Keep up with IEC control panel standards and EU Directives

Siemens assists with control panel design and manufacture in compliance with standards

With Siemens as your partner, you’re always up to date

Basic safety standards IEC 60204-1 for the electrical equipment in machines and IEC 61439 for low-voltage switchgear and control-gear assemblies are essential for control panel designers and builders. We regularly notify you of updates and their impacts on your day-to-day work, and we offer a wealth of tools to assist you with engineering and dimensioning in accordance with the standards.

Practical reference: Make IEC- and EU Directive-compliant control panels

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Delimitation of IEC 60204-1 and IEC 61439-1/2

A number of standards apply when you’re building control panels for machines. IEC 60204-1 is the relevant starting point, but builders also need to ensure the electrical safety of the control panel to the best of their ability. That’s why we recommend a risk analysis – which is also required under the relevant directives for the European market. If more risks are identified that the manufacturer believes aren’t covered by IEC 60204-1, IEC 61439-1/2 and other standards may be consulted for additional design assistance.


The German Commission for Electrical, Electronic, and Information Technologies of DIN and VDE (DKE) has published a statement to help identify the areas of application of IEC 60204-1 and IEC 61439-1/2.

Specific demands on manufacturers of control panels in Europe

EU Directives set forth the requirements for products marketed in the European Economic Area. It’s essential to identify the right directive for each case, because this will affect the standard to be applied and the cost and effort required for the declaration of conformity and documentation.

The essential directives governing control panels for machines are the Low Voltage Directive 2014/35/EU and the EMC Directive 2014/30/EU. The directives refer in turn to harmonized EN standards, which in most cases are borrowed from the IEC standards. Use our tools to ensure the correct application of these directives – easily and with confidence.

Create and document standard-compliant control panel designs

The normative and legal framework plays a key role in the design stage of an industrial control panel. The technical risk assessment is mandatory, and it needs to be included with the technical documentation. Our convenient tools reduce much of your workload in this area and ensure that temperature rise verification, short-circuit verification, and the assessment of electromagnetic compatibility are always standard-compliant, reliable, and extremely efficient.


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Risk analysis and assessment for the conformity assessment

A risk analysis and assessment is a part of the conformity assessment procedure. This isn’t a substitute for the risk analysis and assessment performed under the Machinery Directive, but it’s also required. “Reasonably foreseeable” operating errors must also be considered and documented. To perform the risk analysis within the scope of the directive, the European Committee for Electrotechnical Standardization (CENELEC) offers the CENELEC Guide 32 as a support for safety-related risk assessment and risk reduction for low-voltage equipment.


More information on standards-compliant documentation

Practical design tools make documentation easier

Many small steps are involved in composing the documentation. The task of searching and compiling all the necessary documents is often difficult and labor-intensive. Our tools also provide you with extensive support for this task, thanks to the comprehensive support offered by the portfolio. Many outputs and reports can also be used as supporting materials for your documentation. For example, you can use Control Panel Design in the TIA Selection Tool to make a standards-compliant product selection and dimension and design your control panel almost instantly, while the documentation will be automatically generated during the engineering process. That keeps time-consuming documentation tasks to a minimum.

Efficient tools

Expert knowledge that gets you to your goal much faster

Want to design, configure, and dimension control panels with no time-consuming routine tasks? Our tools make it possible – from selecting, designing, and dimensioning our globally certified products to documentation. You’ll be on the safe side when it comes to all the standards, and better yet, your progress will be much faster.

Control Panel Design: The software that makes electrical planning fun

Standards-compliant design and documentation at the touch of a button

Control Panel Design software is a free function in the TIA Selection Tool that you can use to design and dimension the main electrical system of a machine in compliance with standards. This applies to IEC standards. At the push of a button, you’ll also get the right switchgear and protection devices for your motor along with standards-compliant wire cross-sections and short-circuit values for fuseless and fused load feeders.

More tools to help you work with standards

Integrated control panels

Skills for global control panel construction

Our practical tools combine global expertise in all areas of control panel construction – from dealing with directives to EMC-compliant design and standardization. As a result, you’ll work more efficiently and secure a greater competitive advantage for the long term.

Personal consulting on all aspects of standards and engineering

Do you need more information for a control panel building project, or are you not 100 percent certain about how to interpret a standard? Ask our experts in industrial control panel manufacture! They’ll give you fast and professional assistance in a personal consulting session.

Knowledge of standards in compact form

Always up to date with Siemens

Just as the technology is always being refined, the relevant standards and directives governing control panels are also subject to regular updates. A revised version of IEC 60204-1 (Electrical Equipment of Machines) was published in late 2016. New EU Directives were transposed into national legislation before the end of 2016. We always advise you in real time of important new developments and their impact on your day-to-day activities.

Delimitation of IEC standards

An especially important standard for control panels that are part of a machine is the basic safety standard IEC 60204-1, “Safety of machinery – Electrical equipment of machinery – Part 1: General requirements for the electrical equipment of machines.” The International Electrotechnical Commission is constantly refining this standard to reflect the current state of the art. It’s been transposed into national guidelines in many countries around the world.

The new version of IEC 60204, published at the end of 2016, also applies to Germany via the new version of DIN EN 60204-1, which was published in June 2019.

IEC 61439, which consists of several parts, is the standard for low-voltage switchgear and control-gear assemblies. It’s had sole validity since 2014. The general Part 1 and Part 2 for power switchgear and control-gear assemblies apply to switchgear, power distribution boards, and control panels. These establish safety requirements for power switchgear and control-gear assemblies, which may also be relevant to machine control panels.

European directives

  • Documentation must be available in a language that’s understood by local authorities and users
  • Documentation must include a risk analysis and assessment
  • A postal address must be included on the product itself or, if this isn’t possible, on the packaging or the enclosed documentation.
  • There must be a clear definition of the economic operators and their obligations: for manufacturers, authorized representatives, importers, and distributors
  • There must be a clear definition of the following activities:
    - Making a product available to the market
    - Sale
    - Conformity assessments
    - Withdrawal from sale
    - Recall


The Low Voltage Directive stipulates the following safety objectives:

General conditions

  • The essential characteristics for safe use must be specified
  • Electrical equipment must be made in such a way that it’s safe and accurate assembly and connection are ensured
  • Electrical equipment must offer adequate protection from the dangers listed. Stipulations regarding equipment maintenance are permitted

Protection from dangers arising from the electrical equipment

  • People and domestic animals are adequately protected from the dangers caused by direct or indirect contact
  • Temperatures, arcs, or radiation that could cause dangers aren’t produced
  • People, domestic animals and property are adequately protected from non-electrical dangers which are caused, experience has shown, by the electrical equipment
  • Insulation is appropriate for the foreseeable conditions

Protection from hazards that may be caused by external influences on the electrical equipment

  • Meets the expected mechanical requirements in such a way that people, domestic animals, and property aren’t endangered
  • Is resistant to non-mechanical influences in expected environmental conditions, so that people, domestic animals, and property aren’t endangered
  • Does not endanger people, domestic animals, or property in foreseeable conditions of overload
  • The scope of application has been extended to include domestic animals and objects. It also covers other hazards (including mechanical, chemical, and noise)

Standards-compliant control panels

SIMARIS design planning tool

The SIMARIS design software is a real products-based network calculation tool (including short-circuit current computation). It requires minimum input effort and will help you dimension a power distribution system from the medium-voltage supply to the socket. In addition to network calculation, the software also calculates short-circuit current, load flow, voltage drop, and energy balance.

Control Panel Design

Control Panel Design in the TIA Selection Tool makes your electrical design standards-compliant and significantly more efficient. The software almost instantly calculates the minimum and maximum short-circuit current at the load for fuseless IEC load feeders, and it saves you countless other calculation and selection activities – in full compliance with standards at all times, thanks to the digital standard expertise offered by Control Panel Design.

The standard for electrical equipment in machines doesn’t include proof of short circuit.

All it states is that:

  • The rated shutdown power for short circuits in surge protection devices must be greater than or equal to the fault current expected at the place of installation, and
  • The short-circuit current must be taken into account when dimensioning the wire

Calculate let-through current quickly and easily with the SIMARIS curves planning tool

There’s no need to demonstrate the short-circuit capability of electrical circuits in the following cases:

  • Switchgear and control-gear assemblies with a rated short-time withstand current Icw or rated conditional short-time current Icc not exceeding 10 kA RMS;
  • Auxiliary circuits: UN ≥ 110 V, PN ≤ 10 kVA and uk ≥ 4%, UN < 110 V, PN ≤ 1.6 kVA and uk ≥ 4%
  • Switchgear and control-gear assemblies or switchgear/control-gear assembly circuits protected by current-limiting devices with a let-through current not exceeding 17 kA at the maximum permitted uninfluenced short-circuit current at the infeeds to the switchgear and control-gear assembly

Use our overview of let-through values: for example, for circuit-breakers and fuses.

Efficient, standards-compliant documentation

According to IEC 60204, the information needed for setting up, operating, and maintaining the electrical equipment in a machine needs to be provided in an agreed language.


The documentation has to contain:

  • A comprehensive description of the equipment, operating manual, maintenance manual, and parts listHinweise zu Errichtung / Montage / Anschluss an elektrische Versorgung
  • Notes on assembly/installation/connection to the power supply
  • Where applicable, details on the physical environment, schematic circuit diagram, programming, inspection intervals, and more
  • Wiring diagram
  •  Description of protective devices (including locked functions for machines that operate together in coordination)
  •  Technical protective measures
  • Information on handling, transportation, and storage


According to IEC 61439-1, the technical documentation must include all identifying features of the switchgear and control-gear assembly. This includes the following:

  • Rated values for voltages
  • Rated current values
  • Rated diversity factor RDF
  • Rated frequency fn
  • Contamination level, degree of protection (IP code)
  • System based on earth connection (network type)
  • Breakdown by EMC (environmental condition A or B)
  • Type of short-circuit protective devices
  •  Electric shock protection


The customer documentation per IEC 61439-1/2 also contains the following:

  • Notes on transportation, handling, setup, operation, and maintenance
  • Device, part, and circuit identification

Technical documentation needs to be written in a language that can be easily understood in the target country. It has to be kept available for the authorities for ten years after the electrical equipment was last placed on the market, and it needs to contain at least the following elements:

  • General description
  • Conceptual design and manufacturing drawings and schemes, circuit diagrams
  • Descriptions and explanations thereof, and also for operation of the electrical equipment
  • List of the associated standards applied, or description of the measures taken to comply with the safety requirements
  • Results of design calculations, examinations performed, and test reports (from the manufacturer or third parties)
  • Copy of the declaration of conformity
  • Appropriate risk analysis and assessment
In-depth information

The latest on IEC standards and EU Directives for control panel building

Control panel technology is constantly being refined, and the standards and directives that apply to control panels are regularly updated accordingly. With the extensive range of information we make available, you’ll stay up to speed on all the important updates.
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Benefit from our end-to-end support for control panel builders and electrical installers. You’ll have a perfect grasp of new requirements, the state of the art, and the latest standards for global exports at all times.