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PostPosted: Wed May 23, 2012 7:08 am 
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jghrist wrote:
What public money was used by IEEE?


I believed IEEE was non profit organization funded by public money including membership fees, corporate sponsors, donations, etc. As such, I expected IEEE developments to be open to the public. Now it sounds like somebody is trying to privatize or incorporate the organization, "black box" the information and convert it to profitable enterprise. Does it mean members and donors can now expect to get dividends from IEEE for the money they pay to support the organization similar to getting the dividends on corporate shares?

jghrist wrote:
If you purchase IEEE 1584 for $800 and used it for a study for which you charged several thousand dollars, or studied your own system and saved several thousand dollars, I think you got your money's worth.


With all that "black boxing" fuss going on, I can't get rid of the feeling IEEE is trying to make money on me again by selling their new all of the sudden proprietary version of IEEE 1584.

jghrist wrote:
There has never been a requirement to use IEEE 1584. It is one of the example methods in the NFPA 70E Annex D, but Annex D is not a requirement of NFPA 70E.
...
You could argue that IEEE 1584 represented the current best practice for arc hazard analysis, and you should use the current best practice for studies. It would be a real stretch to argue that you must update studies for future best practices.


I am not arguing that there was a requirement to use IEEE 1584. The reason I used it was because it was "open source" option with formulas and detailed calculation procedure available to public. I anticipated problems with the IEEE 1584 and I expected that IEEE to rectify the problems and provide revised formulas or calculation procedure with the new IEEE 1584 version release. I am afraid I was rather naive.

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PostPosted: Wed May 23, 2012 7:25 am 
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PaulEngr wrote:
I'm not on the committee but I may have a partial answer.

Using a time domain model, the model published by Wilkins overcomes limitations of IEEE 1584 for modeling fuses and also does a better curve fit to the IEEE 1584 test bank than the existing IEEE 1584 model and fixes some oddities that occur near the "edges" of the valid test range for the model:
http://ep-us.mersen.com/resources/media/articles/WP-Improved-Method-ArcFlash-Analysis.pdf

This model cannot be implemented as a simple spreadsheet and does not work with aggregate equations that you can do on a sheet of paper.

In addition in the published slide show on progress of the test work, arc blast similarly has a time domain element to it.


I personally do not use IEEE 1584 Excel spreadsheet to perform the analysis. I used the IEEE 1584 formulas to write my own program to streamline the process and help many other people to comply with NFPA 70E regulations and NEC requirements. I wish IEEE 1584 published a paper similar to Wilkins paper describing the new model they propose to perform the analysis instead of the existing equations from IEEE 1584. I am positive a lot of us would figure out how to implement it in program code including time domain elements etc. and share their program solution with others. As long as the calculation procedure is available to the public, I don't see the problem with IEEE creating their own software and trying to compete with other software developers I wouldn't buy neither of them anyway.

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PostPosted: Thu May 24, 2012 1:21 am 
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Not being a member of the IEEE my comments on this subject may perhaps not be that welcome but I will say it anyway. The mission statement for the IEEE sets out, in my view, why making a commercial venture of future research in this area will be a grave mistake.

IEEE Mission statement

IEEE's core purpose is to foster technological innovation and excellence for the benefit of humanity.

Jim Phillips and I have been flag bearers for the IEEE 1584 standard in Europe for a number of years now and have argued in papers, publications and seminars for the use of the formulae in evaluating the arc flash hazard. We have met resistance but have always been able to argue successfully that the standard meets best practice and is accessible to all, so no excuses for not doing the math. I have heard things like this is just an American thing and does not apply in Europe and retort that the IEEE is the largest learned society on the planet and whilst the standard was born in the USA, it applies globally for risk assessment. Commercialism of the standard will destroy this work.

Jim and I wrote and delivered a paper to the IEEE ESW Conference in Daytona Beach this year entitled a “European View of Arc Flash Hazards and Electrical Safety” where we set out the legal drivers for the management of the hazard and what is happening in the various industries across Europe. It describes our experiences and development of the European Arc Guide.

Just in case you think that IEEE 1584 is the only horse in town (as I use to argue) there is a great deal of research being carried out elsewhere in Europe with theoretical models and algorithms very close to completion and adoption into other standards. Most of the electrical utilities in Europe use other standards to specify PPE. The only one in the UK to fully embrace IEEE 1584 is Northern Powergrid as I did the work for them.

I also believe that a move to a black box will definitely disenfranchise professional Engineers in Europe. In the UK I can confidently say that there has been a culture of fully understanding the actual formulae and a need to be able to undertake the maths by hand before trusting software for any calculations.
I think that this whole venture is well intentioned but flawed. It also flies in the face of the mission statement for the IEEE which will only serve to diminish it’s status in the eyes of outsiders like me.


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PostPosted: Thu May 24, 2012 10:28 am 
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Like any other topic with lack of details, speculation and rumors are abundant. Truth is we really do not know all the answers to important questions to be concerned or worried.

The information in the model, the format and details of what test data as well as what information will be available to everyone is presently being discussed. The new model is based on over 1200 tests performed so far and range from 208 V- 13.8 kV . It is certainly a refinement and improvement over the current model because input requires more variable to simulate the action conditions such as orientation of the electrodes and enclosure dimension. So intuitively we know the output results will be more reflective of the installation. A part of the review process by a focus group includes a comparison with the results obtained using the current IEEE 1584-2002.

Right now, the best thing for everyone to do is to not to form opinions based on speculative reasoning and wait until sufficient details are available before forming an opinion on the new model.


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PostPosted: Thu May 24, 2012 10:57 am 
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Does anyone have any ideas for IEEE to recover the cost of the tests and software development? If the analysis cannot be reduced to a set of equations, but really does require a computer program, then selling a written standards document will not generate sufficient funds. A document that doesn't provide sufficient information to do the calculations would not be worth enough to purchasers to justify a price that would recover all costs. Selling the software or the rights to the software source code could recover the cost. IEEE is not really in the software business, however, and probably is not prepared to provide software maintenance and support for a retail market.

It would not be fair to dues-paying IEEE members to have most of the cost recovered from dues.


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PostPosted: Thu May 24, 2012 12:40 pm 
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I have been involved in standards development for over 20 years; am a senior member of IEEE
Simply put, I think this is both disappointing and, in my view, unethical.
There would be no IEEE (or any other) standards without the voluntary work of experts and IEEE 1584 exists because of the work done by the likes of Tom Neal, Al Bingham, Ernie Jones et al, way back.
From what I can understand and I may be wrong, apparently a small, clandestine group, separate to the primary 1584 Committee have formed calling themselves a steering committee. They collaborated to raise money from 3rd parties to do development work on the physics of arc flash but, and here's the rub, apparently they intend to keep all the results and conclusions confidential (which sort of suggests that they may reap some personal fiscal reward - if this is the case they should have formed a commerical organisation separate and distinct to IEEE).
But this is not what standards development is about.
They are not starting with a blank piece of paper but using the intellectual property of the many experts who came before them who provided the foundation and those who currently work internationally in this field (Jim Phillips and Mike Frain who contribute to this website being two such engineers) - the difference being that those experts did it to achieve a good publication and to ensure that the research and development information was available to anyone.
In fact, looking through the some 300 or so technical standards I have on my laptop, I can't find one in which ALL the technical information has not been included; it would be a nonsense not to as I can't develop a risk assessment based on unknowns.

Ultimately what may happen is that users (particularly international users) will no longer refer to IEEE but look to IEC and European Standards - might not be the best option but at least its cost effective and all the technical data will be published in the standards.

I will be asking a question of principle of the IEEE and also, now that IEC and IEEE have a formal relationship, I'll be asking the officers of IEC TC78 to ask a question of principle.


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PostPosted: Fri May 25, 2012 8:30 am 
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My name is Chris Ross, I am based in the UK and was moved to respond to the apparent turn of events as highlighted by Mike Frain's comments:

[color=#000000]I am appalled to learn that this might go “underground” and be hidden by the steering group for no other reason than what appears to be pecuniary gain. As has been said elsewhere in this thread, much of the foundation work for this standard has been carried out by willing volunteers who’s only intention was to better the knowledge and practice in this sphere of operation. I totally agree with Mike Frain that should such a position as anticipated be reached then in “Euroland” it is more than likely that the proponents of other methodologies will win the day. It will then be very clear to me that it will not be possible to match your arc flash study outcomes to anything of meaningful relevance. Whilst PPE is and will always rightly be the last line of defence, if it is required to mitigate against residual risk then in the absence of an ATPV for such products, end users will be left literally in the dark with regard to matching the correct equipment to the risk. For goodness sake we need to pull back from the brink and hold constructive dialogue in the open. Some have said, and others may too, that we should not react to what they call speculation, I would posit that this is a subject of such great importance that we are left with no option but to put our heads above the parapet and in doing so risk the inevitable sniper fire. I implore those of you who are passionate about free access to such information to join me in this call for a return to sanity, let’s not lose sight of what is important here, which in my opinion is the safety of the engineers who work on and around assets where there is a risk of electrical arc flash; empire building and secrecy will help not one jot the aforementioned


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PostPosted: Fri Jun 01, 2012 9:11 am 
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Mike Frain wrote:
Not being a member of the IEEE my comments on this subject may perhaps not be that welcome but I will say it anyway. The mission statement for the IEEE sets out, in my view, why making a commercial venture of future research in this area will be a grave mistake.

IEEE Mission statement

IEEE's core purpose is to foster technological innovation and excellence for the benefit of humanity.

Jim Phillips and I have been flag bearers for the IEEE 1584 standard in Europe for a number of years now and have argued in papers, publications and seminars for the use of the formulae in evaluating the arc flash hazard. We have met resistance but have always been able to argue successfully that the standard meets best practice and is accessible to all, so no excuses for not doing the math. I have heard things like this is just an American thing and does not apply in Europe and retort that the IEEE is the largest learned society on the planet and whilst the standard was born in the USA, it applies globally for risk assessment. Commercialism of the standard will destroy this work.

Jim and I wrote and delivered a paper to the IEEE ESW Conference in Daytona Beach this year entitled a “European View of Arc Flash Hazards and Electrical Safety” where we set out the legal drivers for the management of the hazard and what is happening in the various industries across Europe. It describes our experiences and development of the European Arc Guide.

Just in case you think that IEEE 1584 is the only horse in town (as I use to argue) there is a great deal of research being carried out elsewhere in Europe with theoretical models and algorithms very close to completion and adoption into other standards. Most of the electrical utilities in Europe use other standards to specify PPE. The only one in the UK to fully embrace IEEE 1584 is Northern Powergrid as I did the work for them.

I also believe that a move to a black box will definitely disenfranchise professional Engineers in Europe. In the UK I can confidently say that there has been a culture of fully understanding the actual formulae and a need to be able to undertake the maths by hand before trusting software for any calculations.
I think that this whole venture is well intentioned but flawed. It also flies in the face of the mission statement for the IEEE which will only serve to diminish it’s status in the eyes of outsiders like me.


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PostPosted: Fri Jun 01, 2012 9:12 am 
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It will be interesting to see how committee members vote on the contents of a black box. I can see commercial attractiveness of the executable file approach (after all they have to recover huge development/testing costs), but it may create interesting liability issues, i.e. who would be ultimately responsible for the interpretation of the results to issue expert verdict/advice if algorithms and formulae are not published. In my experience, it is difficult to be certain that correct modelling assumptions are used if you are not familiar with the calculation. It would be an interesting challenge to ensure that the executable file is used correctly in commercially available software, if no detailed explanation of the calculations and assumptions is provided?


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PostPosted: Sun Jun 03, 2012 11:36 am 
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I've been a proud member of IEEE for almost thirty years. To quote from the IEEE website:
Mission statement

IEEE's core purpose is to foster technological innovation and excellence for the benefit of humanity.



Vision statement

IEEE will be essential to the global technical community and to technical professionals everywhere, and be universally recognized for the contributions of technology and of technical professionals in improving global conditions.

I don't see "making money" or "concealing knowledge" in either statement. If misguided leadership makes the decision to keep formulae (developed, in part, with my dues dollars) secret, then I predict there will be a tidal wave of protest from the membership that will force a reversal. If there is not a reversal, then eventually someone will reverse-engineer the software and publish the formulae anyway.


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PostPosted: Tue Jun 05, 2012 8:52 am 
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With a lot of arc flash accidents winding up in litigation, imagine this scenario:

Atty: What methods did you use to calculate the arc flash?
Engr: The (new) IEEE Std. 1584.
Atty: What equations does that standard use?
Engr: I don't know.
Atty: So you used software that you don't know what the equations are for your calculation?
Engr: Yes.
Atty: How do you know the results are accurate?
Engr: I don't know.

As a 38 year member of the IEEE and a Senior Member, I would be somewhat ashamed of the IEEE for going this route. With dues and the cost of the standards as high as they are, I would view the IEEE as simply money grabbing.


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PostPosted: Wed Jun 06, 2012 9:22 am 
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CSC's post leads to an interesting question. If an engineer contracts to perform arc flash calculations per IEEE 1584, and he does so the only way possible- by using IEEE "black box" software- is IEEE liable for any wrong results (assuming correct input data and a working computer)?


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PostPosted: Tue Jun 12, 2012 6:11 am 
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I must declare that I work for one of the European software companies. We have not been involved in the funding of this new standard.

If royalties are to be paid to apply a calculation formula, then it would an unprecedented step but our company could afford to do so. Who pays in the end though.....well all software Users do of course.

Would we adopt the black box approach, absolutely not. The IEEE 1584 committee couldn't get the spreadsheet right - do they look to become software developers now?

From my own experience on standards committees, this decision might kill IEEE 1584 in the international community.

Bottom line - Arc Flash Hazard quantification is a safety issue and the IEEE would be making a major error of judgement here. The total dollars raised for testing (and motivating the claim on IP) is less than the total cost of one adverse arc event.

Still, we must acknowledge this work was done during the GFC and Standards funding is difficult enough just to get the editorial and publishing overheads covered.

We deserve the outcomes we get - here we have a collective failure of safety regulators across the developed world to fund independent research in this important field of work. I do commend the IEEE on their leadership in this field over the years but raising funding for research in this way would always come with strings attached.

I am not independent in my opinion but it would seem that most IEEE members on this thread are outraged by this.


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PostPosted: Mon Jun 25, 2012 6:06 am 
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** UPDATE **
Thanks everyone for your patience during the ongoing discussions regarding this sensitive topic. It appears that after several weeks of meetings, emails etc. it has been confirmed that the IEEE Standards Association process will be followed for integrating the results of the IEEE/NFPA Collaborative Research Project into the next edition of IEEE 1584 “Guide for Performing Arc-Flash Hazard Calculations”

What this means is that the IEEE 1584 working group can decide how to use the information and what should be included in the standard. This reaffirms the integrity of the IEEE standards making process.

There is a lot of work ahead of us and the technical review and discussions will continue for some time. The IEEE/NFPA project was an aggressive effort that resulted in thousands of tests in many more configurations than the existing IEEE 1584. There are also numerous new equations that will need a rigorous technical review by the IEEE 1584 working group.

Since this forum is viewed by thousands, I wanted to use it to publically thank the IEEE/NFPA Collaborative Research Teams’ steering committee for their commitment to this very important project and their efforts in moving the next generation of research forward. I would also like to thank the IEEE 1584 and PCIC leadership for their strong commitment to this important standard. Thanks also go out to the IEEE Standards Association for making the IEEE standards development process second to none. And finally, thanks for everyone’s patience while I went “silent” on this subject so the many sensitive details could be sorted out.

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PostPosted: Mon Jun 25, 2012 12:41 pm 
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This sounds like good news. Thanks for the update.


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PostPosted: Tue Jul 17, 2012 5:58 am 
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Jim, I have read your post several times but I have to declare that I don't understand it or cannot read between the lines, in terms of the issue at hand - i.e. will be revised calculations be within the new standard? What you have said is that the IEEE 1584 committ can decide and I assume that the NFPA faction is out. Was it is the NFPA involvement that was driving a commercial advantage to the source of the test funding?

Sorry - I am long way from the action, so might have put my foot in my mouth with these questions.


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PostPosted: Tue Jul 17, 2012 9:15 am 
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AusPowEng wrote:
Jim, I have read your post several times but I have to declare that I don't understand it or cannot read between the lines, in terms of the issue at hand - i.e. will be revised calculations be within the new standard? What you have said is that the IEEE 1584 committ can decide and I assume that the NFPA faction is out. Was it is the NFPA involvement that was driving a commercial advantage to the source of the test funding?

Sorry - I am long way from the action, so might have put my foot in my mouth with these questions.


I've been to your side of the world a few times. Amazing place.

There has been a bit of "discussion" in this thread regarding the next generation of IEEE 1584 equations and how they will be treated within the standard. My June 25 update in this thread was to provide the latest information due to the concerns that were expressed. I really can't add more to this at the moment.

The IEEE 1584 committee meets again towards the end of September and we will be discussing this issue in more detail. I will provide another update after our next meeting. I know this has been a slow process and everyone is interested and anxious for next edition of IEEE 1584.

Thanks for everyone's interest and stay tuned!

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