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Electromagnetic Compatibility

of Industrial Networks and Fieldbuses

Section

Contents

Page

1 Summary and Definitions

1.1

Electromagnetic Compatibility (EMC)

1.2

Earth Ground and Machine Ground

1.3

Differential Mode and Common Mode

1.4

Shielded Cables
1.4-1 Choice of cable
1.4-2 Where should the connection be made?

8
8
9

1.5

Sensitivity of Different Cable Families

10

2 Wiring Rules

11

3 Wiring of Enclosures and Small Machines

13

3.1

Electromagnetic Caging

13

3.2

Protective Effects Inside an Enclosure or a Small Machine

14

3.3

Protection of External Connections to the Equipment

15

3.4

Internal Wiring of Enclosures

21

3.5

Using Cable Ducts

22

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1

Electromagnetic Compatibility
of Industrial Networks and Fieldbuses

Section

Contents

Page

4 Connections in Buildings and Large Machines

25

4.1

Electromagnetic Caging

25

4.2

Islands

26

4.3

Using Cable Ducts


4.3-1 Principle
4.3.2 General case
4.3.3 Methods for checking the length of uniform wiring
4.3.4 Methods for checking the length of mixed wiring

28
28
29
31
33

4.4

Other Protective Effects

34

5 Connections Between Buildings

35

5.1

Wiring Connections

35

5.2

Protection Against Penetration

36

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2

Introduction

This document (1) is intended for designers, contractors and installers of all SCHNEIDER
ELECTRIC installations containing digital connections.
With the rapid changes taking place in industrial application electronics and for the
reasons below it is no longer possible to ignore the problems of electromagnetic
compatibility.
Equipment complying with industrial standards (electromagnetic compatibility) operates
effectively when it is stand-alone
Precautions should be taken, however, when devices are interconnected (networked
equipment, distributed control systems, remote I/O, etc) to ensure that they operate
effectively in their electromagnetic environment
For each installation configuration (fieldbus or industrial local network), ensure that there
are no additional requirements given in the relevant documentation (example : maximum
length, number of cable ducts, distance between two ducts)
Warning
CE marking is obligatory in Europe. It does not, in itself, guarantee the actual
performance of systems in terms of EMC.

(1) replaces the former guide "Wiring recommendations" TSX DG GND.

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P1

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P2

Section 11
Summary and Definitions
1 Summary and Definitions

1.1

Electromagnetic Compatibility (EMC)

Electromagnetic compatibility is the capacity of a device or system to operate in its


electromagnetic environment without producing unacceptable electromagnetic interference
for that environment or for any neighboring device.
If problems occur (EM incompatibility), modification costs rise quickly when, in principle,
many effective EMC solutions exist which are free of charge. Poor EMC choices can lead
to high costs and should be avoided!

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3

1.2

Earth Ground and Machine Ground

The role of an earth grounding network is to discharge to ground all leakage and fault
currents from equipment, common mode currents from external cables (mainly power and
telecommunication) and direct lightning current.
Physically, low resistance (in relation to a distant earth ground) is much less relevant than
the local equipotentiality of the building. In fact, the most sensitive lines are those which
connect equipment together. In order to limit circulation of common mode currents on
cables which do not leave the building, voltages between equipment interconnected on the
site must be limited.
Interconnecting buried networks is recommended. When the area of a building is small,
that is, approximately ten square meters, a simple buried belt is sufficient. For new
buildings with a large surface area, we recommend linking buried conductors in a cage
measuring approximately 10 m on each side.

Grounding belt of the building


Grounding strip

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4

Summary and Definitions

A machine or chassis ground is any conductive part of a device which is accessible to


the touch and, although not normally live, can become so if a fault occurs. The contact
voltage of two machine grounds which are simultaneously accessible must be
lower than the conventional contact limit voltage (25 or 50 V depending on the case).
This is fundamentally all that is important in terms of safety of personnel, and in particular
neither ground resistance nor the way in which machine grounds are earthed.

Electronic equipment and systems are (or are to be) interconnected. The best way of
ensuring efficient operation is to maintain good equipotentiality between the different
devices. Unlike safety of personnel which is an LF constraint, inter-device equipotentiality
must remain satisfactory, particularly for digital equipment, up to very high frequencies.
In cases of incompatibility, safety rules take precedence over EMC constraints.
In cases of incompatibility between the recommendations in this manual and specific
instructions for a device, the latter take precedence.

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5

1.3

Differential Mode and Common Mode

Electrical signals are normally transmitted in differential mode. All power supplies and
electronic signals are transmitted in differential mode. The current flows out along one
conductor and returns along the other. Differential voltage is measured between the
conductors.
When the inward and outward conductors are side by side and separated from currents
which cause interference, differential mode interference is negligeable in most
cases.
IDM

UDM
IDM

Common mode is an interference mode in which the current flows in the same direction
on all the conductors and returns via the machine ground.

ICM

ICM

UCM

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6

Summary and Definitions

A machine ground (a conductive enclosure for example) acts as the reference potential
for electronic signals and the reference return for common mode currents. Any common
mode current which, via a cable, penetrates a device isolated from machine grounds,
leaves it again via the other cables. When machine grounds are inefficiently linked, a cable
carrying a common mode current has an interfering effect on all the others. Effective
electromagnetic caging reduces this phenomenon.
HF interference transmitted along cables in common mode is the main EMC
problem.
The TN-C neutral point connection, by combining the neutral conductor (marked N, which
is live) with the protective conductor (marked PE) allows high currents to circulate through
the machine grounds. This system is therefore harmful to the equipotentiality of the site and
to the magnetic environment. The TN-S neutral point connection (with or without residual
differential current protection) is far preferable.

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7

1.4

Shielded Cables

A shielded cable provides excellent protection against electromagnetic interference,


particularly high frequencies. The effectiveness of a shielded cable depends on the choice
of shielding and, even more importantly, on how it is installed.

1.4-1 Choice of cable


The choice of shielding quality depends on the type of connection. SCHNEIDER
ELECTRIC defines the cables for each fieldbus and local network so as to ensure the
electromagnetic compatibility of the installation.
The problem with taped cables is their fragility. The protective effect of taped cables at HF
is reduced as the cable is subject to different forces, such as traction and torsion.
Single braid cables are the most common minimum solution for industrial
applications.

Steel tape

Average

Longitudinal drain

Braid

Good

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8

Summary and Definitions

From a few MHz, the protective effect can reach several hundred MHz using a single braid
if the shielding connections are suitable. Flexible, strong shielding makes installation fairly
simple, and is compatible with Sub-D or mini-DIN connectors.

1.4-2 Where should the connection be made?


Unidirectional connection of the shielding prevents LF currents from flowing on the
braid. The shielding masks the LF electric field.
Differential signals are thus protected in LF. In HF, this type of connection is not
effective.
Bidirectional connection of the shielding can be used to protect against the most
severe interference : HF common mode.
The problem with bilateral connections is that at low frequencies a current can flow on
the shielding (voltage between the two ends or looped field coupling). This current
generates a low voltage, sometimes called "hum", or 50 Hz noise, on the pair inside.
Both ends of the external shielding of all digital or power connections should be
connected to the machine ground at their point of entry into the equipment. Only
low-level low frequency unshielded analog connections should be connected at one
end only.

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9

1.5

Sensitivity of Different Cable Families

Family
1

Cables
Analog

Digital
and telecomm.

Relay

Power supply

Comprising :
supply and measuring circuits
for analog sensors
digital and databus circuits

volt-free contact circuits with risk of


reactivation
supply and power circuits

EMC behavior
These signals are sensitive
These signals are sensitive.
They also cause interference
for family 1
These signals cause interference
for families 1 and 2
These signals cause interference

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10

Section
2
Wiring
rules 2
2 Wiring Rules
Whenever possible, installers must observe the following rules.
Rule no. 1 :
The outward and return conductors must always be adjacent to each other.
For digital or analog signals, the use of pairs is a minimum requirement. Special attention
should be paid to wiring inside enclosures which use separated conductors. The wires
must be labeled by signal type and by pair.
Special case : the wiring for chains of emergency stop and alarm systems must never be
single wire point-to-point but in pairs.
Rule no. 2 :
Fastening all connections against grounding equipotential structures is
recommended in order to benefit from an HF protective effect.
The ideal would be to systematically use shielded cables or shielded multiple strands.
However, the use of ducts for conducting cables provides a satisfactory level of protection
in most cases. As a minimum requirement, connection cables between or within buildings
should also have a grounding connection : grounding wire or cable ducts.
For connections inside enclosures and machines, cables should be systematically
fastened against metal plate. In order to maintain the correct protective effect, the following
ratio should be observed :
Distance between cables
>5
Radius of thickest cable

d/R > 5

Cable causing
interference

Signal cable

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11

Rule no. 3 :
Only pairs for analog, digital and telecommunication signals may be adjacent to
each other in the same bundle or laid in the same cable group.
Relay, speed drive, supply and power circuits should be separated from the above
pairs.
When installing variable speed drives, it is important to ensure that power connections
are clearly separated from data links.
Whenever possible, a cable duct should be reserved for power connections in
enclosures.
Rule no. 4 :
The same connector should not be used for connecting different families (except
for relay, supply and power circuits).
If the same connector is used for both analog and digital signals, these must be
separated by a row of pins at the 0 V connection.
Rule no. 5 :
All unused conductors in a cable should be systematically connected to the chassis
ground at both ends (except for analog cables).
This provides a protective effect with a factor of approximately 5 at HF.
Rule no. 6 :
Power cables do not need to be shielded if they are filtered.
The power outputs of variable speed drives must therefore be either shielded or filtered.

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12

Section 33
Wiring of Enclosures and Small Machines
3 Wiring of Enclosures and Small Machines

3.1

Electromagnetic Caging

Linking the grounding elements inside an enclosure or a small machine is essential since
these elements are directly accessible to electronic equipment. All the metal structures
of the bay will thus be interconnected. Equipotential connections for safety purposes
must be complemented by direct connections between all elements in the machine or
enclosure.
Systematic use of a grid or cage at the back of the enclosure for mounting all
equipment is recommended.

Electromagnetic caging :
DIN rail + enclosure ground

Mounting with electrical


contact
(lock washer)

Grounding strip
Safety conductors

Electrical contact must be established for all mountings :


REMOVE PAINT FROM CONTACT POINT

Warning : most protective coatings have an insulating effect.


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13

3.2

Protective Effects Inside an Enclosure or a Small Machine

The presence of many grounding structures in machines and enclosures makes it


possible to benefit from a maximum protective effect.
All cables should be systematically fastened against the grounding elements.
Plastic cable ducts are permitted in enclosures if they are systematically mounted on
the cage at the back or on DIN rails which are themselves connected to the grounds
in the enclosure.
The design of enclosures means that many elements, including the doors, are only
mounted at particular points (using screws, welding, hinges, etc). This results in many
gaps. Entry and exit of cables must be systematically located near these mounting
points or duplicated by a grounding braid. This layout means the gap can be masked
and the protective effects thus maintained.

RILSAN clip
Grounding braid

YES
NO

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14

Wiring of Enclosures and Small Machines

3.3

Protection of External Connections to the Equipment

Most of the problems encountered on site are related to conduction.


It is essential that all wiring connections outside enclosures or machines are
protected.
A grounding strip or Potential Reference Plate (PRP) will be defined for each enclosure and
each machine. All shielded cables and all wiring protection outside that enclosure or
machine should be connected to it.
This PRP can be one of the metal plates of the enclosure or its DIN cage. The PRP should
always be connected to the electromagnetic caging of the enclosure or machine and
to that of the island (see section 4.2). In plastic enclosures (not recommended), a DIN rail
or grounding terminal should be used.

PRP

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15

Grounding strip

Connection of shielded cables


The way in which shielded cables are connected directly determines the HF protective
effect.
If the connection is made using a pigtail, that is, a single wire, protection is no longer
provided at HF.
A shielded fixed connection through the wall using a metal cable gland is the best
solution, providing the paint is removed in order to ensure good electrical contact.
A jumper can also be used, to ensure contact over at least 180.

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16

Wiring of Enclosures and Small Machines

Use of the pigtail is not recommended.

Fairly good

Grounding
strip

Poor

Good

Excellent

PRP on chassis

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17

When connecting to screw terminals where use of a jumper for shielding connections is
not possible, the pigtail must be as short as possible. This type of connection should be
avoided.
Ground terminals with metal mounting
system using the DIN rail

Grounding
strip

No

Acceptable if
connection
very short

Yes

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18

Wiring of Enclosures and Small Machines

When using a connector, its design must ensure 360 electrical continuity between the
cable shielding and the machine ground.

Connector with
grounding bosses

Contact between
the connector shell
and shielding

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19

Installing filters
The effectiveness of an AC power supply filter is determined at HF by its mounting rather
than by its electrical operation. Three rules must be followed when mounting a filter :
the filter must be referenced plate to plate
the upstream and downstream cables must be wired on each side of the filter in order
to limit stray coupling between the input and output
the upstream and downstream cables must be fastened against the plate in order to
limit radiation from the input to the output
Filtered conductor

Capacitive or
inductive
coupling
No
Conductor
subjected to
interference

Emission
and/or
pick-up

No

Filter

Fasten
against the
plate

Yes
Screw directly onto
the plate of the
chassis
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20

Wiring of Enclosures and Small Machines

3.4

Internal Wiring of Enclosures

Numerical controllers, variable speed drives and PLCs can all occupy the same enclosure
provided that :
the speed drives are installed with shielded cables
all the wiring rules described above are observed : use a PRP or grounding strip for
example.

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21

3.5

Using Cable Ducts

Cable ducts outside enclosures must be made of metal if over 3 m long. These ducts
must have end-to-end electrical continuity and be directly connected to the grounds
of enclosures and machines using trunking joints or connection bars.

Electrical contact must be established for all mountings :


REMOVE the paint

Any other cable should only be used in cases where no other solution is possible.
If a single duct is used, it must be no longer than 30 m if possible. Unshielded cables
must be fixed in the corners of the ducts as shown in the figure below.

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22

Wiring of Enclosures and Small Machines

Power or speed drive


cables

Unshielded
analog cables

Relay cables
Unshielded
digital cables

Shielded
digital cables
Shielded
analog cables

Vertical separation in the duct avoids mixing incompatible cables (see section 1.5). A metal
cover on signal half-ducts is recommended. It should be noted that a full metal cover on
the duct does not improve EMC. Take possible future developments into consideration.

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23

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24

Connections in Buildings and Large Section


Machines

44

4 Connections in Buildings and Large Machines

4.1

Electromagnetic Caging

Safety conductors (green/yellow) can be used to ensure the safety of personnel by


interconnecting low frequency grounds but this in itself does not ensurethe HF equipotentiality
of equipment since the impedance of these conductors is too high (approximately 1 H/
m). Electromagnetic caging is therefore necessary, that is, systematically interconnecting
all the metal structures in the installation (framework, rails, sheathing, etc). A cage linking
metal structures measuring approximately 3 m x 3 m is suitable.
In particular, the chassis of enclosures and bays must be interconnected to nearby
grounds (cable ducts, casings, machines, framework, etc). A standard immunity test
(IEC 61000-4-4) with repetitive steep front pulses can be used to quickly ensure correct
linking of grounds (cable ducts in particular) close to injection points and the shielding
connections of shielded cables.
Lightning
conductor(s)

Computer
island or room
< 2m
Metal
casing

Vertical
grounding

Iron strip
<3m

1 m
< 10 m

Buried grounding belt


Crow's foot
Principle of a grounding network

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25

4.2

Islands

Experience shows that in industrial environments, electronic equipment is generally


grouped into dedicated areas. Consequently, a grounding network does not have to
cover the whole of a building. Instead, the islands grouping together electronic
equipment should be defined. Sensor and actuator cables outside these islands must
be carefully shielded.
When electronic equipment is grouped into an area which is larger than approximately
ten square meters, a cage measuring 3 m2 to 5 m2 should be created by interconnecting
the different grounding structures and enclosures.

Horizontal cable
duct

Equipment

Vertical cable
duct

Iron strip

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26

Connections in Buildings and Large Machines

When equipment is grouped into several enclosures side by side, they are bolted
together and thus make up an island.
Conductive false floors can be used to create effective caging. For practical reasons, only
one out of three supports needs to be connected. This then gives a cage of 1.80 m2.
In this case the different grounding connections can be made using either copper round
bars, wide and short connector bars or tinned braid. Whenever possible, direct contact
should be made.
When two enclosures are side by side, they should be directly interconnected by at least
2 contacts at the top and bottom of the bays.
Ensure that paint does not prevent electrical contact. The use of lock washers is highly
recommended.
Interconnection of grounds

The cross-section of straps is not relevant since only their length is important. The
grounding connections must not exceed 50 cm.

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27

4.3

Using Cable Ducts

4.3-1 Principle
All cables must be routed with protective effects by fastening them to grounding
structures.
Metal cable ductswith end-to-end electrical continuity should therefore be systematically
used outside enclosures.
Use trunking joints to make the connections.
It is very important that trunking joints or connector bars are used to make these
connections rather than braids and particularly round conductors. These cable ducts
must be connected, using the same methods, to the grounds of enclosures and
machines, after removing any paint to ensure good contact.
A vertical separation in the duct is used to avoid mixing incompatible cables (see
section 1.5).
It should be noted that a full metal cover on these ducts does not improve EMC.

equivalent
to

equivalent
to

Effectiveness

A backup cable (ground cable, see section 4.4) should only be used in cases where
no other solution is possible.
For each communication network, as a function in particular of its speed and the cable
gauge used, a maximum initial limit for segment lengths (without repeater) must be
observed. This limit, shown in product documentation, may only be reached if the
installation conditions are satisfactory in terms of EMC (in particular : cables laid in
metal ducts with end-to-end electrical continuity connected to electromagnetic caging
and earth ground).
A maximum theoretical length for electromagnetic compatibilityshould therefore
be defined. This second limit is theoretical since it is usually greater than the first
one. It is used to optimize installation conditions and must be observed together with
the first limit. It also applies to a segment without a regenerative repeater.
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28

Connections in Buildings and Large Machines

4.3.2. General case


Two metal ducts should be used whenever possible : one reserved for power, relay
and speed drive cables and the second for signal cables (sensors, data, telecommunications
etc). The two ducts can touch if they are less than 30 m long. From 30 to 300 m, they should
be separated by 10 cm, either side by side or on top of each other. Over 300 m, they should
be 30 cm apart.

Power cables
Relay
cables

Digital cables
(unshielded)
Analog cables
(unshielded)
Digital cables
(shielded)

Analog cables
(shielded)

These special limits all derive from the same EMC Theoretical Length or ETL.
Reaching this ETL assumes that the following three optimum conditions have
been met :
abc-

a second duct, at least 30 cm away, is reserved for power and relay cables,
no more than 50% of the duct capacity is used,
there are no analog cables or unshielded digital cables.

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29

The EMC theoretical length is on average 1200 meters, but this value can vary
depending on the type of communication network.
The ETL is : 2000 m for FIP at 1 MBit/s and for Unitelway, 1000 m for ModbusPlus
and for Ethway with 50 Ohm triaxial cable, 700 m for Mapway, and 400 m for the X Bus
system used by PREMIUM PLCs.
Whenever one of the 3 conditions is not met over the total length, the physical length of
the duct must be assigned a coefficient in order to maintain electromagnetic compatibility.
These coefficients Ki, defined in the table below, measure the degree to which the
protective effect is reduced. The resulting authorized length will therefore be less than
the ETL.
In addition, in the case of single ducts for power and signal cables, the coefficient
will, if necessary, take into account the absence of any metal separation or metal
covers on them.
Sym- Installation condition
bol

Coef- Total
ficient length (1)
Ki

ETL x 1/Ki

600 m

600 m

600 m

300 m

One or two ducts :


K20

Analog cable or unshielded


digital cable

K50

50% or more
of duct filled

K10

Ducts separated
by 10 cm (instead
of 30 cm)

or
10 cm
10 cm

Single duct or two adjoining ducts :


K6

With separation and cover


on signal half-duct

K8

Without cover on
signal half-duct

or

200 m

K0

Without separation

or

12

100 m

(1) Maximum total length if this is the only unfavorable condition (with ETL = 1200 m)

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30

Connections in Buildings and Large Machines

4.3.3 Methods for checking the length of uniform wiring


The coefficients Ki can be used in two ways.
To obtain the authorized physical length, start with the ETL and divide it by Ki (examples
1 and 2 below).
Conversely, in the case of actual physical lengths, these are multiplied by Ki and the
result compared with the ETL to check whether they comply with EMC requirements
(examples 3, 4 and 5).
If all of the signal cable is laid under uniform conditions, the maximum installation length
conforming with EMC requirements is obtained by dividing the ETL by each of the Ki
coefficients in question (maximum of 3).
The physical length of the cable ducts must be multiplied by each of the Ki coefficients
in question (maximum of 3) to check that the ETL limit has not been exceeded.
Example 1 : Shielded digital connections less than 100 m, without analog cable.
The connections can therefore be wired in a single metal duct (for ETL = 1200 m or
more).
In fact - on condition that the duct is not more than 50% full - (take possible future
developments into consideration), only coefficient K0 then needs to be taken into account,
giving the maximum length 1200 m / 12 = 100 m.
Power cables and shielded digital connections should be fixed in the corners of the duct
as shown in the figure below.

Power cables

Relay cables
Shielded digital cables

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31

Example 2 : Shielded digital connections less than 300 m, without analog cable
As soon as the length calculated in an installation condition is no longer sufficient (100 m
in the first example) the EMC of the configuration must be improved.

Power
cables

Relay
cables

Shielded
digital
cables

A vertical separation in the duct is used to avoid mixing incompatible cables. A metal
cover on the half-duct of signal cables limits the interference from signals.
This is why the value of the coefficient then changes from 12 (=K0) to only 4 (=K6), giving
(with ETL = 1200 m) the maximum length : ETL / 4 = 300 m.
The EMC conditions to be observed are thus :
each half-duct is no more than 50% full
the separation is made of metal and in contact with the duct throughout its length
the cover is in contact with the separation throughout its length.
Take possible future developments into consideration.

Example 3 : Project for laying 60 m of signal cable


You wish to lay the cable in a single duct without separation, together with a power cable
and an analog cable.
This installation condition, based on the table of Ki symbols, is affected by two
coefficients : K0 (=12) and K20 (=2). The physical length should therefore be multiplied
by 2 and by 12.
Since the result of 1440 m (60 m x 24) is greater than ETL = 1200 m, the 60 m length installed
in this way will not comply with EMC requirements. Example 4 (next section) provides a
possible solution.

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32

Connections in Buildings and Large Machines

4.3.4 Methods for checking the length of mixed wiring


When different installation conditions are present over the length of a cable duct, each
physical length of the same type must be multiplied by the relevant coefficients
following the same rules as above.
The total of the different results must remain lower than the ETL (1200 m for example).
Example 4 : New project for laying 60 m of signal cable
The signal cable in example 3 is laid over 20 m using the type of installation described
above. The remaining 40 m are laid, together with the analog signal cable, in one duct which
is separate from the power cable, but placed 10 cm away from the first one.
Length

Ki coefficients

Calculations

Results

20 m
40 m

K0 (=12) and K20 (=2)


K10 (=2) and K20 (=2)

20 m x 24
40 m x 4

480 m
160 m

480 m + 160 m

640 m

Total (60 m)

The result of 640 m now being lower than ETL = 1200 m, the 60 m length installed will
comply with EMC requirements.

Example 5 : Laying a FIP cable over 1000 m


The system documentation indicates that the first limit is observed provided that only trunk
cable is used (1 large-gauge pair of 150 Ohms).
The ETL value for this system is 2000 m.
Let us assume that the 3 optimum conditions (see section 4.3.2) are present over 700 m
and that, over the rest of its length, the power duct is :
more than 50% full
only 10 cm away from the signal duct.
Length

Ki coefficients

Calculations

Results

700 m
300 m

none
K50 (=2) and K10 (=2)

300 m x 4

700 m
1200 m

700 m + 1200 m

1900 m

Total (1000 m)

The result of 1900 m being lower than ETL = 2000 m, the installed length will comply with
EMC requirements and only the preceding condition remains (no small-gauge pairs used).

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33

4.4

Other Protective Effects

The protective effect of a cable duct is approximately 50 between 1 MHz and 100 MHz.
Other protective effects are possible in cases where this type of equipment cannot be
used. Welded wire cable ducts are less effective and often more expensive than plate
ducting.
Welded wire cable duct :

Protective efffect 10
Protective efffect 5

Grounding cable :

Protective efffect 5
Grounding cable

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34

Connections between buildings


5
Section 5
5 Connections Between Buildings

5.1

Wiring Connections

Connections between buildings have two characteristics which can result in risks for
the installation :
poor equipotentiality between the grounding elements of installations
large loop areas between data cables and grounding elements.
Before installing and connecting a data cable between two buildings, it is essential
to check that the two ground connections of the buildings are interconnected.
All grounds which are simultaneously accessible must be connected to the same
ground connection (or at least to a set of interconnected ground connections). This
constraint is fundamental for the safety of personnel.
The second risk related to connections between buildings is the loop area between
data cables and grounding elements.
This loop is particularly critical in the event of an indirect lightning strike on the site. The
overvoltages induced in these loops through indirect impact of lightning are in the order of
a hundred volts per square meter.
In order to limit this risk, all cables laid between two buildings must be duplicated
35 mm2).
by a large-gauge equipotential connection (

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35

5.2

Protection Against Penetration

Common mode currents coming from outside must be discharged to the grounding
network at their point of entry to the site in order to limit any potential difference
between equipment.
Any conducting trunking entering a building (conducting cable, conducting piping
or isolated piping carrying a conducting fluid) must be connected to the earth
ground at their point of entry to the building, using the shortest possible distance.
Overvoltage protectors should be placed at the entry points in buildings for power,
telecommunication and signal cables (data, alarms, access controls, video surveillance,
etc). The effectiveness of such devices largely depends on their installation.
Overvoltage protectors (varistors, arresters, etc) should be directly connected to the
ground of the electrical panel or equipment they are protecting. Connecting an
overvoltage protector only to the earth ground (instead of the machine ground) is not
effective.
Whenever possible, the boards for power, telecommunication and signal protection
should be located close to a grounding strip.

Network

Shielded
isolation
transformer

AC
supply
cable

Upstream L.V.
lightning
conductors

Ground of the
transformer

Earth
ground

PE

Ground of the board

For data links between buildings, the use of optical fibre is highly recommended. This type
of connection is completely free of loop problems between buildings.

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