries due to their insecurity. So always pay attention to the protection class if a device is suspiciously cheap – the black zero is only good for accounting.
Protection class I – protection by grounding
In the case of devices with protection class I, all conductive elements of the housing are connected to a protective conductor. This ensures that the device is grounded so that the current is safely discharged in the event of a power accident or a voltage spike and prevents potentially dangerous voltages when the device is touched. Grounding is via a plug or cable. Protection class, I am marked with the symbol for grounding.
Protection class II – double insulation holds better
Devices and installations with protection class II are usually not connected to the protective conductor for technical reasons. In order to still ensure operational and installation safety, they are provided with reinforced or double insulation. The protection class II symbol shows two nested squares.
Note: If the connection cable of the device is provided with a protective conductor, this must not be connected to the housing. Caution is advised because the housing can also conduct electricity.
Protection class III – protection for batteries and rechargeable batteries in everyday life
Protection class III designates electrical elements that work with their own safety extra-low voltage. That means they have a touch current, but it’s harmless to adult humans. Of course, the old mnemonic applies to children: knife, fork, scissors, light… These are not for small children. The same applies all the more to electricity. Due to this special feature, these devices may only be connected to power sources that are approved for safety extra-low voltage or protective extra-low voltage (SELV/PELV).
These are usually batteries, rechargeable batteries or safety transformers. Many Class III devices have additional reinforced or double insulation between the low voltage parts and the main connection. The protection class III symbol shows a Roman numeral 3 in a rhombus.

Which devices are double insulated?

In principle, electrical devices have what is known as basic insulation. In the case of devices with protective insulation, additional insulation is carried out for the protective insulation.
Even if the electrical device is live, you are protected by this protective insulation in the event of contact. The protectively insulated device appears to be completely insulated from the outside.
Devices with protective insulation are devices of protection class II. Devices marked with the symbol of protection class II are protectively insulated.
Devices in protection class II are safer to use than those in protection class I, which is why many domestic electrical appliances have protection class II.
What does the double square mean?
The double square is the symbol for devices of protection class II. It is a square with a second, smaller square inside.
The two squares symbolize the double insulation of the protectively insulated devices. Devices of protection class II or devices with protective insulation are products that have a 2-pin plug and therefore, in contrast to 3-pin plugs, cannot be connected to the protective conductor.
Note: Please note that double-insulated devices are not automatically waterproof. The IP protection class reveals how well a device is protected against water.

Two numbers that say it all – IP degrees of protection

Modern technology can do a lot, but wind, weather and water still don’t get along with electrical devices. While the protection class designates the protection for users of a component, the IP protection class primarily provides information about how the electrical device itself is protected against various environmental influences.
Many devices and components, especially outdoors and in industry, are exposed to difficult environmental conditions and must be able to work safely for a long time (years or even decades). But it does not have to be an industrial company, many of these problems can also be found in the home garden or in the hobby room.

  • These harmful environmental influences include:
  • Moisture, spray and splash water
  • fumes
  • Corrosive substances such as acids or alkalis
  • Pollution (e.g. from oil in the workshop)
  • dust and fine dust

In addition, all electronic and electrical devices have a minimum and maximum allowable operating temperature. This is especially important on the terrace or in the garden – too much sun or a cold winter night is just as uncomfortable for electronic devices as they are for us.

Types of Electrical Protection Valid worldwide, safe for your home

With these types of protection, the abbreviation IP stands for “International Protection”, since the protection standards for devices are internationally standardized – good to know if you are buying devices from a foreign manufacturer. Of course, in the best German tradition, there is also a local version of this standard, namely DIN VDE 0470-1.
The IP code usually consists of two code numbers

. The first digit designates the protection against foreign objects and contact and ranges from 0 to 6:
0 – no protection against foreign bodies or contact
1 – protection against foreign bodies larger than 50 mm in diameter, protection against access with the back of the hand
2 – protection against foreign bodies larger than 12.5 mm in diameter, protection against access with a finger
3 – protection against Foreign objects with a diameter of more than 2.5 mm, such as needle-nose pliers or knife points, protection against access with a tool
4 – Protection against objects with a diameter of more than 1 mm, such as nails or large needles, protection against access with a wire
5 – Protection against dust in relevant Quantity and full protection against contact recommended for industrial and workshop work
6 – Full protection against all dust and contact
The second digit stands for protection against the effects of water. It ranges from 0 to 9:

no protection
1 – protection against dripping water
2 – protection against falling dripping water when tilted
3 – protection against falling spray water when tilted
4 – protection against splashing water
5 – protection against jets of water from a nozzle, for example in car washes
6 – protection against powerful jets of water
7 – protection against temporary submersion, but not at greater depths
8 – protection against permanent submersion, for example in pools or ponds
9 – protection against water from steam or high-pressure cleaners, especially suitable for agricultural operations
Below are some examples of the most common types of protection

IP 44: safe for terrace and balcony

Philips LED wall light
Philips LED wall light

A device, machine or component with protection class IP 44 is protected against the ingress of solid objects with a diameter of up to 1 mm and access with a wire (first digit, protection class 4).
In addition, the device is sealed from all sides against splashing water at normal pressure (second digit, protection class 4). An example of devices with this degree of protection are wall lights for outdoor installations (see below), which have to be rainproof to a limited extent.

IP 54: dustproof for workshop and garden

An electrical operating part with protection class IP 54 is sealed against large amounts of dust and safe from contact (see above). In addition, it is also protected against splashing water. This is particularly common in sensitive electronic systems where dust can cause short circuits

IP 66: first-class for the bathroom

The protection class IP 66 is recommended for private users, especially for installations in the bathroom, as the current-carrying parts are fully protected against contact, dust and strong jets of water, for example from the shower. This also guarantees operational safety if you slip with the shower. Switch cabinets in the industrial sector should also have this type of protection.

In the open air: IP protection classes for outdoor use

From light sources to transformers, outdoor electrical and electronic devices are subject to particular loads. Rain, temperature swings, and wind-blown dust are everyday hazards that these devices should be able to fend off with ease.

Dust- and access-safe outdoors

In principle, at least IP protection class 44 is recommended for outdoor use. In this way, you prevent larger dust particles or insects from penetrating the device, even when installed close to the ground. However, sensitive or highly conductive components should have the first digit 5 ​​or 6. Even small amounts of damp dust can cause major operational disruptions. In addition, this degree of protection ensures that children or pets cannot accidentally come into contact with live cables.

From the entrance to the pond: water protection for the outdoor area

Lights and electrical devices that are installed outside the house under a canopy should at least correspond to protection class IP X4. A covered porch or carport offers some protection, but anyone who has ever stood in the rain in windy weather knows that water can sometimes come from the most unlikely of angles.
To be on the safe side, devices and components that are completely outdoors should either be additionally protected or have a slightly higher second code number of the protection class. This corresponds approximately to protection class X5. A small roof or other rain protection also offers good protection.
Workshops with outdoor facilities should use equipment with IP protection class X5 or higher if spray and splash water can occur. This includes, for example, devices that are used for car cleaning. The water belongs in the car, not in the compressor.

Wibre underwater spotlight Types of Electrical Protection
Wibre underwater spotlight

Devices for installation in wet systems such as pools or garden ponds must have protection class 48 or 58 because they work submerged. This includes, for example, pumps or lamps installed in the pool. In the case of deeper systems, it is important to note that the IP code does not provide any information on pressure security.
Therefore, before you buy, check how deep your water system is and whether the equipment is suitable for the water pressure at this depth. If you can dive into your pool, the device must also be able to handle it.

Electricity and water don’t mix: electrical safety areas in the bathroom

Special requirements apply to electrical devices and systems within the wet cell. If a room contains a shower or a bathtub, DIN VDE 100-701 must be observed, since steam, splashing water and a generally higher level of humidity pose particular risks during operation. Therefore, devices used here should have IP classification 3 or higher, depending on the protection area. Unfortunately, the protection class doesn’t help when the cell phone or tablet takes a bath.

Protection zone 0 – in the tub

Protection zone 0 designates the direct interior area of ​​the shower or bathtub. Here, installations such as sockets are logically forbidden, since by definition they cannot be watertight. Luminaires must have at least IP protection class 7 or 8 since they work temporarily or completely submerged. Cosy bath lighting can become very uncomfortable if it enriches the bubble bath with electric shocks. In addition, all devices must have a safe extra-low voltage of fewer than 12 volts. If the shower is installed at ground level, this does not count as protection area 0, but in a radius of 120 cm as protection area 1.\

Protection zone 1 – above the tub

Protection zone 1 for the bathroom includes areas and rooms above the tub or shower up to a height of 225 cm above the floor. In order to safely avoid electrical accidents caused by jets of water from the shower, all electrical installations here must at least meet the requirements of IP protection class 5. No sockets or switches may be installed because water can get into the pipes through cracks and openings.

Safeguard 2 – How washing machines REALLY live longer

Protection area 2 is also measured up to a height of 225 cm or up to the height of the highest water outlet. The lateral extent of this protected area is slightly larger than that of protection area 1. No sockets are permitted here either. Permanently installed lights or the washing machine can be used in this area, provided that the washing machine’s power connection is also within protection areas 0-2.
When building a house or renovating, cables for lights may also be laid here. Switches are only permitted in protection area 2 if they are installed in the lights and do not reduce the IP protection class. Touch sensors are always safer than switches and still have a sleek, futuristic touch.

Protection area 3 – the rest

Depending on the size of the bathroom, protection area 3 includes the entire remaining room or a defined area. Sockets and switches may be installed in this area under certain conditions. In addition, they must be equipped with a type F1 protective device to ensure operational safety. Extension cords and junction boxes can be used here without any problems, but always pay attention to the layout of your bathroom.
Separate devices such as lights in the bathroom cabinet are a special case. In principle, these may also have a lower IP classification because they are protected by the cabinet itself.

Electrical Installation in the House

Electrical installation house: planning the house electrical installation – basics, regulations and doing the house electrical installation yourself – everything you always wanted to know about the electrical installation in the house.

Electrical installation in the house: basics, planning, regulations and can you do the house electrical installation yourself?

A house without electricity? Inconceivably! Nowadays we use electrically powered devices and machines 24/7 without even realizing it. To ensure that the electrical supply for the respective devices is also guaranteed within your own four walls, the electrical installation in the house must be well thought out. Do you want to build or modernize? Do certain regulations for the electrical installation then have to be observed? What should be considered when planning the house electrical installation and can you do the house electrical installation yourself? Read on and get an overview of electrical installation in the house!

  • What does the term electrical installation in the house include?
  • Electrical installation House regulations: which standards must be observed for the electrical installation in the house?
  • How does a central home electrical installation differ from a decentralized one?
  • Which types of laying are used for the electrical installation in the house?
  • Which measures help to ensure efficient operation of the electrical systems in the house?
  • What points should be considered when planning a successful home electrical installation?
  • What are the dangers of an electrical installation?
  • Can you do the home electrical installation yourself?
  • Checklist: Which tools do you need for the electrical installation?

Due to the high demand, we have updated this article and added the questions “Checklist: Which tools do you need for the electrical installation?” and “What are the dangers of an electrical installation?”.

What does the term electrical installation in the house include?

An elementary part of every house electrical installation: Sockets - they must be professionally installed and connected.
electrical Socket

The fact that you don’t have to gather around a single socket to blow-dry your hair, watch TV and cook with the other residents is thanks to a sensible electrical installation in your home. From the lighting to the laying of sockets, to the power supply of large household appliances, the term electrical installation summarizes all measures for the power supply and electrical lighting in the low-voltage range in a household.
To ensure the functionality of domestic applications, electrical wiring must be laid. The installation of the distributors, FI switches, circuit breakers, overcurrent protection devices, lighting, electrical devices, sensors, switches, buttons, sockets and other electrically operated machines also fall within the scope of the electrical installation.
Finally, it must also be ensured that the electrical system complies with the applicable norms and standards and that all necessary safety and protective measures have been taken.

Electrical installation House regulations: Which standards must be observed for the house electrical installation?

From bananas to lightbulbs – almost everything is standardized these days. The standards and regulations are all the more important when it comes to electrical installation since it is not just about functionality, but safety within your own four walls. When planning the electrical installation and carrying out the electrical installation in the house, strict compliance with the numerous norms, regulations and standards must be observed.

With regard to the electrical installation in the house, two applicable standards should be emphasized:

  • DIN 18015 standard
  • RAL RG 678

In the DIN 18015 standard, you will find all the information on the minimum equipment of living spaces, basics for planning the house electrical installation, details on the arrangement of cables and their routing as well as the arrangement of equipment. The standard generally regulates electrical installations in residential buildings and specifies, for example, the number of circuits and sockets permitted per apartment and room.

What does the guideline RAL-RG 678 prescribe?

The RAL-RG 678 guideline is an addition to DIN 18015. It defines standards in relation to the requirements for energy efficiency and comfort and divides the resulting categories into classes. The more asterisks mark a class, the higher the standard. The RAL-RG 678 takes into account topics such as lighting, heating technology and roller shutters. But the control of fire and burglary protection also includes these guidelines.
With VDE DIN 0100, the VDE determines which requirements apply to the planning, construction and control of electrical systems. This standard relates to living spaces as well as public buildings and commercial buildings.

How does a central home electrical installation differ from a decentralized one?

If the domestic electrical installation is centrally aligned, all important electrical devices, components and assemblies are housed in a distribution box. The advantage of this embodiment is that troubleshooting can be carried out more quickly and easily. However, the lines are usually relatively long in order to connect the respective consumers in the household to the distribution box. In order to keep the voltage drops as low as possible, the exact calculation of the required cable length is of great importance.
In contrast to the central electrical installation, the equipment in the decentralized embodiment is arranged in the immediate vicinity of the power consumers. This achieves a better overview and fewer lines and cables are required. In addition to the cost reduction due to the lower material consumption, the decentralized electrical installation offers the advantage of better fire protection compared to the central variant.

Which types of laying are used for the electrical installation in the house?

There are various options for laying the electrical installation in the house. The three common methods include:

  • surface-mounting
  • concealed installation
  • In-plaster installation

Concealed installation: Concealed installation is primarily used when the cables should not be visible. Therefore, this type of laying is often used in work and living spaces. The electrical installation is carried out in protective pipes or screeds and must be carried out in areas standardized according to DIN 180 15-3 in order to prevent accidental damage to the cables.

Cable duct: an important and indispensable accessory in the home electrical installation.
Cable duct

On-wall installation: When laying on plaster, the electrical installation runs through cable ducts that are exposed and therefore obvious. When only a few cables need to be routed, pipes are usually used, while cable trays and cable ducts are used for installing many cables. Cables can also be laid on the wall or skirting boards with the help of nail clamps. Surface-mounted installation is often used in garages, attics, damp rooms, cellars and storage rooms.
In-plaster laying: With this type of laying, the domestic electrical installation is laid in plaster with a web cable or something similar.
Furthermore, concrete, wooden or cavities and suspended ceilings offer options for standard-compliant cable laying.

Which measures help to ensure efficient operation of the electrical systems in the house?

An increasingly important topic in companies as well as in private households is the reduction of energy consumption. Even if the energy consumption of pure electrical installations currently accounts for just over 10% of the total consumption of a household, the wasteful consumption of electrical energy can be avoided if the electrical systems are operated efficiently. In addition, household energy consumption in the area of ​​heating and air conditioning is expected to decrease constantly in the coming years, and energy consumption through electrical systems will take on an increasingly larger share. But which basic measures contribute to energy efficiency in one’s own household?
The use of modern and energy-efficient electrical appliances such as refrigerators and freezers, washing machines and dishwashers make an important contribution to domestic energy efficiency. The energy consumption labelling according to the EU directives provides an overview of the energy consumption and the energy efficiency class of the respective device.
In addition to the installation of energy-efficient devices, an effect can also be achieved with the optimized operation of the electrical installation. For example, lighting and large electrical appliances can be controlled and switched automatically. So that these energy-saving measures can also be used optimally, energy efficiency should be considered from the outset when planning the electrical installation.

Tip: Smart homes offer particularly high efficiency and savings potential. Thanks to intelligent control, the heating system, the lighting and the electrical devices integrated into the smart home can be used in an energy-saving manner. 

What points should be considered for a successful home electrical installation?

There are a few things to consider when installing electrical systems on your own four walls. In the following, we will give you a few basic points that you should not ignore when planning and laying the electrical installation in the house.
When planning the electrical installation, always consider the large power consumers that are connected to the power grid. Large electrical appliances such as dishwashers, microwaves, refrigerators and washing machines should each have their own supply line and be protected with a circuit breaker. In general, each room should have at least its own and separately secured supply line. In this way, you avoid high current loads and reduce the risk of electrical fires in the home.
Secure expensive devices in the distributor with surge protection. For particularly sensitive devices such as laptops or computers, it is advisable to also operate them via a multiple socket strip with overvoltage protection. To ensure that the entire house does not remain without a power supply in the event of a problem, you should install an RCD on at least every floor. In households with small children, sockets with child protection should also be provided in the required places. Don’t forget to equip every room with a smoke detector.

The telephone connection socket is also part of the house electrical installation and must be taken into account when planning the electrical installation.
telephone connection socket

Furthermore, when planning the electrical installation, you should not forget to include foreseeable developments and future needs. Even if one antenna and telephone connection per household used to be sufficient, today one is required in almost every room from the office to the children’s room. If you do not need the connections, for the time being, you should at least save space for future retrofitting with empty sockets and empty pipes.

What should be considered when setting up the meter cabinet?

For the mentioned communication connections as well as network, intercom and building system technology, it is advisable to keep a communication field free in the meter cabinet. All communication connections can be accommodated here and routed to the respective components and connections. Also, think about future projects in the meter cabinet and leave enough space for later upgrades. When laying the electrical installation flush, it is advisable to lay pipes so that lines can be easily replaced later and circuits can be easily expanded.
Pay particular attention to the planning of the lighting and use motion detectors in the hallway, garage, stairwell and in the entrance area outside to save energy. Energy costs can also be saved in the heating circuit. To do this, heat each room individually and control the temperature in each case with thermostats.

TipWhen planning, also include special requests such as television and network connections in certain rooms and the installation of an e-charging station. If in doubt, you can use empty pipes to keep space free for subsequent installation work. 

What are the dangers of an electrical installation?

The electrical installation must not only function but also be safe. Because with today’s exposure to a large number of electrical devices, permanently connected consumers and decentralized energy generation from renewable energy sources, the demands on an electrical installation have increased and are associated with numerous risks that should be prevented.
In old buildings, in particular, a load level can quickly be reached for which the electrical installation is not designed. Not to mention sources of danger such as defective cables, loose terminals and screw connections, missing protective conductors and excessive fuses.

The dangers of an electrical installation can be summarized as follows:

  • functional failure
  • Electric shock
  • Electrical Destruction
  • fire

To protect against all these dangers, a comprehensive protection concept should be developed for every electrical installation.

What is part of the protection concept for electrical installations?

The protection options for electrical installations go far beyond basic protection through proper insulation and main equipotential bonding (PE). The use of interlocking protective components minimizes the risk posed to people and systems by hazards such as fault currents, fire and overvoltages.
A protection concept for the electrical installation includes the following components:

  • circuit breaker
  • earth leakage circuit breaker
  • safety switch
  • fire protection switch
  • Overvoltage protection

In addition to basic protection, fault protection, i.e. protection against indirect contact, is implemented using the RCD and MCB.
A further risk minimization can be guaranteed by additional protection against accidental contact with a personal safety switch and fire and end device protection with the fire protection switch and overvoltage protection.
Together, the protective components form a comprehensive and reliable protection concept for electrical installation.

Note: Be sure to regularly check your protective devices for safety and functionality.

Can you do the house electrical installation yourself?

Can you do the home electrical installation yourself? Working on the domestic electrical installation involves the risk of an electric shock and should therefore always be carried out by trained electricians. However, there are tasks in both new construction and renovation projects that you can take on yourself. These activities should always be carried out under the supervision of a trained electrician and with the power off.

While you should leave the planning of the telephone connection, cable connection, equipotential bonding, house connection box and the sub-distribution board in the residential building as well as the choice of the meter cabinet to a professional company, you can also take on the planning activities yourself with some previous knowledge. To do this, take the floor plan of the house and determine the respective circuits and connections room by room. In the case of a new building, consider the wishes of the client and structural cut-outs for electric pipes, cable ducts and distributors.
Once the circuits and connections have been established, slots can now be chiselled and flush-mounted sockets set. You can also install the meter cabinet and set up the sub-distributors yourself. The next step is to lay the pipes and lines according to plan. With the help of a specialist, ensure that the installation is carried out professionally and in accordance with the standards. Particular attention should be paid to areas where no cables or pipes may be routed and sharp bends or routing along sharp edges should be avoided.
A clear installation plan is the be-all and end-all and will help you to implement the electrical installation without dangerous tangles of cables. The final step is to close the slots and close the switch boxes with the appropriate cover for installation under plaster. When you are finally done with the activities you have carried out, have them carefully checked by a trained specialist.

Checklist: Which tools do you need for the electrical installation?

  • Would you like to do some work yourself and are wondering whether you are well equipped? The following tools are often required for electrical installation:
  • Wire Stripper: Where electricity is to flow, cables must be connected and for this, the electrical conductors of the cable must first be exposed. With wire strippers, cables can be stripped particularly easily and without annoying damage.
  • Crimping pliers: As an alternative to soldering, the ends of electrical conductors are often fitted with ferrules. This inseparable crimp connection can be made quickly with crimping pliers or cable lug pliers.
  • Wire cutters: These pliers, known as wire cutters or cable cutters, are specially designed for cutting wire. Even thick cables can be cut cleanly with it. It is often necessary to use them before crimping or stripping cables.
  • Cable tie pliers: Thanks to the adjustable tension, cables with cable ties can be ideally organized. The cable ties can be tightened manually or using cable tie pliers. Sometimes it is also referred to as a cable tie gun.
  • Voltage tester: With voltage testers, you can trace the current. With the help of the single-pole (“phase tester”) and two-pole voltage tester, cables can be checked for current and the level of the voltage can be determined. This tool is not only practical but also safety-related.
  • Multimeter: With a multimeter, you can measure what the stuff holds. This multimeter can be used to measure multiple variables such as current, voltage and resistance for DC and AC voltage.
  • Once you have been equipped with the basic tools, you can also use other tools, such as cable pullers, gas soldering irons, site power distributors, wall chasers and many more, depending on the application, to ensure the success of your installation work.

Electric car more efficient | How machine tool manufacturers are making

Mechanical engineers support the automotive industry with electromobility. What more productive machining strategies and precise components can do for e-cars.

Electrical car
Electrical car

In this article you will get the answers to the following questions:

  • How do mechanical engineers help with the technical challenges of e-mobility?
  • How do machine tools make electric cars cheaper?
  • Why are innovative machine tools increasing the range of electric cars?
  • What should machine tool manufacturers keep in mind with regard to electromobility in the future?

Tip for those in a hurry: Simply use the links to jump to the question that interests you most.
By 2023, electric cars should be as attractive as cars with internal combustion engines on the European market. This is the forecast of the VDMA study ‘Drives in Transition’, which was updated in 2019. By then, battery electric vehicles and plug-in hybrids should account for 42 per cent of newly registered vehicles in Europe. Hence there will continue to order for machine and plant manufacturers in the field of combustion engines, but the market volume for components for electric drives, in particular, will grow.
For this reason, many machine tool manufacturers are currently working on getting in shape for electromobility. It is about expanding core competencies, advancing the transformation process and thus securing future competitiveness.
“We are concentrating on the topic of e-mobility, even if it involves a great deal of uncertainty,” reports Stefan Birzle, Head of Global Account Management Automotive at Chiron. “It is not yet clear where the journey is headed and how many electric cars there will really be in the future. Nevertheless, despite the current downturn, the demand for components for e-mobility is stable or even increasing.”
The uncertainty of the vehicle market is also an issue for the plant and machine tool manufacturer Grob: “Our customers don’t yet know which way things are headed,” explains Steffen Pohl, head of the innovation management and e-mobility department at Grob-Werke. “It makes sense to position ourselves broadly, which is what we are doing.” That’s why Grob is currently primarily developing efficient assembly lines for fuel cells and electric motors. “Grob believes in the fuel cell, even if it still lags behind battery-electric vehicles in terms of development,” says Steffen Pohl. “But you always need electric motors, whether for hybrid, fuel cell or battery drives.”

How machine builders help with the technical challenges of e-mobility

With all the uncertainty about which type of drive will prevail in vehicles, one thing is undisputed among machine tool manufacturers: the components for electric vehicles and for the remaining more efficient internal combustion engines will be significantly more complex.
“The complexity of the required parts increases with the electric car and that is a challenge for manufacturers of machines and controls,” explains Jürgen Kläser, Senior Manager Application at the machine manufacturer Okuma, which offers CNC machines, motors, spindles and controls from a single source. “As the components are becoming more and more complex, our customers are demanding highly integrated machines for electromobility.” This is also due to the fact that the product cycles in the field of electric vehicles are currently still particularly short and the flexibility of the machine tools is therefore becoming increasingly important. “That’s why universal machines like Okuma’s have an advantage over special machines.”
The complexity of the parts is not only a challenge for the machine tool industry, but also for its customers. This is why Chiron, for example, also relies on advice in the field of electric vehicles. “The parts for vehicles in the field of electromobility are very special and therefore often a major challenge for our customers,” explains Stefan Birzle. “That’s why we offer our customers to accompany them throughout the project with product and process know-how – across the entire process chain.”
At the machine tool and plant manufacturer Emag, a holistic approach is also the focus, especially when it comes to the production of components for electromobility. For example, the company develops manufacturing systems for electric motor shafts in which manufacturing systems, peripheral machines and automation technology are coordinated. According to Emag, electromobility will primarily benefit hardening processes (Emag Eldec division) and electrochemical metalworking (Emag ECM).
“The parts for electric vehicles have to be light, material has to be saved and the high torques involved require particularly wear-resistant parts,” explains Gerd Killinger, Hardening Systems Sales at Emag Eldec. Hardening is good for tensile strength and protects against wear. “Inductive hardening is therefore becoming more relevant and offers Emag good opportunities to benefit from electromobility with the Mind-L 1000 hardening machine.”

Electrochemical metalworking also contributes to an optimized process chain, because the method enables different designs and processing steps than machining. For example, parts that are already hardened can be machined with almost no tool wear. This fits in well with the existing process chain.
“Solutions for electromobility are about considering the entire process chain in order to connect several stages and make process chains more efficient and shorter,” summarizes Jochen Laun, Managing Director of Emag ECM. “For our customers, this results in a cheaper overall package; for the buyer of an electric car, a cheaper vehicle.

How these machine tools make electric cars cheaper

In order for electric cars to become cheaper for end users, not only must the number of electric vehicles produced increase, production must also become faster and more efficient. “The component cycle times must be significantly shorter so that electric cars become more affordable,” emphasizes Gerd Killinger from Emag. “High quantities and a high level of repeat accuracy are particularly important and this is exactly what our production systems enable.”
“In order for electric cars to become more affordable, the component cycle times must be significantly shorter.”
Gerd Killinger, Emag Eldec
Chiron would also like to help make electric cars more affordable and supports the car manufacturers with particularly productive processing centres. “Our multi-spindle machines are definitely making their contribution to making electric cars cheaper,” affirms Chiron’s Stefan Birzle. “Because the productivity of the machines and the digitization products of our company allow a more productive manufacture of the components and thus also of the electric cars.”
An example of such a machine is the new Chiron DZ 25 P, which premiered at EMO Hannover 2019. The double-spindle machine should be particularly productive even with very large components, such as those required for energy storage boxes, without losing precision

Because not only productivity but also precision plays an important role in electric vehicles. “Production accuracy and the resulting reduction in the need for rework also reduces the CO 2 footprint of the manufactured products, for example,” explains Jürgen Kläser from Okuma.

Innovative machine tools are helping to increase the range of electric cars

Particularly precise components reduce more than just the CO 2 footprint, namely, for example, the weight as well; and that in turn affects the range of electric vehicles.
“Weight is an even bigger issue with e-mobility than with conventional types of drive,” says Jürgen Kläser. “Lightweight construction requires precision and therefore a different type of mould – Okuma machines can do that, especially when it comes to body construction.” Because in this area Okuma has already gained a lot of experience with the conversion to new production methods. “Body mould construction has always been constantly changing and precision is and will remain the be-all and end-all.”

Electrical car
Electrical car

Weight does not only play a role in the bodywork and precision play a role, also with the electric motors. Jürgen Kläser: “The ultra-high precision also brings with it an increase in efficiency in the field of electric motors, because more precise parts mean less friction and less energy loss.” And that ultimately means more range for the electric car with the same battery performance.
The particularly good thing about it is that the know-how that the company collects in the field of electric motors can not only be used in the field of electromobility but can also open up new business areas – for example, the production of electric motors for machines.
“More precise parts mean less friction and less energy loss. This ultimately means more range with the same battery performance.”

Outlook: What should machine tool manufacturers keep in mind with regard to electromobility?

New business areas, the expansion of existing and well-thought-out transformation processes will have to have a high priority for the manufacturers of machine tools in the near future. “New sales channels must also be considered because, in the course of electromobility, other partners than before are coming into focus,” reports Steffen Pohl from Grob.
At Grob, the new partners are the suppliers, because the OEMs are buying more and more in the field of electric vehicles – mainly due to the uncertainty of the market. Steffen Pohl also emphasizes that machine tool builders should above all be open and well prepared: “Change is happening very quickly and you can no longer rule anything out. You have to be prepared for all eventualities.”

Concentrated input on the topic of machine tools

Read our hands-on overview “These are the key trends in the machine tool industry”. In it, you will find out which future topics are particularly relevant for machining.

Further editorial recommendations on the subject:

  • These are the top-selling manufacturers of cutting machine tools
  • How artificial intelligence is changing jobs in machining
  • These are the 15 largest machine tools in the world
  • How sustainable machining works and what it brings

At Chiron, this ‘being prepared’ also includes monitoring the global market for electric vehicles, particularly the market in China. “Electric mobility will be decided in China,” postulates Stefan Birzle. “Especially in the Asian regions, there are many new players. That’s why you have to be wide awake at the moment to identify them and to take advantage of the opportunities that arise there.”
The VDMA also recommends in the study ‘Drive-in transition’ to take the market for electric vehicles seriously and to drive the transformation process forward quickly. It is important to establish innovation networks and identify individual opportunities to participate in the ‘electric drive’ trend. In the long term, participation in the sales market for components of electric drives is an absolute prerequisite for the economic success of component manufacturers and machine and plant builders.

Electrical Engineering | Development of Electrical Engineeirng

Soon after FARADAY’s discovery of electromagnetic induction, the first hand-powered generator was built by PIXII in 1832. However, the first generators were useless for practical use.
The discovery of the dynamo-electric principle by SIEMENS in 1867 was of decisive importance for practical application. This enabled powerful dynamo machines to be built.
In 1881 EDISON presented the first usable incandescent lamp and in 1882 the world’s first power station went online in New York. The first power station in Europe was built in Berlin’s Friedrichstrasse in 1884.

The first generators

Soon after MICHAEL FARADAY’s discovery of electromagnetic induction and the law of induction in 1831, the first devices were built that took advantage of this discovery. This z. B. rotated coils in front of stationary permanent magnets or permanent magnets in front of stationary coils. HIPPOLYTE PIXII, the mechanic from AMPÈRE, built the first hand-operated generator in 1832. In this generator, a horseshoe magnet was turned in front of two coils with a hand crank.

The first generators were of little practical importance. Above all, their performance was too poor for practical applications. The magnetic fields for induction were mostly generated by permanent magnets, which were relatively weak and whose strength was reduced by the constant vibrations of the generators.

Generator by H. PIXII, the AMPÈRE mechanic

A new technical principle

To obtain stronger magnetic fields and greater power from the generators, electromagnets were needed. However, these had to be generated by batteries or a second generator. There was also talk of external excitation of the electromagnets. Overall, this was very complex, and so such arrangements were mainly used in research laboratories.

For the broad application of electromagnetic induction, an invention by the technician and entrepreneur WERNER VON SIEMENS (1816-1892) was of decisive importance. SIEMENS discovered the dynamo-electric principle in 1866and presented this to the Berlin Academy of Sciences on January 17, 1867. He realized that the iron core of an electromagnet retains a residual magnetic field after switching off the current. This magnetic field is sufficient to induce a small voltage in a generator. This voltage can be used to operate the electromagnet and to strengthen the magnetic field. This induces a greater voltage. So the magnetic field of the electromagnet and the induced voltage swing each other up to the full power of the generator.

WERNER VON SIEMENS with his first dynamo machine (1867)

SIEMENS called these generators, which excite their own magnetic field, dynamo machines. With this invention from Siemens, power generators could be built. A new branch of technology, electrical engineering, emerged. In 1878 Siemens & Halske was already producing 25 dynamo machines per week.

Old dynamo machine (around 1900)

Wide use of electrical energy

The further development of electrical engineering took place very quickly and is characterized by the widespread use of electrical energy in all areas of life.
So gradually electric motors for drives began to gain acceptance. In 1879 the first electric train was presented at the trade exhibition in Lichterfelde. It was the forerunner of the electric tram. The first electric elevator could be seen in Mannheim in 1881. In 1882 the first electric mine train ran in a mine in Zeukerode near Dresden and the ancestor of all-electric cars rolled over Berlin’s Kurfürstendamm.

Advances have also been made in lighting technology. In 1881 the American inventor THOMAS ALVA EDISON (1847-1931) presented a usable electric light bulb and a model of a lighting system for residential areas at an exhibition in Paris. In 1882, EDISON set up the world’s first power station in New York and a DC power network for incandescent lamps. In 1884 the first electric motors were connected to the grid.

Also in 1884, the Deutsche Edison-Gesellschaft, later the Allgemeine Elektrizitäts-Gesellschaft (AEG), and the Siemens & Halske company built Europe’s first power station at Friedrichstrasse 55 in Berlin. Two restaurants and a few shops were illuminated with four steam engines, seven dynamo machines and 100 kW power.
The first system for the remote transmission of electrical energy in Germany has put into operation in 1891 from Lauffen to Frankfurt / Main over 175 km.

Electrical engineering and energy supply in Berlin

In the 19th century, Berlin was the centre of the development of electrical engineering. In 1880 the engineer EMIL RATHENAU acquired the EDISON patents for Germany and in 1883 founded the “Deutsche Edison-Gesellschaft”, today’s AEG. This quickly developed into the largest incandescent lamp manufacturer in Europe. As early as 1884 300,000 lamps were produced, in 1891 there were more than a million.

The first “block station” with an output of 100 kW was built in 1884. The electrical engineering generated there was used to illuminate the Café Bauer Unter den Linden and several neighbouring shops. More small power plants were built in quick succession. In 1896, 166,182 incandescent lamps and 8,216 arc lamps were supplied centrally with electrical energy in Berlin. At that time, every single lamp, every machine was recorded and registered individually.

But the need for electrical energy for motors also grew steadily. While the proportion of “power” in Berlin was only 50% in 1898, by 1900 it had grown to 75%. After all, the need for drive energy increased faster than the output of the power plants. In 1906, the Berliner Elektrizitätswerke only allowed the connection of an electric motor with the consent of a power cut from 4 p.m. to 10 p.m. in winter.
In particular, the generation of direct current in central stations with voltages of 110, 220 and 440 V. It was increasingly difficult to supply the newly emerging industrial companies on the outskirts of the city. The maintenance of the generators was laborious and dangerous. A worker who had to adjust the brushes of the commutator on such a generator according to the current consumption decided: “I am a father of a family and, in the face of my conscience, I cannot take responsibility for doing service on the commutator.”
G. FERRARIS in Turin and N. TESLA in New York had already dealt with the technical application of single- and two-phase alternating currents in the 1880s. Generators, motors and transformers were tried and tested in practice and introduced. They were much lighter and safer to use than DC machines. Nevertheless, alternating current was not given a chance because the motors did not start under load.
The engineers HASELWANDER from Siemens and the Russian V. DOLIVO-DOBROWOLSKY (AEG) found a solution by introducing a three-phase alternating current. The v. Dolivo-Dobrowolsky was also the initiator of the first three-phase long-distance transmission over 175 km from Lauffen to Frankfurt / Main, which caused a sensation at the Electrotechnical Exhibition in Frankfurt in 1891. This made it possible to transmit electrical energy over long distances without any problems, “a thousand horsepowers were able to be guided through a keyhole, the thin wire”, as a French writer enthusiastically written.

In Berlin, three-phase power stations were built in Oberschöneweide (1897) and Moabit (1900), soon afterwards others, which, however, found it difficult to meet the rapidly increasing demand from industry and households. This was only possible with the construction of new large power plants such as the Klingenberg power plant and the expansion of electricity networks for the long-distance transmission of electrical energy.

Technical resistances

The term “resistance” is used both for the physical quantity R and for electrical components. The electrical components that have an electrical resistance and that are used in technology as components with electrical resistance are called technical resistances. They are available in very different designs and dimensions.
In the case of film resistors, a thin layer of a conductive material (e.g. carbon or metal) is vapour-deposited on an insulator. The resistance has a certain value. Such resistors with a certain, fixed value are also called fixed resistors.

Sheet resistors

In the case of film resistors, the value is attached to the resistor in the form of coloured rings as a colour code and can be read there.
The overview shown in Figure 2 shows the international colour code for resistors in the E6, E12 and E24 series.

International colour code for film resistors

In wire resistors (figure 3) is wound on an insulator, a wire. The electrical resistance of the wire according to the law of resistance depends on the length of the wire, its cross-sectional surface and the material of which it consists.

Wirewound resistors

With adjustable resistors, a sliding or rotating contact can be used to set a different length of a resistance wire. This also changes the electrical resistance of the technical resistance, because for a metal wire, according to the law of resistance, R ~ 1 applies.

What is an Ammeter

Ammeters are measuring devices that can be used to measure the electrical current in a circuit. They are available in many different designs. Effects of the electric current are used in ammeters of various types.
Ammeter, also current strength or ammeter called, measuring instruments, with which one can measure the electric current in a circuit are. They are available in many different designs. Different effects of the electric current are used in ammeters of different designs.
Ammeters must always be connected in series with the electrical device or component on which the amperage is to be measured. This is necessary so that the current flows through them, the strength of which is to be measured (Fig. 2).
As a flow meter using, Moving Coil. They differ in their structure and in their mode of operation.

Circuit of an ammeter

Moving coil measuring devices

In moving-coil measuring devices, a rotatably mounted small coil is in the magnetic field of a permanent magnet. A pointer is connected to this coil. If a current flows through the small coil, it becomes a magnet itself and interacts with the magnetic field of the permanent magnet. The greater the current through the coil, the stronger the resulting magnetic field and the stronger the deflection of the coil and thus the pointer (Fig. 3). The magnetic effect of the electric current is used.

Moving coil measuring mechanism

Moving iron gauges

Moving iron gauges, also known as soft iron gauges, have a fixed iron plate in a coil and a rotatable iron plate connected to the axis and the pointer (Fig. 4). If current flows through the coil, the two iron sheets are magnetized in the same direction and repel each other. The repulsion and thus the deflection of the pointer is greater, the greater the current through the coil. The magnetic effect of the electric current is used.

Moving iron measuring mechanism

Hot-wire gauges

In hot-wire meters, a pointer is connected to a thin platinum wire that is firmly stretched between two connections (Fig. 5). If a current flows through this wire, it heats up and expands. This expansion is transferred to a pointer. The greater the current that flows through the wire, the greater the expansion. So the thermal effect of the electric current is used.


Nowadays, multimeters are mostly used to measure voltage or current. Multiple measuring devices are often moving-coil measuring devices in which the measuring range can be changed and which are suitable for measuring direct current as well as measuring alternating current.
If you use a multimeter to measure the current, you should follow the steps below:

  • Set the type of current (direct current or alternating current) on the measuring device that is present in the circuit!
  • Set the largest measuring range for the amperage on the measuring device! This is especially necessary if you do not know how big the current is.
  • Connect the measuring device in series to the electrical device in the circuit in which the current is to be measured! With direct current, make sure that the negative pole of the electrical source is connected to the negative pole of the measuring device and the positive pole of the electrical source is connected to the positive pole of the measuring device.
  • After closing the circuit, switch the measuring range down so that the last third of the scale can be read as far as possible. Then the measurement error is due to the measuring device being the smallest.
  • Read the amperage! Please note that the set measuring range indicates the maximum value on the scale!
Hot-wire measuring mechanism

Types of electrical protection relays or protection relays

What is a protection relay?

A relay is an automatic device that detects an abnormal condition of the electrical circuit and closes its contacts. These contacts, in turn, close and complete the circuit breaker trip coil circuit, thereby causing the circuit breaker to trip to disconnect the faulty part of the electrical circuit from the rest of the undamaged circuit.

Now let’s talk about some terms related to protection relay.

Activation signal detection level:

The value of the activation quantity (voltage or current) is on the threshold above which the relay begins to be actuated.


If the value of the activation amount is increased, the electromagnetic effect of the relay coil is increased, and above a certain level of the actuation amount, the relay moving mechanism just begins to move.

Reset level:

The value of the current or voltage below which a relay opens its contacts and returns to its original position.

Relay operating time:

Immediately after exceeding the activate quantity level, the displacement mechanism (e.g. a spinning disc) of the relay begins to move and finally closes the relay contacts at the end of its travel. The time that elapses from the time the actuated quantity exceeds the removal value to the time the relay contacts close.

Relay reset time:

The time that elapses between when the actuation amount becomes less than the preset value and when the relay contacts return to their normal position.

Relay range:

A distance relay operates whenever the distance seen by the relay is less than the pre-specified impedance. The control impedance in the relay is a function of the distance in a distance protection relay. This impedance or the corresponding distance is called the relay reach.

Power system protection relays can be classified into different types of relays.


Relay types

protection relay
protection relay

The types of protection relays are mainly based on their characteristics, logic, actuation parameters and operating mechanism.

Based on the working mechanism, the protection relay can be classified as an electromagnetic relay, solid-state relay and mechanical relay. In reality, a relay is nothing more than a combination of one or more open or closed contacts. All or some specific relay contacts change state when activation parameters are applied to the relay. This means that open contacts become closed and closed contacts become open. In an electromagnetic relay, these closings and openings are made by the electromagnetic action of a solenoid.

In the mechanical relay, the closing and opening of the relay contacts are done by mechanically moving different gear level systems.

In the solid-state relay, it is mainly carried out by semiconductor switches such as the thyristor. In the digital relay, the activated and deactivated state can be called state 1 or 0.

Based on the characteristic, the protection relay can be classified as

Definite time relay

Inverse time relay with defined minimum time (IDMT)

Instantaneous relays.

IDMT with inst.

Characteristic in steps.

Programmed switches.

Voltage limitation on the current relay.

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Based on the logic, the protection relay can be classified as follows:



Neutral displacement.


Restricted earth fault.

On fondant.

Distance diagrams.

Bus bar protection.

Reversed power relays.

Loss of excitement.

Negative phase sequence relay, etc.

Based on the activation parameter, the protection relay can be classified as

Current relay.

Voltage relay.

Frequency relay.

Power relay etc.

Depending on the application, the protection relay can be classified as follows:

Primary relay.

Emergency relay.

The primary relay or primary protection relay is the first line of protection of the power system, while the backup relay is only used when the main relay does not operate in the event of a failure. Therefore, the backup relay is slower in action than the main relay. Any relay may not be used for one of the following reasons:

The protection relay itself is defective.

The DC voltage supply to the relay is not available.

The tripwire from the relay panel to the circuit breaker is disconnected.

The trip coil in the circuit breaker is disconnected or defective.

Current or voltage signals from CT or PT respectively are not available.

Since the backup relay only operates when the main relay fails, the backup protection relay should not have a point in common with the primary protection relay.

Some examples of mechanical relays are-


OT  (travel oil temperature)

WT trip (winding temperature trip)

Bearing temp travel etc.

Float type




Water level controls etc.

Pressure switches.

Mechanical locking

Pole mismatch relay.

List Different protection relays are used to protect equipment from different power systems

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