Monthly Archives: September 2018

Safety Hazards Within the Manufacturing Industry

Manufacturing seems to be a term that covers several different companies within a wide range of industries.  With such a wide variety of businesses, manufacturing facilities have a vast number of operational and safety practices they follow.  There is a specific organization known as the Occupational Safety and Health Administration that sets forth standards and compliance regulations for manufacturing facilities to help avoid common safety issues found within the sector.

 

Even though there are several different industries that make up the manufacturing sector they share a few safety concerns including:

  • Falls

Falls are the most common accidents that occurs within the United States.  The frequency of falls makes this the number one hazard found within the workplace, especially within manufacturing facilities.  Falls represent a serious risk for workers.  They can lead to death or injury; most falls will require at least a few days off work to recover from.  It is of the utmost importance that manufacturing facilities take special precautions to avoid falls throughout their facilities.

  • Machine Guarding

Heavy machinery is operated throughout many different types of manufacturing facilities which is why it is so important that proper guarding procedures are followed to keep workers safe.  Improperly installed guards on machines presents a major hazard to the safety of employees.  To keep manufacturing workers safe while operating large scaled equipment proper safety features are installed.

  • Electrical

Even when individuals are not directly working with electricity, such as you do as an electrician or engineer, there are still plenty of electrical risks involved in manufacturing.  Many manufacturing facilities use a system of bus ducts, plugs, and shut offs to avoid industries from electrocution.  Electric panels are kept secured in manufacturing locations as well to increase safety.  Large scaled equipment is also inspected and kept up to date with the use of reconditioned electrical components on a regular basis that helps keep equipment running smoothly before a chance of failing occurs.  Standards are in place from OSHA regarding electricity to lessen the risks involved within manufacturing facilities.

  • Undertrained Employees

Employees that are not properly trained for the position they are in is a problem found not only in manufacturing.  Facilities are only as safe as the people that are working within them.  It is crucial that proper training is done regularly on all pieces of equipment that workers may encounter in your facility.  When machines are replaced or even upgraded for that matter, employee re-training should be mandatory.  Exposure to proper safety training will help keep all employees throughout the facility safe.  Practicing procedures that are in place are just as important as training.  Take the time to run regular tests involving the safety procedures to ensure that they are properly executed before it becomes vital.

Learn more about J & P Electrical Company and their vast line of new, surplus, and refurbished industrial electrical components including: circuit breakers, bus ducts, bus plugs, disconnects, fuses, panel switches, tap boxes, and transformers at www.jpelectricalcompany.com.  To contact one of our product reconditioning specialists, call 877.844.5514 today.

If circuit breakers could talk

Electrical data aids in monitoring breaker life and managing power

A circuit breaker’s useful life varies greatly, depending on many factors. The harsh conditions in a mining operation might shorten a circuit breaker’s life to mere months. But it’s not uncommon to find factories with banks of them in use for decades.

The key distinction is whether that breaker is performing properly, which can be determined through time-based testing by maintenance technicians or via the circuit breaker’s ability to test itself and report its condition. And, as long as it’s talking, why not ask the breaker for information about power usage?

Power management company Eaton has a long history in the electrical industry, explains Robert Griffin, product line manager at Eaton. “Circuit protection is part of our DNA,” he says. “We’re turning circuit breakers into something that adds more value, adds more knowledge and provides additional safety benefits. Practically everything in the electrical distribution system has a circuit breaker in it. Why not leverage that device in your system to provide power and energy data?”

Eaton’s Power Defense molded case circuit breaker (MCCB) has broken the mold by adding connectivity and intelligence to one of the most common electrical devices. The payoff is higher-level metering and predictive diagnostics in a foundational electrical-system component. Eaton’s breaker-health algorithm is designed to weigh data on multiple conditions to predict device failure before it occurs.

“Everyone within the industry wants to generate data and be able to analyze it,” says Jim Lagree, chief engineer at Eaton. “We’re not just generating data to do analytics; we’re doing the analytics within the breaker, taking it from data to actionable knowledge. A significant amount of data is being processed in the unit to say you have this much of the useful life of your breaker left.”

Griffin further explained, “We know that maintenance is critical for the safe operation of circuit breakers, and, with the advancements offered by Power Defense and the breaker-health algorithm, we can now avoid guesswork or time-based maintenance approaches and proactively know when maintenance is required.”

Bigger picture

Power Defense circuit breakers provide multiple communications options, energy metering and health algorithms that deliver data about the circuit breaker, broader power distribution system and overall energy usage. Its trip units monitor and report current, voltage, harmonics, power and energy consumption, while also providing waveforms and other information to analyze safety and power availability of the connected system.

Power Defense circuit breakers are designed to communicate what type of fault caused the breaker to trip, as well as capturing waveforms before and after the tripping event to help to diagnose system conditions. “We can go back and look at these waveforms to determine what caused the tripping, which allows technicians to restore power more quickly” explains Lagree.

Talk to me

“We’ve had communications in our circuit breakers since the early 1980s,” explains Lagree. “Whether it was serial-based or it’s now Ethernet, communication has been there. The cost has come way down, so there are more capabilities. In the old days, it was a large card that you couldn’t fit inside a circuit breaker. We’ve built in faster communications capability. In the 1980s, it took a long time to transfer all of that data. Now, it’s just in the blink of an eye. We’re adding more information and more data to analyze and tell the customer more about what’s happening with the circuit protection.”

Power Defense MCCBs offer the ability to communicate on two different channels at the same time. “One channel is a dedicated Modbus RTU for the simplest type of applications,” explains Lagree. “Then there’s a communication adaptor module with a variety of protocols, including Ethernet to Modbus TCP/IP. It also has HTML5 capability, so it can publish to a Web page. And we have Profibus. What we’re leveraging is the ability of this module to adapt in the future.” A gateway capability also is available for Modbus TCP/IP, BACnet and email notification of alarms, and it’s hardened and updated to prevent the latest cybersecurity threats.

“We’ve learned to be flexible,” says Griffin. “Whether you’re working in an automation system or you’re in another process where it might have Profibus or Profinet, it’s best to have the common-denominator capability that’s flexible enough to meet the different protocols. We can run Modbus RTU as a native system or Ethernet, or we can do Profibus. And we’ll have more modules that meet these protocols as we go along.” Furthermore, for end users that don’t make use of communications in their power systems, the Power Defense circuit breakers can still communicate critical system conditions or parameters to control systems through the use of available programmable relays. “There are one to three optional programmable relays that can be included in the circuit breaker,” says Griffin. “You can program the relay to close when the breaker reaches, let’s say, 25% of its life.” Almost 30 different alarm values can be programmed onto the relay and sent to an alarm stack light or fed into a PLC.

Added value

MCCBs provide functionality in almost all low-voltage applications, protecting devices from overloads and short circuits. Many facilities use hundreds of these devices, offering an opportunity to generate data that can be leveraged not only to monitor the breaker’s health, but to optimize energy usage. “By upgrading existing circuit breakers to Power Defense technology, you’re able to get more functionality, including metering, from the circuit breaker without adding components into the system.”

Traditional thermal magnetic breakers are designed to protect people and equipment from overcurrent or electrical overloads, but they don’t provide data on what type of fault or the magnitude, says Griffin. Power Defense circuit breakers provide more visibility into the fault, capturing a wide variety of data about the event. “On the front of the breaker, there’s a series of LED lights that can tell you what type of event it was—a short circuit fault; a ground fault; or an overload fault,” explains Griffin. “You can now go into the breaker and look at detailed information about what caused the fault, when that fault occurred and what the settings were at that time. You can troubleshoot the condition and get your system corrected faster.”

Platform edge

The Power Defense technology incorporates Eaton’s Arcflash Reduction Maintenance System and Zone Selective Interlock (ZSI) technology for advanced safety. Eaton’s Arcflash Reduction Maintenance System technology is designed to reduce dangerous incident energy levels and can be activated either locally or remotely by personnel, while ZSI helps to protect equipment by intelligently selecting faster trip times depending upon the location of the fault. The Power Defense circuit breakers enable personnel to perform ZSI system testing with visual status indication to improve productivity and provide peace of mind that systems are operating as designed.

“Arc flash hazards have been identified as one of the most dangerous occurrences in electrical power systems,” explains Lagree. “More than 10 years ago, Eaton pioneered the Arcflash Reduction System technology. It’s a dedicated circuit to trip the breaker as fast as it can. That’s the best available way to reduce the amount of energy the arc flash creates.”

ZSI has been around for quite some time, says Griffin. “With Power Defense, we provide the opportunity to test that the ZSI system is working, along with the visual indication that the system is properly connected and working,” he explains.

The Power Defense platform meets a variety of industry standards, including applicable UL, International Electrotechnical Committee (IEC), China Compulsory Certificate (CCC) and Canadian Standards Association (CSA).

Original source: https://www.controldesign.com/vendornews/2018/if-circuit-breakers-could-talk/

Original Date: Sept 5 2018

Written By: Mike Bacidore

The Basics in Wiring Electrical Disconnect Switches

Understanding how the electrical system works in your manufacturing facility is not as difficult as you may think. While it may seem like magic how the lights turn on or how the power gets to your stuff that you plug into the wall outlet. However, it is far from magical and in fact it is quite simple really. It is not a very complex system when explained.

 

There are several parts that make up your electrical service, one of the most important parts being the disconnect switch. This device is designed to instantly shut off the power to your facilities main power panel. This device is a very important part of your manufacturing electrical system and should only be used in extreme conditions.

 

How does an electrical disconnect switch work?

The basic operation of an electrical disconnect switch is simple in that it truly has only one purpose and that is to kill the power to the main power panel for your facility. All the facilities wiring goes into the main power panel and is connected to breakers that control the power inside the building. The disconnect switch sits in line between your facilities electrical meter and main power panel.

 

By turning this switch off you will instantly disconnect all power going into your location, this does not however, have any effect on your electrical service. You will continue to have power at the meter and on the feeder side of disconnect switch.  It is important to know where your electrical disconnect switch is, which is also referred to as the electrical service disconnect switch.

 

When repairs or replacement is needed it is important to find the right parts.

Due to the seriousness of the functionality of the electrical disconnect switch only trained professionals should ever open up the disconnect switch box. This is because the feeder lines going into the switch have 240v running through them and that is enough to kill a person if you are in direct contact with it. When repairs are needed, and it becomes necessary to replace the electrical disconnect switch there are several options that will be recommended.  One of the more common options in manufacturing is budget friendly reconditioned disconnect options.

 

When parts are needed you can insist on using reconditioned equipment.  Often reconditioned electrical components like the disconnect are preferred as they not only save you money but most often all the bugs that are found in new OEM parts have been worked out and fixed.

 

J & P Electrical Company is a full-service electrical company that supplies contractors, end users, and supply houses with new surplus, quality reconditioned, and obsolete electrical equipment. We purchase a wide range of electrical equipment such as bus plugs, bud ducts, panel switches, substations, and transformers.  More information can be found at https://www.jpelectricalcompany.com

 

Hot circuit breakers and dimmer switches

I recently had a home inspector ask me how hot is too hot when it comes to circuit breakers and switches. Many home inspectors, including all of the inspectors here at Structure Tech, use infrared cameras during home inspections. These cameras can’t see through walls, but can often alert us to problems with a house that can’t be seen with the naked eye.

We frequently come across warm circuit breakers, warm dimmer switches, and even warm electrical panels during our home inspections. So how warm is too warm? It depends. I know, it’s kind of a blowhard answer, but there’s no one-size-fits-all answer.

I don’t use my infrared camera as a quantitative tool; I use it as a qualitative tool. Yeah, I know, more blowhard words. Put simply, I’m not too concerned with the exact temperatures that are displayed on my infrared camera. As a home inspector, what I’m concerned with and what I dig into are the meanings behind unexpected temperature differences, aka anomalies.

If I scan a ceiling and I find a cold spot that doesn’t make any sense, I dig into it. Maybe it’s a plumbing leak from above, or maybe it’s just a cold water line that’s touching the ceiling. That’s where a moisture meter comes in handy. Ok, I’m getting sidetracked. Let’s discuss some electrical examples.

Dimmer Switches

A properly wired, properly functioning dimmer switch can get hot to the touch. I’ve found that a 65-degree temperature rise is normal for a maxed-out dimmer. If the ambient temperature is 71 degrees and a dimmer switch is at 136 degrees, I’d be concerned, but I wouldn’t report the temperature as a problem. I would, however, take an extra minute or two to figure out how many watts the dimmer is rated for. I’d then make sure there wasn’t too much being controlled by the dimmer.

Hot dimmer switch

I wrote a whole blog post dedicated to this topic, titled Hot Dimmer Switches. Check out that post for more info on this topic. If I were to write up a problem with an overloaded dimmer switch, my report comment would say something like this:

The dimmer switch for the kitchen lights was rated for up to 600 watts, but the wattage at the lights was more than this; there were ten 65-watt bulbs on this circuit. This caused the front of the switch to get extremely hot, and creates a potential fire hazard. Have this corrected.

You’ll notice that I didn’t explain exactly how to correct this. I do this intentionally because I’m not going to do the work. This situation could be easily fixed by replacing the dimmer switch with a simple toggle switch, by installing a dimmer rated for a higher wattage, or by installing bulbs with a lower wattage. Any of those would be fine, but as the home inspector, I don’t design the repairs.

Toggle Switches

I can’t think of any good reason for a toggle switch to get hot. If I ever found a hot toggle switch, I’d call that a fire hazard and recommend repair.

Circuit breakers

When a circuit breaker has a lot of current flowing through it, it will get warm. The warm 15-amp circuit breaker shown below had a 15.6-amp hair dryer running for about 20 minutes, and it warmed up to about 17 degrees over ambient. It wasn’t especially hot, but it was definitely overloaded.

Warm circuit breaker overloaded

I’d like to say that if a circuit breaker is X-degrees over ambient, it’s a problem… but there’s just no hard and fast rule for this. I can’t say this.

If I find a warm circuit breaker, I take a logical approach. First, is there a good reason for the circuit breaker to be warm? A 240-volt appliance like an air conditioner will definitely warm up a circuit breaker while it’s operating. No problem there. The image below shows a warm circuit AC circuit, but in this case, I do care about the temperature readings. This circuit is only about 8 degrees warmer than anything else in the image. This is not a significant difference, and it makes sense.

Warm AC circuit normal

You’ll notice that there’s a single general lighting circuit that’s warmer than the other breakers in this panel; again, it’s only a small increase in temperature, so I’m not concerned. If it were much warmer, I might question why.

To take it a step further, I’d take the time to measure the amperage on the circuit. I wrote a blog post dedicated to that topic, titled Using an infrared camera to find an overloaded circuit. Many home inspectors are opposed to doing this type of test, and I say those home inspectors shouldn’t bother scanning an electrical panel. If a home inspector isn’t going to measure amperage, I don’t know how they could report on an overloaded circuit.

AFCI Circuit Breakers

Arc-Fault Circuit Interrupter (AFCI) circuit breakers run warm. This is normal, there’s nothing to report here.

Warm AFCI Breakers normal

Original Source: http://www.startribune.com/hot-circuit-breakers-and-dimmer-switches/491338261/

Original Date: Aug 21 2018

Written By: Reuben Saltzman