UK plugs are always referred as 13 A fused plugs that mostly used in UK, Ireland and former British territories, e.g. Hong Kong, Singapore, Malaysia and Saudi Arabia etc. The National Safety Standard of UK plugs is governed by, or the plugs should be complied with, the British Standard of BS 1363 Part 1 (always quoted as BS 1363-1) - the specification for rewirable and non-rewirable 13A fused plugs. In Ireland, the National Standard is I.S. 401.
BS 1363-1 specifies requirements for 13 A fused plugs having insulating sleeves on line (or always quoted as live) and neutral pins, for household, commercial and light industrial purposes, with particular reference to safety in normal use. The plugs are suitable for the connection of portable appliances, sound-vision equipment, luminaries, etc. in a.c. circuits only, operating at voltages not exceeding 250 V r.m.s. at 50 Hz.
Requirements are specified for plugs incorporating a fuse link complying with BS 1362. The plugs may be rewirable or non-rewirable complete with flexible cord. Two categories of plugs are specified covering normal and rough use. The marking on plug for normal use is BS 1363, and BS 1363/A is for rough use. The normal use plug is used for the electrical equipment that seldom to be removed, e.g. TV, Refrigerator and washing machine etc., and the rough use plug is used for the electrical equipment that often plug-in and taken away after use, e.g. vacuum cleaner, electrical hand tool and Lawnmower etc. The rough use plug is nearly 2 to 5 times durable than that of normal use plug in terms of dropping onto wooden floor.
Rewirable plugs are intended for use with the flexible cords complying with BS 6500 or BS EN 50525-1 having conductor cross-sectional areas from 0.5mm2 to 1.5mm2 inclusive. Non-rewirable plugs (or always quoted as moulded plugs) are intended for use with flexible cords having conductor cross-sectional areas not exceeding 1.5mm2.
BS 1363-1 also applies to non-rewirable 13 A plugs which have the brass earth pin replaced with a similarly dimensioned protrusion made of insulating material designated as an insulated shutter opening device (ISOD) designed to operate the shutter mechanism of a socket-outlet conforming to BS 1363-2. However, ISOD (or Plastic Earth Pin) is not allowed to be used in UK rewirable plugs, otherwise, UK trading standard would withdraw any electrical appliances or products from the UK market for this illegal use of plastic earth pin in rewirable plugs.
There is also a strict definition on the non-rewirable plug, where only changing the closing screw (or cover screw) of the rewirable plug to the screw type, that is hard to find any tool to undo it, this rewirable plug can not be claimed itself as a non-rewirable plug and using plastic earth pin.
Plugs containing switches and devices other than indicator lamps are outside the scope of this part of BS 1363.
UK plug is mechanical by nature of construction, A plug does not emit intolerable electromagnetic interference since significant electromagnetic disturbances are only generated during insertion and withdrawal which are not continuous. Therefore, UK plug is immune from electromagnetic interference.
Conditions of Use for UK Plugs
Plugs shall be suitable for use under the following conditions:-
a) An ambient temperature in the range -5 to +40 degree C, the average value over 24 h not exceeding
25 degree C;
b) A situation not subject to exposure to direct radiation from the sun or other source of heat likely to
raise temperature above the limits specified in a) above;
c) An altitude not exceeding 2000 m above sea level;d) An atmosphere not subject to abnormal pollution by smoke, chemical fumes, rain, spray, prolonged
periods of high humidity or other abnormal conditions.
In addition, BS 1363-1 does not require an assessment of the degree of protection to BS EN 60592, the degree of protection for UK plugs is IPXX ( X indicates ‘not specified’ ) or possibly IP00 for ordinary UK plugs.
Plugs and Sockets etc. (Safety) Regulations 1994 (S.I. 1994/1768)
(The law regulates safety of electrical plugs, sockets and adaptors for use in the UK)
The Plugs and Sockets, etc. (Safety) Regulations 1994 (the "Regulations") were introduced to provide a regulatory regime to address issues regarding consumer safety. There were concerns that consumer safety was compromised by the substantial quantity of counterfeit and unsafe electrical plugs and sockets being placed on the UK market and also by the provision of electrical equipment without an appropriate means to connect it to the mains supply in the consumer's home.
The Regulations are complementary to the Electrical Equipment (Safety) Regulations 1994 (SI 1994 No. 3260), which constitute the UK implementation of Council Directive 2006/95/EC, commonly referred to as the Low Voltage Directive (LVD). The Regulations cover the exclusion in Annex II to the LVD relating to plugs and socket outlets for domestic use.
The Regulations are Safety Regulations as described under Section 11 of the Consumer Protection Act 1987.
As the Regulations are national in origin, regulating a specific product area within the scope of the General Product Safety Directive, they do not introduce a requirement to CE mark products.
In UK, most electrical equipment intended for use in and around the home will need to comply with the Electrical Equipment (Safety) Regulations 1994. Additionally the Regulations require that the majority of such equipment, when placed on the UK market, must be fitted with a plug that has been approved by a notified body and either conforms to BS 1363 or offers an equivalent level of safety, started from 3 August 1994.
Most other Member States, however, have national legislation which ensure that any electrical equipment or appliance placed on their respective markets is fitted with an appropriate plug.
Currently three notified bodies has been approved within the Regulations, these being BSI, ASTA-BEAB (Intertek) and Nemko UK, they can approve standard plugs as described in the Regulations.
|BSI Kitemark||ASTA Diamond Mark||Nemko N Mark|
UK plugs are required to carry at least one of the above marks, in order to place products into the UK market. In addition, UK plugs are also required to fulfill the environmental regulations of EEC, e.g. RoHS, REACH, PAHs, Phthalates (16P) etc. and also the customers' requirements.
For Ireland, the Irish Standard I.S. 401 will be used instead of BS 1363-1 for 13 A fused plugs, and the plugs should be approved by National Standards Authority of Ireland (NSAI) or equivalent notified body, before the products can be placed on the Ireland market. It is the same for other countries, e.g. Hong Kong, Singapore, Malaysia and Saudi Arabia etc., the plugs should be complied with their relevant National Safety Standard for 13 A fused plugs, and also be approved by their assigned notified bodies, before the products can be placed on their markets. The fuse links used within the plugs should also need to have the similar safety approval from these countries before selling together with plugs.
A fuse link complying with BS 1362 should be used within the body of the UK plugs, and the fuse link with BSI Kitemark or ASTA Diamond Mark is always used. The purpose of the fuse link within the plugs is used to protect the Ring Circuit of electrical installation at home for overloading, and not mainly for providing protection to the electrical equipments (or appliances) connected. The electrical appliances are required to have their own protection according to the corresponding National Standards of the appliances.
The BS 1362 fuse link has the following characteristic :-
Electricity is supplied to homes by mainly line wire and neutral wire, before the two wires go into home, they are connected to a consumer unit, where the circuit breakers are located. Coming out from the consumer unit, the line wire and neutral wire branch out to form several parallel circuits, i.e. different electrical appliances at home are now connected in parallel. These parallel circuits form a ring surrounding homes, and they are called ring circuit.
The Construction of UK Plugs
The other main components of UK plug except plug cover and plug base are :-
1) Earth Pin 2) Line (or Live) pin 3) Line (or Live) terminal 4) Neutral Pin 5) Fuse Link 6) Cable grip
The screw terminals of earth pin, live terminal and neutral pin are used to connect the corresponding earth, live and neutral wires of the cable as shown below, a BS 1362 fuse link is located between the live terminal and live pin, where one fuse clip is attached to the live terminal, the other fuse clip is riveted onto the live pin. The plug pins are usually brass, the live and neutral pins have a black plastic sleeving fitted to part of their length, and the cable can be secured by using the cable grip provided.
Usually, a wiring instruction card is attached with the UK plug to illustrate the user how to prepare the wires for the plug wiring, and a fuse label is adhered on the top of the plug cover, to illustrate what current rating of the fuse is installed within the plug.
Connection of Flexible Cord for UK Plugs
After connecting the wires of flexible cord to the plug, the cord is required to be secured by the cable grip to the plug, in order to avoid the wire connections being loose, due to the accidental pull at the cord. The normal cord anchorage is usually done by mean of a cable grip and two screws, and the user requires a screwdriver to perform the cord connection, it may be hard for ladies and elder people, in order to overcome this and make things easier, the easy wiring on the cord connection is introduced.
We have invented and patented an easy wiring mechanism that come with the plug base (marked "5" in below figure) for easy production at one single process, and saving a lot of post works during manufacturing, which truly provides an easy way for the cord connection. The users only have to press the cord into the gap between the deflectable tabs (marked "11" in below Figure), without using any tool, the cord is then automatically locked up by the deflectable tabs, which is applied for all sizes of allowed cords within BS 1363-1. This easy wiring mechanism has been already tested and approved by the notified bodies (BSI & NSAI), and fully complied with the Regulations in UK and Ireland.
Please refer to our UK Patent GB 2280551 for more details >...
Plug Pins & Pin Insulating Sleeve of UK Plugs
There are several different way to make the plug pins (earth, line and neutral pins) of UK plugs in the market, however nearly more than 90% of UK plugs made in Asia (mainly Asian origin companies) are using or slightly modifying our patented invention to manufacture the plug pins for their UK plugs, especially after our invention was released to the market. The way of manufacturing on their plug pins is actually from our original innovation, and their methods used are mainly from and described within our Patent.
Our innovative concept of this special way for manufacturing the UK plug pins & the insulating sleeve has made the production of UK plugs into a new stage, from a complex and expensive process to a simple and efficient process, of which, we can make any particular plug pin profile including the grooves of insulating sleeve by using our inventive brass extrusion technique. Where at that time, only rectangular, square and round shape profiles could be made by current brass extrusion method, in order to keep a good dimension control on finished products or brass rods. However, if using our inventive brass extrusion technique, any special or difficult profiles not only can be made, even irregular or uneven shape profiles can also be made, and the finished brass rods are all in a good confined dimensions fully fulfilled and complied with the dimension requirements of plug pins to BS 1363-1.
Please refer to our UK Patent GB 2186747 for more details >...
The maximum rating of UK plugs is 13A, that is, the maximum 13A current can flow through the plug pins and all the joints of plug pins. If something loose at the joints, a hugh energy or heat will be accumulated by electric flashover, and the plug will be burned or melted, even the fire hazard may be occurred. In order to avoid that, a careful design at joint or making the joint very tight should be necessary.
We have invented and patented a manufacturing method for good riveting between the fuse clip and the line pin, ensuring no loose joint will be located within our plugs.
Please refer to our UK Patent GB 1527417 for more details >...
Our History of Making Electrical Plugs
On Tat Bakelite Electric Works Ltd was founded in 1949 by our founder – Mr. Fok Bun, his birth town is Guangdong Shiwan, near Foshan, in southern part of China, and Shiwan is famous for making ceramics and porcelain, especially the “Shiwan Figure” has won a wonderful reputation both in China and abroad.
However, Mr. Fok was not interested with making ceramic figures, but he interested with electricity supply, and he established two factories in around Foshan, China just well before the Second World War, which is around end 1920s and early 1930s. One factory was making porcelain electrical insulator for overhead cables and electric poles (T poles), another factory was established in late 30s (just only one or two years before the war) and started to make bakelite products to the local market, of which, bakelite is the modern moulding material and modern industry at that time before plastic occurrence.
Porcelain Electrical Insulator
Mr. Fok not only interested with the electricity, he also interested with electrical installation, especially the electrical plugs. He had made some plugs with the solid part at the tip of cow horn by hands, when he was young, and he was always looking for new technology to complete his dream on making electrical plugs. Once the bakelite technology came to China, after the bakelite patent expired in 1927, he immediately set up a second factory to make bakelite products, and he had finished the mould tooling of an electrical plug just before the Second World War came to China. During the war, the life was hard, Mr. Fok decided to move his family to settle in Hong Kong after the war, and leaving his factory, staff or workers and mould tooling of electrical plug behind, like most of the people in Hong Kong having similar stories and came from their birth places of China to Hong Kong for settlement.
The electrical plug that Mr. Fok made with his developed mould tooling is the three pin plug like the present Australian plug style, this style of plug becomes one of the important plugs used in China today, and was designed and invented by Mr. Fok to China. This also explains the mystery of why China plug looks like Australian plug, and not following UK plug, American plug or German plug design, where UK, USA and German were advanced industrial countries, and Australia was an agricultural country at that time.
In 1949, Mr. Fok has established On Tat Bakelite Electric & Metal Works in Hong Kong, and later, the company has transformed to limited company, the company name changed to - On Tat Bakelite Electric Works Ltd. The word "Bakelite" within the company name is represented the enthusiasm of Mr. Fok to the bakelite and to his dream. In 1960, we started to direct export mainly bakelite lampholders to UK lamp dealer & manufacturer - Maurice End Limited in Manchester, UK (our 1st direct oversea customer), and also having a chance to obtain electrical plug business again, but this time is UK plug. We have started to make UK plugs from that time up to now, and we have 3 inventions (UK Patents) for the improvement of UK plug during our more than 50 years manufacturing on UK electrical accessories, especially the UK plugs.
In early 1970s, we are also the first company in Hong Kong and China with know-how technology to produce Urea and Rubber Products (mainly UK plugs and adaptors) by injection machines rather than traditional compression machines within our trade, and even by now, the compression machines are still the main machines for producing Urea Products in the world. By introducing the injection machines to our production, the production cycle on Urea and Rubber become shorter and making our overall productivity increased.The photo taken at our 2nd factory in Castle Peak, New Territories, Hong Kong with
Mr. Maurice End, Mr. Fok Bun and our staff on 2nd April, 1961.
Mr. Fok is at the front row & first right, and Mr. Maurice End is next to him.
Our present M.D - Mr. Fok Chi Wing is at the front row & first left, our office manager -
Mr. Lau is next to him. The middle at the front row is the daughter of Mr. Fok Bun.
The photo taken at the Peak Hong Kong in April, 1961.
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