The CEE form, also known as CEEFORM, is an abbreviation of Certification of Electrotechnical Equipment. Ceeform is a certificate for electrical equipment. It was formerly published by a European body called Commission internationale de réglementation en vue de l’approbation de l’équipement électrique, which is now superseded by IECEE.
The “cee” in ceeform socket and ceeform plug refers to the standard of CEE17. CEE17 describes standards for plugs and sockets for industrial purposes. Although CEE17 standard has been superseded by IEC60309 since 1985, name still stays in use.
The CEEFORM socket and plug refer to the industrial sockets and plugs which comply with the following specifications: voltage below 1000 v, current below 800 A, frequency below 500 Hz and environmental temperature range −25 °C to 40 °C.
There are plugs and sockets for different environmental conditions. The most seen IP ratings for ceeform socket and plug on the market are IP44 splashproof and IP67 watertight. That IP44 is it is “spray proof”, it’s protected against rain and water spray from 180 degrees. Not waterproof, but usually has a system to drain water out and prevent water at critical places. When better protection is needed, there is also a screw-on lid type which is IP67 rated. It can be under water for 30 minutes at 1 meter depth.
There are different connectors for different voltage ranges and currents. For the current, there are widely used 16A, 32A, 63A, 125A. There exist also higher current products, such as 400A, 630A, even 800A, that are used for special occasions. Different current versions have different pin sizes and connector size.
The voltage is divided in ranges, such as 100v-130v, 200v-250v, 380v-415v, etc. Different voltage versions use different pin coding and different connector case colors, so that users can determine what connector should be connected where and can’t connect plug to wrong socket. Each connector color is strictly connected with the voltage range (with some few exceptions). Check the connector color and pin mapping guide for more details.
A ceeform plug can have as many pins as from 2 to 8, deriving various pin configurations, such as P+N+E (3 pins), 2P+E (3 pins), 3P+E (4 pins) and 3P+N+E (5 pins). The most commonly used connector types I have came across have been three pin connector for single phase power and five pin connector used for three phase power.
This article will show the connectors I have most seen used in Finland. Those same connector types are widely used throughout Europe for industrial applications.
Blue 16 Amp 230V AC CEEFORM mains connectors is often used to carry normal single phase 230A mains power. Blue color can be used only for the ceeform socket and plug which has a voltage range of 200v – 250v.
These “Ceeform” connectors are commonly used in the Entertainment Industry in Professional Sound, Video and Lighting applications for 230V single-phase power. Also used at most UK and many European campsites and yacht marinas to provide mains power for caravans or boats.
Those connectors are IP44 rated connectors suitable for general use. Those connectors are rated for continuous 16A current all the time. The marking “6h”is not hours of use, but indicating the subtype code for CEE plug telling that earth pin is at 6 o’clock position.
The lid on the plug works ad protection when connector is disconnected and also works as a simple locking mechanism to protect against accidental disconnection.
When the CEEFORM needs to be adapted to work with “normal” mains plugs like SCHUKO, adapter plugs or cables can be used to do that. The first adapter converts CEEFORM to normal SCHUKO outlet connector. The second adapter is a cable that converts SCHUKO male to the CEEFORM female plug. This connector is same as the blue plug (interconnects to blue connectors), but for some historical reasons has black color (is old car heating cable).
The red 3P+N+E, 6h (180°) plug allows connecting to the widespread 400 V three phase power network. The most common ratings are 16 A, 32 A and 63 A, with 125 A less common. Construction sites in central Europe have most of their higher power cabling setup with this three phase socket type. RED is used for 380-480V.
Here is 16A connector for three phase power.
The widespread 400 V (between phases) three phase power network used throughout Europe has 230V from phase to ground. So called power splitters with this connector as a 3 phase inlet and 3 groups of single phase outputs are commonly used top get 230V power to single phase devices. Simplest adapter for 16A plugs can be just single phase outlets rated for 16A directly wired. For higher current separate breakers/fuses are typically needed.
The 16A CEEFORM connectors are fully rated for connecting and disconnecting under load. The higher current rating connectors are not rated for connecting and disconnecting under load, so you need to make sure you have the load current turned off when connecting and disconnecting the connectors. Some industrial applications use interlocked power outlets that prevent the plug connected/removed if power is turned on.
Generally you should be connecting and disconnecting three phase connectors it is best to do that when power feed and/or loads are disconnected.
The 5 pin connector is built so that it should guarantee that ground and neutral are connected before the live pins make contact. The male pins have same length, but the female connector has the different contacts starting at different depth.
I have been warned by electrician doing powet distribution for events that this plugging and unplugging is not always foolproof, so at worst case doing plugging and unplugging can potentially cause 400V spikes to hit single phase loads for short time because the connection of neutral before phases wire is not guaranteed. Best to plugging and unplugging carefully if you have expensive hardware (like computers) connected.
Industrial plugs and sockets (ceeform) – How it’s made factory tour
I believe (I’m sure someone will correct me in if I’m wrong) that 16A Ceeforms are the only connector on the market actually rated/designed for connecting and disconnecting under load?
Looks horrible but not necessarily immediately dangerous. There seems to be breakers on those electrical panels, so if they are OK, they will trip before fire danger.
Those blue single phase CEEFORM industrial plugs are full time rated to 16A 230V, and the circuit should be protected with 10A or 16A fuse. If outputs are overloaded the breaker will trip before fire danger. Those ceeforms are much more reliable and better environmentally protected than normal home outlet connectors.
Those are industrial plugs that can withstand rain when used correctly. The installation direction has somewhat effect on the environmental protection of IP44 connector. Fixed connectors are usually installed angled downward to prevent water entering. I have seen cable connectors usually used so that the female connector is up and the female holed point down. This minimizes changes of water getting in from rain to IP44 version. If you have male as upper connector, water gets on more easily.
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