Featured Mat of the Month: Electrical Switchboard Matting

Electrical switchboard matting is non-conductive matting designed for use around electrical circuits, apparatus and equipment. Electrical switchboard matting is a safety floor covering which provides personal protection for workers against shocks generated by electrical equipment. Switchboard matting is an essential floor covering for use in any area surrounding electrical apparatus and equipment.

Types and styles of switchboard mats

Switchboard matting comes in a variety of styles and dielectric strengths. Mats are typically rated for dielectric strength which measures the resistance of the mat to conducting electrical current. Dielectric strengths are often cited in various standards that apply to switchboard matting, such as ASTM D178, OSHA 29 CFR 1910.137, and MIL-DTL-15562G.

Switchboard mat standards

The ASTM D178 standard is the standard most commonly cited for switchboard matting. Developed by the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM), the D178 standard covers the acceptance testing of rubber insulating matting for use as a floor covering for protection of workers. The standard distinguishes two types of matting, differing in chemical and physical characteristics, and these are designated as Type 1 and Type 2 matting.

The ASTM D178 Type I designation specifies mats made from rubber only, not PVC or plastic. Type 1 mats are non-oil resistant, non-ozone resistant, and non-flame retardant. Type 2 mats are designated as Switchboard Corrugated (Ribbed) Matting. These mats are oil or ozone resistant, or flame retardant. Type 2 mats have the same voltage rating as Type 1 in each thickness.

Each type in the ASTM standard is further subdivided into classes. Classes are the ASTM specification which denotes mat thickness and dielectric test voltage. CRGI currently supplies rubber switchboard matting which meets both types cited in the ASTM D178 standard and we can supply matting for all 4-classes in 3 standard widths. The widths we can supply are 24", 36", and 48" and the thicknesses are 3/16", 1/4", 3/8" and 1/2”. The voltage ratings for each class of mat we can supply are as follows:

  • Class 1 - 3/16" thick - 20,000 volts

  • Class 2 - 1/4" thick - 30,000 volts

  • Class 3 - 3/8" thick - 40,000 volts

  • Class 4 - 1/2" thick - 50,000 volts

Choosing a switchboard mat

When choosing a switchboard mat, consider the following:

  • Purchase mats that are tested and proven to meet applicable standards. In particular, ensure that the mat your choose has the required dielectric strength, has been proof tested at the specified voltage, and has a recommended minimum use voltage that will service your application.

  • Consider whether you will need a mat which is oil or ozone resistant or flame retardant. If so, a Type 2 mat will be the preferred choice.

  • Avoid mats made from PVC or vinyl plastic materials. These mats are not covered by recognized standards, such as ASTM D178, and they have the additional drawbacks of servicing a limited temperature range and becoming slippery when covered by grease or oil.

  • Size your mat precisely to ensure that all floor surfaces on which workers may come into contact with electrical apparatus and equipment will be covered.

To find out more about the switchboard matting we offer, contact our sales department today at crg@canadarubbergroup.com.

John Evans will be pleased to answer any questions about CRGI’s matting products or the applications they service. To obtain further information on any of the matting products that CRGI carries, please contact John directly at crg@canadarubbergroup.com.