Electrical Systems / Vibration Analysis

Enhanced electrical systems improve reliability and availability of industrial processes

Sheila Kennedy says solutions simplify system upgrades, maintenance, and deployment.

By Sheila Kennedy, Contributing Editor

Sheila Kennedy is a professional freelance writer specializing in industrial and technical topics.Sheila Kennedy is a professional freelance writer specializing in industrial and technical topics. She established Additive Communications in 2003 to serve software, technology, and service providers in industries such as manufacturing and utilities, and became a contributing editor and Technology Toolbox columnist for Plant Services in 2004. Prior to Additive Communications, she had 11 years of experience implementing industrial information systems. Kennedy earned her B.S. at Purdue University and her MBA at the University of Phoenix. She can be reached at sheila@addcomm.com.

The new designs and improved quality of electric power systems are enhancing the reliability and availability of industrial processes. Solutions that simplify system upgrades, maintenance, and deployment, that improve electrical safety, and that address extreme conditions are now available.

Upgrades and maintenance

Modernizing existing DS-type circuit breakers extends the life and upgrades the capability of aging equipment. Masterpact Circuit Breakers, designed to fit into existing switchgear cells, are a cost-effective direct replacement solution from Schneider Electric.

“As aging circuit breakers move toward obsolescence and parts become increasingly difficult to source, it is more important than ever to transition to more advanced circuit breakers,” says Mike Price, product manager at Schneider Electric. “A direct-replacement modernization solution like ours not only provides the latest in circuit breaker technology, but it enables facility managers to improve energy management while minimizing downtime and enhancing safety, productivity, and electrical system reliability.”

For plants and utilities with limited shutdown options, extending power cable life is crucial. Novinium’s Sustained Pressure Rejuvenation process (SPR) and Ultrinium fluid together allow for fast cable diagnosis, injection, and restoration to optimal performance.

“Direct buried 69 kV and 138 kV feeder cables traveling from substation to substation and substation to transformer can now be tested, rejuvenated, spliced, and terminated during one outage,” says Norm Keitges, technical services manager at Novinium. “Industrial power cables are usually fit into tight spaces. SPR offers compact injection equipment with medium pressure and quick results using Ultrinium fluid.”

System deployment

Power system deployment is typically time-consuming and costly. The Modular Integrated Transportable Substation (MITS) from Eaton is designed to simplify, expedite, and lower the cost of substation deployment for utility, industrial, and commercial applications.

“MITS is a turnkey, engineered substation solution, assembled on a self-supporting structural base or trailer and factory-assembled. It is completely designed and customized to customer application requirements,” says Robert Kirslis, data center and industrial marketing manager at Eaton’s Electrical Engineering Services and Systems division. “If you are planning to build a new or renovate an existing substation or distribution center, MITS can provide a total packaged solution to save costs, installation time, space, and labor.”

 Enhanced safety

Infrared (IR) electrical inspections performed while panel doors are open can be risky. New polymer-based SafeSide IR Viewing Windows from Grace Engineered Products allow you to safely monitor live electrical conditions. SafeSide polymers do not degrade when exposed to acids, alkalis, UV, moisture, humidity, vibration, or high-frequency noise.

“Our polymer IR Viewing Windows are fast becoming an industry standard because closed-door IR inspections can be performed, which enhances compliance to NFPA 70E,” says Phil Allen, CEO at Grace Engineered Products. “Unlike the common crystal window, polymer IR Viewing Windows are available all the way up to 24 in. wide, allow for a greater field of view and stable transmissivity rate, and do not degrade over time.”

Ground fault circuit interrupters (GFCIs) are vital for protecting the workforce against electric shock. The SB6100 Industrial Shock-Block GFCI from Littelfuse, listed to UL 943C, accommodates high system voltage and trip levels. It detects leakage current and interrupts the circuit, and also monitors the ground wire for continuity. New cart and mounting frame accessories allow the unit to be moved where it is needed.

“The introduction of industrial GFCIs meeting UL 943C requirements with a rating up to 600 V holds the promise of significantly reducing the loss of life, leading to a much safer workplace,” says Nehad El-Sherif, technical product specialist at Littelfuse. “Many industries can benefit from these new products, including food processing, oil and gas, construction and mining, just to name a few.”

Durable construction

Switches used in food and chemical industries are subject to high-pressure steam, water washdowns, and corrosive atmospheres. The new EBFS403RS0-H Enclosed Disconnect Switch line from Mersen is designed for NEMA 4X corrosive environments. Constructed of 304 stainless steel with 16-gauge thickness, its continuous hinged cover and secure latch provide protection from extreme conditions.

“With the introduction of our comprehensive new line of low-voltage disconnect switches, Mersen now has the broadest range of switches in the industry, with a full line of accessories to accommodate virtually any application,” says Russ Bernstein, product manager of medium voltage fusegear and LV switches at Mersen. “This range is globally available and encompasses UL508, UL98, and IEC standard products for ac and dc applications.”

Read Sheila Kennedy's monthly column, Technology Toolbox.