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Bristol, VA 24201         276.669.4084

The Grid header

MARCH 2021


Russell Leonard, CEO

While 2020 was an unparalleled period of challenge and change, it also offered moments in which we could take stock of the past and plot a course forward. Because of this, we are looking ahead with a sense of curiosity, ongoing dedication to our co-workers and customers, and optimism for new ventures.

One new undertaking for Electro-Mechanical Corporation (EMC) is a redefined commitment to the growth of solar infrastructure, an area we believe is essential for the future of the transmission and distribution industry. Renewables are projected to grow faster over the next few decades than any other source of U.S. electrical generation — essentially doubling to 42% of the electricity generation mix by 2050 — and solar generation is expected to account for most of that increase, according to the latest report from the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

So that we can support this fast-growing industry sector, we are transforming space and dedicating resources to the creation of a Solar Center of Excellence within EMC. To do this, we will be closing our oldest division, Electric Motor Repair and Sales (EMR).

EMR was created in 1958 in a small building that was barely large enough to tear down and reassemble motors. It was the first of its kind in the region to offer 7-days a week, around-the-clock electrical apparatus repair, and it soon grew, shifting from a focus on textiles to support for the coal mining industry. Over the years, EMR has continued to adapt to changing needs, and the transition of its space and resources into the Solar Center for 2021 is a fitting next step. Watch for more information about this new division in upcoming issues of The Grid.

One thing that remains unchanged at EMC is the resilience and growth of our pad-mounted switchgear line. This product continues to expand with the addition of innovative, new options, one of which you will learn more about in this issue of The Grid. We expect the pad-mounted market to be robust this year, particularly with the uptick in U.S. housing starts and the ongoing population shift toward more affordable communities where people can work from home.

Last year proved that none of us can predict the challenges we will face from day to day. Whatever comes our collective way in 2021, EMC stands ready to assist. Our sales teams look forward to reaching out to you to see how we can support your engineering and distribution needs.

Federal Pacific Designs New Dead-Front, Automatic Transfer Switchgear for Major Utility Customer

Dead-front ATPSE-999 can be installed on existing pads
of legacy AT-PMH live-front designs


When a major utility in the Northeast region of the U.S. needed new equipment to replace legacy live-front automatic transfer switchgear, Federal Pacific developed a new dead-front layout that gives the customer numerous advantages over its existing product.

Federal Pacific’s automatic transfer switchgear (live-front or dead-front) is designed in an industry-standard configuration, with switches located side-by-side. However, the customer’s previous equipment was constructed with back-to-back switches, and Federal Pacific’s switchgear would not fit the customer’s existing layout and footprint. So the company worked to develop its new 15KV 95 BIL 600A dead-front switchgear, ATPSE-999 (Automatic Transfer with Back-to-Back Switches), providing a 21st-century dead-front solution that will meet the utility’s needs for many years to come.

“The ATPSE-999 is very similar to the customer’s legacy product; it just does things a bit differently,” said Chris Ambrose, switchgear product manager for Electro-Mechanical Corporation (EMC). “This pad-mounted switchgear is designed for applications where alternate sources of power are required for continued operation of critical loads. Like all Federal Pacific automatic-transfer pad-mounted switchgear, the ATPSE-999 provides automatic two-way source transfer, with the ability to connect either of the two utility sources (or a utility source and a standby generator) to the switchgear bus.”

Federal Pacific uses an SEL-451 Protection, Automation and Bay Control System to monitor the condition of both power sources. The SEL-451 initiates automatic switching when preferred-source voltage drops below a preset level for a selected length of time (field selectable) that is sufficient to establish that the voltage drop is not transitory. The switch connected to the preferred source automatically opens and the switch connected to the alternate source automatically closes, restoring power to the load.

“The Federal Pacific Type PM motor operators activate opening and closing of the Federal Pacific Auto-Jet® load-interrupter switches, and complete an automatic source-transfer operation in approximately six to eight seconds or, in an optional arrangement, as fast as 25-29 cycles,” Ambrose said. “And, most notably, the ATPSE-999’s non-compartmented, 304 stainless steel base adapter allows it to fit the existing live-front automatic transfer switchgear footprint. This new product was initially designed for a customer who already has a transfer unit; we’re just giving them a much better one that will help them keep their customers, such as hospitals and industries, in service.”


The major design features of the new ATPSE-999 include:

  • Back-to-back motor operators in Compartments 2 & 3, which allow retrofit of legacy AT-PMH live-front designs with back-to-back switches
  • Adapter base, which permits installation on existing pads of legacy AT-PMH live-front designs
  • Run-and-Trip Motor Operator, which provides 6- to 8-second transfer time
  • (25-30 cycle transfer times with available fast-transfer option)
  • SEL-451 Protection, Automation, and Bay Control System for Transfer Functions (also allows basic SCADA functions)
  • Supervisory control provisions permit switch operation from a remote location
  • Remote indication provisions permit remote monitoring of the presence or absence of preferred- and alternate-source voltage and the operating mode of the source-transfer control (i.e., automatic or manual)
  • Communication capability, which includes software and conversion cable to allow downloading of the event log and settings from the microprocessor control to a user-supplied personal computer
  • Dual 600/200 amp bushings on the switch side facilitate the installation of surge arresters or the use of protective grounds

Additional features for the air-insulated, source-transfer, pad-mounted switchgear include:

  • Two (2) 3-pole 600 amp group-operated Auto-Jet® switches, each with run-and-trip motor operators
  • Two (2) 3-phase sets of fuse mountings for SMU-20 fuses
  • Six (6) current transformers to provide current sensing on the incoming for over-current lockout scheme and current monitoring
  • Six (6) potential transformers for voltage sensing and control power on the incoming Auto-Jet® switches

“The ATPSE-999 features Federal Pacific’s automatic-transfer software program in a SEL-451 relay to monitor system conditions,” Ambrose said. “This relay automatically initiates transfer to an alternate power source if voltage on the preferred source reduces below a pre-set level. Now you have a 21st-century relay that includes SCADA communications to the outside world.”

This state-of-the art electronic relay performs control operations that are directed by settings programmed into the device at the factory and in the field. Such parametric characteristics as voltage-, current- and time-related operating parameters are entered into the relay by means of a laptop computer. The entries are readily viewed on the laptop. Internal memory with back-up battery power records events and maintains a log, allowing diagnostic capability.

Federal Pacific’s automatic-transfer scheme includes a few auxiliary components and capabilities that enhance the overall operational flexibility of the system. These include a UPS (uninterruptable power supply), test function capabilities and an electrical outlet.


The SEI-UPS provides adequate battery backup for the SEL-451 relay when control power has been lost, regardless of cause. The UPS ensures that the relay is always capable of performing its intended function, regardless of whether the normal control-power source (the voltage transformers) is available. The UPS also includes a battery charger and associated alarm circuits (in the event AC Input to the battery charger is diminished or lost, or output from the battery is diminished below acceptable levels or lost).

The test functions allow testing of the automatic-transfer scheme and the over-current lockout system, which can be performed without actually opening and closing switches. An electrical outlet supplies power for a laptop computer or other similar load requiring a limited current draw.

“In addition to all these features, this new switchgear was designed in a dead-front model for this customer, and can be installed on their existing live-front switchgear pad-top,” Ambrose said. “We always encourage customers who are willing to do so to go with dead-front switchgear because it will serve them better in the long run in most cases. We developed a dead-front design retrofit onto these legacy live-front designs with back-to-back switches, which can be used not only for this customer, but others as well who also have this legacy design.

“Live-front switchgear offers a slight cost savings over dead-front, but it’s not as reliable due to external conditions,” Ambrose noted. “Animal, insect and vegetation intrusion in live-front switchgear can lead to internal faults, potentially damaging the switchgear or locking out a substation breaker or recloser. You can maintain live-front switchgear as well as you want, but you’re only one animal intrusion away from losing it.

“Dead-front PSE switchgear, on the other hand, is designed to exclude animals, insects of any significant size or vegetation from the medium-voltage components.  Dead-front also helps with environmental factors like moisture, is very dry inside the medium-voltage compartment, and prevents road salts from getting in. Dead-front gives you more control over various circumstances, and the industry has been trending that way for a while now. This added level of protection is well suited to the critical customers typically served by automatic transfer switchgear.”

For more information about the ATPSE-999, or any of Federal Pacific’s switchgear product line, click here or call 276.669.4084.


PDS – ATPSE-999 15kV 95BIL 600A
Deadfront Switchgear

Brazill Brothers & Associates, Inc.

Brazill Brothers

EMC is excited to welcome Brazill Brothers & Associates, Inc. as Federal Pacific’s newest transformer and medium-voltage switchgear representative in Eastern Pennsylvania, Southern New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, District of Columbia and Northern Virginia. Founded in 1951, Brazill Brothers represents a broad spectrum of quality manufacturers of electrical components and supplies, and is one of the oldest and largest manufacturer reps in their markets. For more information, contact Brazill Brothers at 732-906-3500, email info@brazill.com or visit https://bit.ly/3cOXWYy.

Company Contacts

Have an order, or a question for our Electro-Mechanical staff? Here’s how to get in touch:

Jody Dutcher
VP of Sales & Marketing

Tom Streeter
Director of C&I & Utility Sales

Kent Jones
Principal Engineer

Tim Neal
Director of Inside Sales

Dave White
Eastern Regional Manager

Evan North
South Central Territory Manager

Tracy Bledsoe
Business Development Manager, Renewables – Eastern Region

Dovia Osborne
Inside Sales Manager

Rick Kinzer
Director of Mining Products

Brian Harris
Business Development Manager, Mining – Eastern Region

Troy Mickelsen
Business Development Manager, Mining & Renewables – Western Region


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