Consulting-Specifying Engineer 2014 Product of the Year finalists: Electrical distribution, systems

Read about the 25 finalists in the Electrical Distribution and Systems category for the Consulting-Specifying Engineer 2014 Product of the Year program.

By Chris Vavra April 15, 2014

Abbreviated switchgear for DEMs

The Emax Link by ABB is an abbreviated switchgear that provides electrical distribution equipment manufacturers (DEMs) an advanced solution to design and build their own UL 1558 switchgears. The Emax Link is designed and constructed to provide power distribution, protection, and safety, allowing DEMs to withstand the mechanical, electrical, and thermal stress found in manufacturing environments. Each Emax Link abbreviated switchgear section includes all frame members, panels, barriers, and bussing necessary for metal-enclosed construction, requiring only the addition of control devices, side covers, bus splices, wiring, and the Emax breakers. The Emax Link is available with a main bus rated current up to 10,000 amps at 600 V.


Photovoltaic switches

ABB has extended its OTDC switches to include 250-, 320-, and 400-amp switches designed for photovoltaic (PV) applications with a dual magnetic breaking arc. The dual magnetic breaking arc design breaks the circuit in two places, increasing the air gap while reducing the time to circuit isolation, enabling the high-voltage rating with the smaller two-pole footprint. Permanent magnets pull the arc into the arc chutes for quick extinguishing, ensuring breaking across the full ampacity range. Other features include bipolarity operation and an integrated heat sink.


Direct current circuit breakers

The SACE Emax range of low-voltage circuit breakers is completed by the new SACE Emax DC series of circuit breakers for dc applications complying with the IEC60947-2 Standard. The SACE Emax DC range allows all installation requirements to be met and protection up to 1,000 Vdc or 5,000 amps. The withdrawable circuit breakers must be associated with the fixed parts in a special version for applications at 750 and 1,000 Vdc. These circuit breakers are particularly suitable for use as bus-ties or main switch-disconnectors in dc plants, such as applications in the field of electric traction.


Circuit breakers, switch disconnectors

The SACE Tmax PV line of IEC switch disconnectors and UL switch disconnectors and molded case circuit breakers by ABB allows the user to select the most appropriate device for any solar photovoltaic (PV) need. Under IEC 60947-3, Tmax PV offers switch-disconnectors to meet standard 1,100 Vdc applications. In addition, it offers the versatility of extended capacities to 1,500 Vdc for the increasingly demanding solar applications of today’s market. Finally, connection jumpers are an available option for the IEC switch-disconnectors to increase safety and ease of installation as well as multiple formats for the ability of a uniform end product.


Touch-proof socket system

SMISSLINE TP by ABB is a touch-proof socket system that allows load-free working live without personal protective equipment and is finger-safe. When the devices are plugged in or unplugged, the system is fully touch-proof. SMISSLINE TP prevents any danger to personnel caused by switching arcs or accidental arcing. Other features include a miniature circuit breaker for up to four poles that range from 0.5 to 63 amps and motor protection. With the SMISSLINE TP socket system, changes can be made to switchgear cabinet installations directly on-site since the SMISSLINE TP socket system is automatically input wired via the busbars.


Surge, line protection solutions

Eaton’s AEGIS Series of surge and line protection solutions are designed to help original equipment manufacturers reduce downtime and maintenance costs. The devices are engineered to help protect critical equipment and power supplies, including microprocessors, programmable logic controllers, human machine interfaces, and computers. AEGIS Series devices are designed to meet evolving standards, including UL 1449 3rd edition for surge protection and UL 1283 5th edition for line protection. AEGIS Series devices include solutions specifically designed with low let-through voltages and provide high noise attenuation for critical loads and facilities with stringent application requirements.


MV motor control center

Eaton’s Ampgard XP3 medium-voltage (MV) motor control center (MCC) incorporates a controller that is designed to monitor fuse, contactor, and motor fatigue to minimize unscheduled downtime, support preventive maintenance, and enhance reliable operations. The XP3 also provides contactor-fuse coordination to quickly clear faults and minimize equipment damage upstream and downstream from the device. Digital and analog input/output boards on the XP3 eliminate complex control wiring to simplify circuit changes. Additionally, the XP3 enables control circuit modifications through software configuration rather than hardware additions. A starter display module on the XP3 indicates starter status, available fault current, incident energy, and recommended personal protection equipment to enhance personnel safety.


Load-interrupter switchgear

Eaton’s ArcGard load-interrupter switchgear is engineered to enhance operator safety during maintenance operations for industrial, commercial, and utility customers. ArcGard metal-enclosed switchgear is designed to protect personnel from dangerous arcing faults by controlling, collecting, and channeling the decomposition of the products from internal arcing faults to an area away from the perimeter of the gear. Eaton’s arc-resistant load-interrupter switchgear incorporates arc chute and flicker blade technology, which means arcing is minimized between the main blades and stationary contacts for increased equipment life. It also meets ANSI and IEEE arc-resistant standards for personnel protection.


Shunt trip safety switch

Eaton’s safety switches provide remote tripping and a visible means of disconnect for commercial and industrial applications with a shunt trip module. When signaled remotely, the device will electrically trip the switch, enhancing personnel safety. The safety switches are designed to communicate with equipment sensors to identify unauthorized or unsafe conditions, and disconnect the machine’s power source to help protect personnel and equipment. The switch is also engineered to seamlessly integrate into safety interlock systems. The switch is available in two-, three- and four-pole configurations for maximum system voltages of 600 Vac and 1,000 Vdc with fusible and nonfusible protection options.


Motor control center

Eaton’s XT MCC uses 24 Vdc control power for commercial, industrial, and original equipment manufacturer applications. The compact XT MCC is designed to support improved uptime and enhanced safety with robust power control. Communications-enabled versions of the XT MCC allow users to configure, control, and monitor their systems, so that maintenance and operations personnel can address problems before they cause downtime or excessive energy waste. Users can select from EtherNet/IP and Modbus TCP communications protocols. A gateway can also be added to enable communications with external devices using other network protocols.


Box mounting bracket

Eaton’s B-Line Business division has re-engineered its BB8-16 box mounting bracket to further improve speed of installation based on feedback from end users. The BB8-16 offers increased rigidity and compatibility with B-Line Division’s Rapid Ring Self-Adjusting Pre-Fab Ring and other features for consistent installation. Suited for conventional new construction, the new BB8-16 bracket is designed to take the guesswork out of installation by utilizing a pre-measured floor stand to ensure products are consistently mounted at a height of 18 in. Products can be assembled with an integral cable containment component to meet National Electric Code requirements and are Underwriters Laboratories listed.

Eaton’s B-Line Business

Cable support

The BRC6M cable support from Eaton’s B-Line Business can support up to six runs of metal-clad (MC) cable all in a one-piece design. Ideal for conventional new construction, the BRC6M cable support offers a one-piece design that includes a unique stud-mounting feature. Utilizing this innovative design, installers can simply push the support onto the stud where it can be left, hands-free, until eventually securing with a screw. The “zip tie” closing feature allows for easier and more reliable securing of cables. The improved design also allows the support to be securely fastened to the stud using only one screw, without sacrificing rigidity, reducing install time and material costs.

Eaton’s B-Line Business

Cable ladder series

The High Performance Ladder (HPL) Series by Eaton’s B-Line Business is designed to save tons in overall weight for offshore projects and offers a combination of low weight and high strength. This high strength-to-weight ratio allows for increased load capacities and keeps offshore weight budgets in balance. To achieve this weight reduction and improve performance, the HPL Series uses a unique I-beam rail design, allowing it to carry up to 2.3 times more load than a traditional C-channel side rail. This efficiency translates to a cable and environmental load increase while reducing weight by an average of 5%.

Eaton’s B-Line Business

Fuse selection program

The Fuses Made Simple program from Eaton’s Bussmann Business is designed to make selecting and specifying the right fuse easier for users. The program groups the low-voltage branch circuit fuse portfolio into three tiers of protection. Each tier offers distinct levels of performance benefits to help customers speed up specification and selection, while clearly identifying the level of protection. Ultimate Protection delivers a combination of all performance characteristics in one fuse. Advanced Protection provides application-specific performance for sensitive devices and critical components like motors and transformers. Basic Protection meets basic circuit protection needs for service, feeder, and branch circuit applications.

Eaton’s Bussmann Business

Surge protective devices

The SurgePOD Heavy Duty and Pro models from Eaton’s Bussmann Business are surge protective devices (SPDs) idyllic for load- and line-side protection. Ideal for a wide range of applications, both the SurgePOD Heavy Duty and Pro SPDs are Type 1 UL 1449 3rd Edition listed for easy specification and installation on the service entrance over-current protective device. They feature an ultraviolet-resistant NEMA 4X enclosure that is versatile for indoor or outdoor applications. These models have a system voltage range of up to 600 Vac, with a surge rating of 50 kilo-amps and a SCCR rating of 200 kilo-amps, along with a five-year warranty.

Eaton’s Bussmann Business

USB charging station

The Universal Serial Bus (USB) Charging Station from Eaton’s Cooper Wiring Devices Business is designed to meet commercial needs and allows users to tap into four integrated USB ports rated at 5.0 amps to quickly and easily charge any device. The new USB Charging Station can also replace traditional duplex receptacles. For easy installation, the device also includes pre-stripped wire leads, making it ideal for new construction or retrofit applications. The USB Charging Station is designed for both residential and commercial applications.

Eaton’s Cooper Wiring Devices Business

Armored cable gland

The Terminator II TMCX cable gland from Eaton Crouse-Hinds Business is an armored barrier, non-armored barrier, and TECK-armored gland used to terminate cable in hazardous locations. The cable gland is designed to minimize the opportunity for incorrect assembly and to increase corrosion resistance while maintaining integrity in the harshest environments. A simple selection process and field preparation aid the user to ensure the right gland is selected for the application. The Terminator II TMCX is complete with an integral dam to facilitate liquid pour, and its union design reduces the number of times the gland has to be assembled and disassembled during installation.

Eaton’s Crouse-Hinds Business

Ladder cable tray

The Cablofil Itray is an all-aluminum ladder cable tray that features an optimized side rail design and allows mid-span splicing while maintaining full NEMA load class. The sidewall is engineered with structural offsets and a matching splice that makes mid-span splices possible, reducing the number of supports and the amount of attachment hardware needed. The aluminum I-beam design minimizes total tray width and creates a smooth transition between straight sections and fittings. This design also means that each splice snaps in place and stays in place without bolts. Additionally, the mid-span capabilities reduce support needs by 30%.


Flat screen wall box

The Wiremold Evolution Series Flat Screen Wall Box is available in four- and two-gang options that offer complete flexibility for any combination of connectivity devices. This box supports digital displays in commercial offices, as well as other institutions. The Wiremold Evolution Series Flat Screen Wall Box features unique removable device modules that support industry-standard device plates that can be detached and removed for easier installation. The four-gang box holds two device modules. The two-gang version has one module with storage space for active audio/visual components. All modules have a removable divider for separation of power and low-voltage service.


OBC, arc fault circuit interrupter receptacle

Leviton’s SmartlockPro outlet branch circuit (OBC) arc fault circuit interrupter (AFCI) receptacle is designed to detect a wide range of arcing electrical faults to help reduce the likelihood of the electrical system being an ignition source of a fire. The receptacle’s shutter mechanism is designed to block access to the contacts from most foreign objects for improved safety. It also features reset/lockout technology. This automatically tests the AFCI every time the reset button is pushed in. By blocking the AFCI from resetting if protection has been compromised, the receptacle reduces the possibility of end users incorrectly assuming that a reset AFCI is providing protection.


Arc resistant MCC

The Model 6 arc-resistant MCC from Schneider Electric offers personnel protection in MCCs with an arc-resistant rating of 100 ms, in accordance with IEEE/ANSI C37.20.7. The structure provides arc-resistant Type 2A rating, protection of the front, rear, and sides, and comes standard with full-depth vertical wireway. Its design is intended to minimize the potential for personnel injury from dangerous arcing faults by redirecting and channeling the arc energy out of the top of the structure. The MCC is equipped with designs such as self-aligning bucket power stabs and insulated/isolated vertical bus, along with many others design features to reduce the potential of an arc flash incident.

Schneider Electric

PV circuit breakers, disconnect switches

Schneider Electric’s PowerPact PV circuit breakers and disconnect switches are designed for commercial and utility PV systems. The PowerPact PV circuit breakers and disconnect switches are a scalable solution featuring advanced protection, precision, and reliability for 600- to 1,000-V solar applications. The solution is engineered and tested to UL 489B to ensure circuit protection that meets the specific requirements of PV systems. The PowerPact PV circuit breakers operate at temperatures ranging from -25 to 70 C. The PowerPact PV circuit breakers and disconnect switches feature a compact design and come equipped with factory-installed terminal covers and serial connectors.

Schneider Electric

Arc-resistant switchgear

Schneider Electric’s Power-Zone 4 arc-resistant low-voltage switchgear is designed, tested, and certified to meet UL 1558 and the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers/American National Standards Institute C37.20.7 with Type 2B arc-resistant rating, providing arc flash protection at the front, back, and sides, while the instrument compartment door is open. The structure is designed with ArcBlok technology, which features the proven reliability and durability of Masterpact NW power circuit breakers with a new combination of arc-resistant features, and advanced arc flash containment. The ArcBlok technology is an integrated solution providing not only arc flash containment but also arc extinguishing ability within the breaker compartment.

Schneider Electric

Power distribution, lighting panelboard

Schneider Electric’s Square D I-Line Combo Panelboard combines an I-Line power distribution section and NQ or NF lighting sections into one panelboard to save time and space. The I-Line Combo Panelboard is built to the same UL 67 standard as other Square D panelboards, and provides a simple, quick installation. It also has a reduced footprint by combining a power panel with up to two lighting sections in one enclosure. The I-Line Combo Panelboard enclosures fit into the same footprint on sites where an existing Classic I-Line power panelboard resides, providing easy upgrades of electrical equipment. The Single I-Line Combo Panelboard is available in 26- and 32-in. widths.

Schneider Electric

Pre-fabricated basket tray system

The QuickTurn Basket Tray System from Thomas & Betts offers a comprehensive selection of pre-fabricated basket tray fittings that help reduce installation time by eliminating cutting fittings on the job site. In addition to standard straight sections, the QuickTurn Basket Tray System includes fittings for turns, T’s, and elevation changes. The QuickTurn Basket Tray System also eliminates on-site fabrication, which reduces worker exposure to potentially hazardous cut wire ends. Both cable tray straight sections and pre-fabricated fittings also feature integrated loops that ensure proper bonding, with no secondary cables, lugs, or straps required, and are available in a variety of configurations, sizes, colors, and accessories.

Thomas & Betts

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Author Bio: Chris Vavra is web content manager for CFE Media and Technology.