A WORD FROM OUR CEO
Adaptability, innovation, service. Three key concepts that have guided the way we do business at Electro-Mechanical for more than sixty years – and habits that are increasingly valuable to our customers today.
Every industry in the U.S. has been affected to some extent by the ongoing pandemic. Staffing, production, shipping – anything classified as the normal way of doing things has experienced some kind of disruption. Finding workable solutions to challenges has demanded a lot of attention and brainstorming, and I’m proud to say our co-workers and partners have rallied to the cause with creativity and determination.
One such challenge has been providing a way for customers to do a visual inspection and testing of equipment without having to expend resources for travel to Bristol, or risk an increase in virus transmission by coming into the production area. In this issue of The Grid, you’ll see information on our new Virtual Inspection Service, a new way of doing things that is informational, educational, and helps maintain the timely production and delivery of equipment. You’ll also see how we’ve developed distribution product configurations that are specifically designed for the solar industry. Our integrated solutions and rapid response time provide cost-effective power delivery for solar farms, which is another demonstration of how our longstanding core business principles position us to tailor our products to the needs of our customers.
Speaking of our customers, EMC’s 62nd birthday is just around the corner and we have you to thank for making this one significant and special. Our Dad, Frank Leonard, started the business on his birthday September 8, 1958 with only scarce equipment, meager funds and the determination to succeed. He would be proud to know that his small labor of love has grown into one of the U.S.’s largest privately held, family-owned manufacturers of electrical apparatus encompassing nearly one million square feet of modern manufacturing facilities. Thank you to our loyal customers for growing with us! We appreciate your business and are grateful for the trust you have placed in our team and our products.
Now, as we continue to learn more about COVID-19 and move toward a full reopening, the second half of 2020 may have a few less surprises in store. Regardless of what comes next, I am confident that we will respond with the strength of sixty-plus years of experience, as well as a nimble, modern adaptability that focuses on the best way forward for our customers, co-workers and community. This way of thinking is based on more than our Vision and Core Values — it’s built into our DNA.
Stay safe and well!
EMC Now Offering Virtual Inspection Service
At left, Jon Towers, PLC programmer/electrical designer, coordinates video and audio with the customer while Tyler Leonard, test group leader, zooms a mobile camera in on the specific areas that the customer wants to see.
One of the essential steps in delivering medium-voltage switchgear, dry-type transformers and custom-built electrical distribution solutions to customers is the visual inspection of equipment before it leaves the shop floor. With many companies restricting travel and access to manufacturing environments because of the pandemic, Electro-Mechanical has quickly worked to create a solution that provides customers an informative and responsive inspection experience, all while protecting the health and safety of co-workers.
EMC’s new Virtual Inspections Service offers testing and education via video conferencing. The service allows clients to interact with EMC personnel as they normally would during an in-person visit, while also creating a digital record of the inspection that can be used as an ongoing training tool for employees.
The top photo above shows the fixed camera view, which allows the customer to see the overall unit, while the bottom photo shows the specific area being captured by the mobile camera. The customer is able to see both views at the same time to know where the mobile camera is in relation to the complete unit.
“The equipment we provide is considered essential, and we wanted to find a way to keep production and delivery on schedule,” said Todd Dewar, vice president of Engineering and Supply Chain. “We are known for our innovation and adaptability, so we wanted to apply those qualities to our inspection process, saving our clients the time and resources needed for travel, and lowering the health risk for everyone involved.”
In addition to inspections, testing and education, the virtual option can accommodate customer-related enhancements and eliminate subsequent follow-up visits and testing. There is also no limit to the number of people who can witness the inspection or participate in training.
The photo on the left shows the specific area being captured by the mobile camera, while the photo on the right shows the overall unit. The customer is able to see both of these views at the same time to know where the mobile camera is in relation to the complete unit.
“The past several months have brought about numerous changes in the ways we all do business, and the electrical industry has had to respond to these changes much more quickly than any of us imagined was possible,” Dewar said. “We’re pleased that we can offer this solution for meeting our customers’ needs, while also keeping them safe.”
To learn more about our custom-built electrical distribution solutions, visit https://www.electro-mechanical.com/
Federal Pacific’s Integrated Solutions for
Medium-Voltage Distribution Provide Cost-Effective Power Delivery for Solar Farms
Federal Pacific’s switchgear products for underground medium-voltage distribution are a great fit for solar industry customers, with product configurations specifically designed for solar fields. These include products for switching and visible isolation; grid tie; protection, metering and SCADA (monitoring); and line disturbance mitigation.
The company’s grid tie products provide a single, complete solution for customers who purchase costly discrete components for overhead installation that must all be connected together on site. These components typically include gang operated air break switches (GOAB) for visible isolation and lock out, reclosers for relay protection and automatic three phase switching, metering clusters for power measurement with outdoor CTs and PTs, and fuse cut-outs for circuit isolation and single phase testing.
Federal Pacific’s padmount switchgear for solar farms houses all components in a single metal enclosure, eliminating overhead equipment. Offered at 15, 25 or 38 kV, the switchgear includes an Auto-jet® air load break switch to replace the GOAB; revenue-grade PTs for metering and a separate PT for control power, along with CTs for metering and protection (PTs and CTs replace the metering cluster); a vacuum breaker to replace the recloser; load break fuse assemblies to replace the fuse cut-outs; and 200A or 600A IEEE 386 dead front connections. Everything is completely pre-wired and pre-tested.
“The low voltage produced by solar panels must be converted to medium voltage so it can be distributed cost effectively over long distances for connection to a utility,” says Kent Jones, principal engineer. “Solar farms typically purchase all components for the overhead equipment separately, then mount them onto the poles and pull wire to connect. That gets quite expensive. A recloser is one component in particular that has to be bought off the shelf, and it has an associated control with its own power supply. A recloser isn’t needed for a solar farm because you’re not going to repeatedly turn on and off a solar field. With our solution, the recloser is replaced with a simple breaker and relay, which is all that’s needed.
“In addition, this solution takes up a fraction of the space required for overhead equipment,” Jones says. “It also reduces site work and clutter, and has an added benefit of cutting costs due to the elimination of poles and bucket work. All required functionality can be put in one metal enclosed box — one of what we call our ‘green boxes.’ When customers receive our switchgear, they literally just need to connect on the solar side and the utility side of the box, and they don’t have to wire anything between poles. One green box replaces three to four poles.”
Earlier this year, Federal Pacific received a customer request for a quote on a padmount recloser, metering cabinet and loadbreak switch as individual components for an upcoming project. Since Federal Pacific has provided numerous other solar customers with a single product combining discrete components into one pad-mounted enclosure, the offer was made to quote a similar product meeting the customer’s functional needs.
A drawing was provided, Federal Pacific’s proposal was accepted, and a 12,470V outdoor solar farm grid tie assembly was custom-engineered, manufactured and delivered, providing a product that far exceeded the customer’s initial expectations for an appropriate solution.
“We explained to them that not only could we provide the pad-mounted protective device in our padmount gear, we could also add instrument transformers, a revenue grade meter, lightning arrestors and control power, all in a single package,” Jones says. “We combined equipment from three separate enclosures into a single enclosure. This simplified pad mounting, reduced the number of concrete pads, and reduced field wiring and testing, all at a lower cost.”
Federal Pacific also offers products for line disturbance mitigation to eliminate line disturbance while energizing a solar farm. Some utilities, such as Duke Energy, for example, require their customers to control line disturbance when energizing a solar farm. Federal Pacific’s assemblies switch in power transformers one at a time using our air insulated dead-front pad-mounted switchgear single circuit vacuum interrupter (VI) way. This assembly closes the vacuum fault interrupter 10 seconds after power is restored to the utility side of the VFI switch, providing a stepwise power-up for energizing the field in sequences.
In addition, Federal Pacific’s products offer simpler solutions to customers by combining multiple required service functions: protection, metering and SCADA. The air insulated dead-front pad-mounted switchgear – single circuit vacuum breaker includes 200 amp bushing well configurations to act as visible disconnects, with extra bushings available for grounding, along with lightning arrestors, internal control power and relay protection. The switchgear is also available as a metal-enclosed switchgear assembly. Alternatively, the air insulated dead-front pad-mounted switchgear – single circuit vacuum interrupter way with visible disconnect MAVRiC® offers visible physical isolation without pulling elbows. All assemblies are self-contained and provide customized protection, switching and remote control. Customers only need to drop the unit into place, connect line and load, and connect the communication.
“We’re providing the functions of circuit isolation and switching, protection, metering, communications and control in one assembly,” Jones says. “Solar sites require communication on the power that’s being generated. With our assemblies, customers can put all of their communications and control in the box. Our metering and protection are on an uninterruptible power system, so customers are able to use the box for all types of communication. This solution provides customers’ electronic equipment with a safe, controlled environment and the power that is needed to run it. They don’t have to have a separate power source or remote equipment location, which substantially reduces labor and installation time. They can also put their SCADA equipment in the box, where it’s well-protected.”
Federal Pacific’s integrated solutions for medium-voltage distribution, combined with the company’s experience, utility grade reputation, and rapid response time for fast-moving solar projects, provide cost-effective power delivery for solar farms. For more information about Federal Pacific’s products for solar applications, contact your local Federal Pacific manufacturer’s representative or visit https://www.federalpacific.com/.
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