NFPA 79 Cable Requirements

 NFPA 79 is the U.S. Electrical Standard for Industrial Machinery and is referenced by the National Electrical Code under Article 670. Specifically, NFPA 79 applies to the electrical equipment used within a wide variety of machines — and groups of machines — working together in a coordinated manner. Some examples of industrial machinery include machine tools, injection molding machines, woodworking equipment, assembling machinery, material handling machinery and inspection and testing machines. NFPA 79 encompasses all of the machines’ electrical and electronic elements operating at 600V or less. With the new NFPA 79 2015 edition, the primary focus is mainly one of overall safety and promoting further harmonization with its European counterpart Standard IEC 60204-1. These new changes were driven primarily by the machine manufacturers’ global necessity to ensure that their products were safety-compliant at both the domestic and international levels.


In 2007, NFPA 79 underwent significant revisions to approach harmonization with IEC-60204. This involved reorganizing the NFPA 79 chapter structure to follow IEC-60204 and to agree with less restrictive, more progressive requirements without sacrificing equipment safety. One of the major changes in the 2007 update involved cable selection options required under section, which indicated that single- or multi-conductor AWM was not be permitted unless the completed assembly was listed prior for such use. Many industry participants considered this change unrealistic, and it was soon realized that further modification was necessary. With the release of NFPA 79 2012, AWM was permitted as long as certain requirements were met as specified within the standard. That being said, the acceptability of AWM required a thorough review of the standard because the allowance was not automatic. If the requirements were not followed, or deemed non-compliant by the inspection authority, serious repercussions could occur.


Historically, little attention has been given to cable selection; often it was an afterthought. Today, however, with ever increasing concerns of liability issues, more time is devoted to machine components such as wire and cable to ensure performance reliability. Regardless of the product, the strength of quality is only as good as its weakest component.


With present day global supply access, it is more important than ever to meet regulatory requirements and proper cable selection for industrial machinery.  In keeping with the principles of the Lapp Group, customer education is at the top of the list. We strive to keep our customers aware of breaking industry changes.


The cost of improper cable selection and non-compliance is too expensive in today’s highly competitive marketplace. Save time and money now. Lapp USA can assist in the selection of the proper cable for your installation. Please contact one of our technical representatives today.


Lapp USA offers a variety of product solutions that are UL listed and conform to the NFPA 79 2015 Edition. The diagram here illustrates key NEC and NFPA regulatory codes for an industrial plant manufacturing floor. Each code calls out permissible cables.