Two Decades of IEEE 1584 Standards: A history of the four editions

By Jim Phillips | Nov 15, 2023
It is hard to imagine that the first edition of the landmark IEEE 1584 standard was published more than two decades ago in 2002. If you do an internet search for IEEE 1584, you might be surprised to find four different “1584” standards.

No, the title of this column does not have a typo: “standard” with an extra “s.” It is hard to imagine that the first edition of the landmark IEEE 1584 standard was published more than two decades ago in 2002. If you do an internet search for IEEE 1584, you might be surprised to find four different “1584” standards.

There are two editions of IEEE 1584 and two of IEEE 1584.1 (dot one). Which one do you use? How did we end up with four different ones? Before you begin drawing a flow chart attempting to sort it out, let’s explore each of the four standards in more detail and in chronological order.

2002—IEEE 1584

It all began in 2002 with IEEE 1584, IEEE Guide for Performing Arc-Flash Hazard Calculations. It quickly became the industry standard for arc flash studies globally. The first edition introduced empirically derived equations based on more than 300 arc flash tests, which was a first for its time. The equations enable calculating the arcing fault current, incident energy and the arc flash boundary as part of an arc flash study.

The results of the calculations are used to assist the qualified electrical worker in selecting arc-rated personal protective clothing and equipment for protection from the arc flash hazard. The information can be listed on arc flash (equipment) labels.

2013—IEEE 1584.1

After the 2002 edition of IEEE 1584 was published, the equations were quickly integrated into commercial software and arc flash studies were becoming more common. However, in those earlier years, if you asked several people what to include in the study and how it should be performed, you would likely receive several different answers. There was a lack of consistency, and the scope of a study could vary widely. 

To provide guidance for the emerging field of arc flash studies, work was initiated on a new standard that began the “family” of IEEE 1584 standards. The new standard would be known as IEEE 1584.1, IEEE Guide for the Specification of Scope and Deliverable Requirements for an Arc-Flash Hazard Calculation Study in Accordance with IEEE Std 1584.

“Dot one,” as it is sometimes called, is not the same as the IEEE 1584 standard. The purpose of IEEE 1584.1 is to help people understand the minimum scope of work and deliverables required. The standard defines the recommended minimum guidelines for performing the arc flash study based on IEEE 1584.

IEEE 1584.1 can also provide guidance when multiple parties are involved with the study. For example, a facility owner may contract with a consultant to perform the analysis. The consultant may rely on an EC to gather data for the study. IEEE 1584.1 can be used to assist in defining roles, responsibilities and expected outcomes for each so all parties are satisfied.

2018—IEEE 1584

After the first edition of IEEE 1584 was published in 2002, the focus shifted to how it could be improved. A project team was created, and an ambitious plan was undertaken to move arc flash calculations to the next level. A new, more detailed arc flash model was developed based on more than 2,000 arc flash tests. The new model provided improved accuracy and enhanced modeling capabilities, with additions such as new electrode configurations to more accurately model electrical equipment and adjustments for different enclosure sizes. The second edition of IEEE 1584 was published in 2018 and superseded the original edition.

2022—IEEE 1584.1

After publication of the second edition of IEEE 1584, the first edition of IEEE 1584.1 needed to be updated with new equations and methods. This culminated in the publication of the second edition of IEEE 1584.1 in 2022, which superseded the 2013 edition.

Which edition?

Although guidance is not always provided regarding which edition of a standard to use, it’s good practice to use the latest one. For example, NFPA 70E references IEEE 1584 in Table 130.7(C)(15)(a) Informational Note No. 2, but does not state which edition. However, NFPA 70E provides an informational note in 90.5(C), Explanatory Material, that states: “Unless the standard reference includes a date, the reference is to be considered as the latest edition of the standard.”

IEEE 1584 and IEEE 1584.1 are at the heart of performing arc flash studies. IEEE 1584 defines how to perform the calculations. IEEE 1584.1 defines what should be included.

Note: This article is from the author’s view and shall not be interpreted as any official position of IEEE or NFPA. / anggi wibisono

About The Author

PHILLIPS, P.E., is founder of and provides training globally.  He is Vice-Chair of IEEE 1584 Arc Flash Working Group, International Chair of IEC TC78 Live Working Standards and Technical Committee Member of NFPA 70E.  He can be reached at [email protected].






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