For any company in the technology sector outside North America, one of the hardest things to do is to crack the US market. Intensely competitive, making it big in the USA is one of the biggest business challenges going.

With the launch of Anord Mardix’s first UL 891 standard switchboard product, the AMS range, Anord Mardix is willing to admit that the equipment may have overshot the mark compared to the legacy UL891 listing.

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– Gerd Altmann, Pixabay

“We entered the market in the US with an IEC-style and certified switchboard, which was subsequently listed to the US UL891 standard,” says Graham Carr, Vice President of Sales, North America, for Anord Mardix. While Europe has one standard, IEC 61439-2, for low voltage switchgear, in the US the boards are listed to either UL 891 or UL 1558 standards: very broadly, for low-end and high-end design requirements respectively.

However, US buyers tended to want low-voltage switchboard products aimed squarely at either of the two US standards, rather than a UL 891 product that did so much more.

‘As time went on, we realized that to be more competitive and agile in the US market, we needed to develop a second generation product customized to the UL 891 listing alone” says Carr.

“We designed and developed the product specifically for our top-10 customers that we are focused on over here, taking into consideration feedback and specific project requirements. We came in first with a product tried and tested in Europe and decided to take this to the next level for the US market, a next generation completely customized to our clients requirements. The AMX UL891 goes above and beyond the standard where it really counts.

“It brings the extra safety associated with having the formal separation within the panel, and we’ve kept certain segregation that you would normally only see in UL 1558,” says Carr. That though, hasn’t affected its overall footprint – quite the opposite in fact. “From our initial UL 891 product, we were able to improve the depth and, therefore, compactness of the panel. One of the key features that differentiate us [from rivals] is a reduced footprint, even improving on what we offered before. A 5000A panel with a 36-inch depth footprint.”

It’s not only the “groundbreaking” footprint compared to the rest of the UL 891 products now available in the US. “In terms of short circuit cycle testing on the panel, the panel is 60-cycle tested – that’s 60 cycles at 100 KAIC. This 100KAIC for 60 cycles is also the same for the vertical bus. The requirement for UL 891 is that it only needs to be a three-cycle test – not 30, and certainly not 60.”

Other UL891 developed features include rigid, bolted construction as standard, flexible construction with in-line and back-to-back U and L-shaped configurations; seismically tested, fixed, plug-in or drawout circuit-breakers; and breakers can be individually, or group mounted and metallic barriers separate vertical switchboard sections. “With our own in-house automation capabilities, Anord Mardix can also develop, design and implement catered PLC systems to clients' spec. And we can also integrate our very own metering core module, the MCMS product line,” says Carr.

Furthermore, the product has already been installed, tried and tested with a global undisclosed customer in the US, with the product honed during the install. “The first AMX UL891 project delivered has confirmed to us the versatility of the product with regards to multiple configurations within the one project,” says Carr.

The product has already started shipping, with the first customer taking delivery at the beginning of March, with design-reviews and customer feedback coming-in in mid-March.

The initial feedback, though, has been positive, says Carr. “They were wowed by the footprint and impressed by the finish, the workmanship and the design. But, as always, we consistently seek to develop further and evolve our products in line with customer demands and challenges,” he says.

He continues: “The collaboration between the vastly experienced development team in Europe and the engineering team in the US on the development of the AMX UL891 product is testament to the united global force that Anord Mardix possesses. We really do have some of the most talented and skilled personnel in the industry.”