May
28

Free Ebook: Data Center Design Trends

EC& M is offering an e-book that examines everything electrical professionals need to know about the future of these mission-critical facilities. 

When you think of mission-critical facilities, data centers definitely top the list. Along with hospitals, air traffic control centers and financial institutions, data centers demand redundant reliable power 24/7. Downtime is simply not an option; neither is vulnerability.

To combat the possibility of downtime, design is a critical component of success — considering that data outages are common, costly and typically preventable. Taking a closer look at how the latest design trends affect this mission-critical market, the compilation of articles in this e-book, hand-picked by the editors of EC&M, offer new insight into this market. From technical analysis on how and why data center design, operations and delivery must evolve with the latest technology to regional/national revenue opportunities for electrical professionals to tips every contractor needs to remember when working with end-users on data center projects, this e-book offers something for everyone in the electrical industry.

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102 Hits
May
20

Eaton's touchless tool

Eaton is committed to meeting the critical needs of customers during this crisis. To help reduce health risk, Eaton has designed the Touchless Tool. This new tool helps protect all essential workers by reducing the risk of exposure to potentially harmful surface-dwelling viruses and other substances.


Easily able to be cleaned and sanitized between uses, the Touchless tool is reusable, multi-purpose and comfortable to use. Clean using soap and water or run through a dishwasher cycle.

Core features
  • Ergonomically designed to fit your hand
  • Made from durable materials, easily able to be cleaned and sanitized between uses
  • Hook design opens most standard doors and handles
  • Top of the tool includes a protrusion for pressing buttons
  • Bottom of the tool includes a slot for lanyard or key fob attachment
  • Customizable color and branding options

PROTECTED
Antimicrobial material

APPROVED FOR USE
University hospitals

REUSABLE
Cleanable. Washable.

P3 strives to bring you quality relevant industry related news.

See the original full article at: https://www.eaton.com/us/en-us/catalog/personal-protective-equipment/ppe.html

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155 Hits
May
12

Trump's Order to Secure Power System Met with Favor, Uncertainty in Utility Industry

Utilities remain uncertain on how the order intended to secure the bulk power system from foreign cybersecurity attacks will impact current projects and the installed infrastructure base. 

 U.S. President Donald Trump signed an executive order on May 1, 2020, that establishes oversight of foreign-made equipment used in the United States bulk-power system. The order stated that Energy Secretary Dan Brouillette would assemble a task force to examine current procurement policies, identify threats to security, and establish risk-management protocols to inform future procurement.

This direction comes as little surprise to the power industry, following the Administration's previous crackdowns on telecommunications providers sourcing foreign-made systems and equipment deemed by the Secretary of Commerce as posing a national security risk.

The order will affect future power equipment purchases and potentially existing installed and commissioned components at the generation and transmission level. It builds on a July 2019 North American Electric Reliability Corp. request for bulk-power system asset owners to inventory telecommunications devices manufactured by Chinese technology companies, as part of an investigation into components made by Chinese firms Huawei and ZTE Corp.

"This is much broader; it reaches across the entire industry, not just the telecommunications infrastructure," said Jason Johns, an energy market attorney with Stoel Rives, LLP. "At the same time, it is particularly broad and imprecise in terms of its application."

Still, many electric utility industry stakeholder groups took a favorable stance toward the order. In a May 1 statement, Edison Electric Institute President Tom Kuhn said, "EEI and our member companies appreciate that President Trump, through his new Executive Order, continues to make energy grid security a priority for his Administration and our nation. We have long maintained that grid security is a shared responsibility, and addressing dynamic threats to the grid requires vigilance and coordination that leverages both government and industry resources."

"This is primarily about information systems," Johns said. According to a 2018 report by Protect Our Power, a not-for-profit organization focused on advancing cybersecurity in the U.S. power grid, the convergence of IT and OT poses the most significant threat to the security of bulk power. The report, co-authored by Ridge Global, states that "[IT/OT] integration can provide greater and more efficient ease of access for a wide array of malicious actors if modern IT/OT system components are not properly secured across their 'cradle-to-grave' life-cycle."

The report warns of the "globally distributed, highly complex, and increasingly interconnected set of supply chains," including products and services, that pose a risk at many points. Additionally, it states that "the process of maintaining hardware and updating or 'patching' software products that support IT/OT systems within the U.S. electric industry also represent critical points of vulnerability." Integration, maintenance, and updates pose potential areas of risk once installed.

"A lot of the connected devices [used by utilities] are assembled in the United States," said Jeff Pack, a senior product engineer and cybersecurity expert with POWER Engineers, "but each component will have something, whether it be memory chips, boards, or processing chips, that are manufactured in foreign lands." Pack indicated that this is an area that we can start to investigate relatively quickly.

The value this order will add to existing cybersecurity frameworks, namely NERC CIP, and particularly CIP-013, which establishes supply chain standards, is still unclear. "Perhaps after the Task Force is able to issue some guidance or directives, we will be able to determine if the Executive Order provides any risk reduction or resilience to the BPS beyond what the scope of CIP-013 provides," Pack said.

The degree to which the order will establish oversight and regulation of pre-installed infrastructure is also unclear. "It could pose substantial challenges to utilities if asset owners are required to rectify existing installed infrastructure that may have technological components embedded from one or more 'adversarial countries,'" said Chuck Newton, principle at Newton-Evans Research, who tracks power equipment supply chain.

At the bulk power level, experts say many utilities are already highly informed about the equipment that exists today. "Utilities are mindful of components and equipment, and where many of the underlying parts originate. Many utilities, especially larger ones, have done a lot of supply chain investigation," Pack said.

According to Newton, very few Chinese or Russian assets exist in the field today. "Utilities are not willing to invest in Chinese equipment at this time," he said. "Over the past several years there have been some new plants built to produce large and very large power transformers in the United States, which include SPX, Hyundai, VA/GA Transformers, and MEPPI. Subsequent M&A activity has expanded foreign ownership of [United States-based] plants."

Pack was optimistic that "If [utilities] are directed to take a risk-based assessment, a lot of existing equipment could be grandfathered in and left in place if due diligence was done at the time of procurement."

Uncertainty Rules

"Right now, the biggest impact is uncertainty across the industry as far as the impact it will have on transactions," Attorney Johns said. "However supportive the industry, clarity must be provided as soon as possible, long before the 150 days allotted to the [Secretary of Energy Brouillette's] task force."

This can create perplexity for anyone who is currently sourcing components. "What about those facilities that have already signed agreements before the May 1 order? How are those impacted? Utilities will struggle to meet their current timelines, and capital expenditure planning will be impacted," Johns said.

POWER Engineers' Pack points out that the devil is in the details. "Overall, the order is probably overdue, but right now there are a lot of missing details as to what types of assets, owned by who is involved and how [Secretary Brouillette's] task force starts to put its arms around [the order] and issue guidance or directives on how it will be implemented. If the task force takes a risk-based approach, we won't see as much disruption to the industry, but right now, we don't know."

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Apr
30

Schneider Electric's Innovation Experience: Live Weekly Series

Experience live video sessions with Schneider Electric experts for PDH credit!

We are happy to bring you Innovation Experience: Live on Engineering Tuesdays!
Stay up to date with the emerging market trends and technologies, discuss customers' challenges, and present our latest products and solutions. We are here to provide education that will help you solve your customers problems. These sessions offer engineers 1 PDH credit that will be shared with you on the Specifier Portal within one week of taking the session.


The purpose of these live webinars is to offer innovative learning along with live demos, tours, and more!

As the Edge moves from a buzzword to a tangible computing ecosystem that needs resources and tools, more and more questions arise around resiliency including physical security, staffing, standardization and integration, and monitoring and management of distributed IT equipment. In this session, with the power of Schneider Electric's Innovation Experience: LIVE experience, you will learn and about and see actual examples of how customers are approaching these rapidly evolving critical environments.

 May 5th

IEBC Experience: Live - Building resiliency at the edge 

As the Edge moves from a buzzword to a tangible computing ecosystem that needs resources and tools, more and more questions arise around resiliency including physical security, staffing, standardization and integration, and monitoring and management of distributed IT equipment. In this session, with the power of Schneider Electric's Innovation Experience: LIVE experience, you will learn and about and see actual examples of how customers are approaching these rapidly evolving critical environments.

 May 5th

IEBC Experience: Live - Building resiliency at the edge 

Digital and technology disruptions and transformations are happening everywhere including in commercial, industrial, and telco applications which are driving increasingly more compute to new locations away from traditional data centers. In this session, with the power of Schneider Electric's Innovation Experience: LIVE experience, we will review the wide variety of infrastructure architectures for the many unique environments encountered. A review of micro, row-based, pod-based, modular and more are reviewed.

May 19th
IEBC Experience:Live- Power Solutions for LV and MV Mission Critical Environments

Join John Gray on a journey into our Low and Medium Voltage Offers in Mission Critical Environments.Presenter: John Gray Power systems manager w guests.

 P3 strives to bring you quality relevant industry related news.

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563 Hits
Apr
23

Electrical Industry vs. COVID-19

See how product manufacturers, electrical contractors, industry associations, and individuals are helping during the coronavirus crises.

Innovative, intelligent, industrious, and inspirational are just a few words that come to mind when describing the army of individuals who make up the U.S. electrical industry. Undoubtedly, COVID-19 is presenting us (and most others across the nation) with unprecedented challenges. Instead of dwelling on the negative aspects of the pandemic, P3 is giving a well-deserved shout out to all those industry members who are helping to make a difference in the battle against coronavirus. Thank you!


Schneider Electric ensuring power continuity & matching employee donations

Schneider Teams in the field are working in record time to deliver and serve hospitals and grid infrastructure. They are joining forces with other industrial companies to manufacture ventilators. Schneider's main contribution is ensuring power and IT connectivity in US Field Hospitals in the fight against COVID-19.

Schneider Electric commits the first investment to relief funds and will match donations of employees. Stakeholders, shareholders, suppliers and clients, also have the opportunity to participate.

Eaton donating​ manufactured supplies, providing power management expertise​, & matching employee donations​

Eaton is using its manufacturing, producing a number of much-needed materials, including non-contact door openers and face shields, for healthcare workers. They have developed a touchless tools that helps medical workers avoid contact with surfaces. Eaton has reached out to academic institutes and industry partners to offer assistance in the production of ventilators and powered, air-purifying respirators. Eaton employees are gathering personal protective equipment, including safety glasses, gloves, goggles and N95 face masks available at their facilities and delivering these supplies to local collection sites. Eaton is also matching 2:1 any donation employees make to organizations providing COVID-19 relief.

Milbank Manufacturing

Milbank Manufacturing is producing personal protection equipment (PPE) to be used by first responders and medical care providers in the Kansas City metro area. The company used 3D printing capabilities to produce nearly 500 face shields, all of which were donated to health care workers.


Graybar Electric 

As a leading distributor that works in a critical infrastructure industry as defined by the Federal Government, Graybar is doing everything they can to maintain their normal work schedule in accordance with CDC guidelines around workplace health, safety and social distancing. Graybar has been helping in a number of ways, one of which involves donating essential supplies to hospitals.

MidAmerican Energy suspending disconnections, waiving late fees

MidAmerican Energy, a major utility serving Iowa, will be giving customers relief from delinquent payment shutdowns until further notice in response to hardships from the spread of the novel coronavirus. MidAmerican Energy said they would stop disconnecting customers for non-payment, as well as waive deposits and late fees.

P3 strives to bring you quality relevant industry related news.

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241 Hits
Apr
16

Do you know how to calculate branch-circuit loads?

Mike Holt, National Electrical Code (NEC) expert discusses how to calculate branch-circuit loads in his latest article:

Article 220 of the 2020 National Electrical Code (NEC) contains the requirements for calculating demand loads for branch circuits, feeders, and services. Table 220.3 lists references for branch-circuit calculations for specific equipment in Chapter 4.

Calculate your branch-circuit, feeder, and service loads using nominal system voltages, (e.g., 120V, 120/240V, 120/208V, 240V, 277/480V, 480V) unless other voltages are specified [Sec. 220.5(A)].

What if you do a calculation and get a fraction of an amp? You can round the answer to the nearest whole number, with decimal fractions smaller than 0.50 dropped [Sec. 220.5(B)].

Calculate the floor area from the outside dimensions of the building, dwelling unit, or other area involved [Sec. 220.11]. For dwelling units, the calculated floor area does not include open porches, garages, or unused or unfinished spaces not adaptable for future use.

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P3 strives to bring you quality relevant industry related news.

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Apr
09

Live Demos from the Schneider Electric Innovation Briefing Center

Starting in April, Schneider Electric will be hosting a series of interactive webinars broadcasted live every Wednesday from the Schneider Electric Innovation Experience Briefing Center in St. Louis. The purpose of these live demo webinars is to keep you up to date with emerging market trends and technologies, discuss customers' challenges, and present our latest products and solutions. Check the agenda from the link below and register for the webinars of your choice! 

​Date ​Topic
​April 1st, 2020 ​The Power of Data Center Modernization: Identifying & Capitalizing on this Opportunity
​April 8th, 2020​Considerations for Small to Mid-Sized Data Centers, Commercial Buildings and Industrial Facilities
​April 15th, 2020​Innovation at the Edge with Micro Data Center Solutions
​April 22nd, 2020​Why remote IT infrastructure management is critical to your business — and your customers
​April 29th, 2020​Battery Talk: VRLA vs. Lithium Ion
​May 6th, 2020​Industrial Solutions in Mixed & Converged IT-OT Environments
​May 13th, 2020​Monitoring and Dispatch + Netbotz
​May 20th, 2020​Data Centers: Row, Pod, Modular & Beyond

P3 strives to bring you quality relevant industry related news.

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417 Hits
Apr
06

COVID-19’s Impact on the Construction Industry

 Cities halt construction while country faces economic downturn

As the coronavirus disease advances across the United States, various industries and nearly all aspects of the supply chain continue to be impacted, including the construction industry – and by default, skilled workers, electricians, engineers, and more.

According to a Boston Globe report from March 16, Boston Mayor Martin J. Walsh ordered a stop to all construction projects within the city in an attempt to slow the spread of the virus, the first move of its kind in the nation. Chief Executive Officer of the Associated General Contractors of America (AGC) Stephen E. Sandherr responded in a press release, arguing the city's actions will undermine the construction industry's efforts to add hospital capacity.

Additionally, Sandherr said construction workers already take many precautions to protect themselves and others from the spread of infection, including the use of personal protective equipment (PPE), gloves, and increased hygiene. "Given the precautions already in place, halting construction will do little to protect the health and safety of construction workers," he said in the release. "But it will go a long way in undermining economic vitality by depriving millions of workers of the wages they will need over the coming days. At the same time, these measures have the potential to bankrupt many construction firms who have contractual obligations to stay on schedule or risk incurring significant financial penalties."

Other states and cities are bound to see significant construction decline, as well. According to a March 19 report from Engineering News Record (ENR), all construction operations in the state of Pennsylvania were ordered to stop, which includes heavy/civil, building, institutional, residential, and specialty trade work. Likewise, New York City officials are calling for a pause to non-essential construction within all five boroughs, a Curbed New York article from March 20 says. A Chicago Tribune story also predicts a slowdown to Chicago's 10-year construction boom due to added safety precautions being implemented on job sites in an attempt to avoid a complete construction shutdown. Meanwhile, in California, a March 20 article from Politico says plans are underway to deploy thousands of construction workers in order to retrofit hospitals, hotels, and buildings in response to the outbreak.

Robert Dietz, chief economist for the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB), is predicting coronavirus will cause a sharp economic downturn that may also be short. 2Q 2020 GDP growth will be markedly negative and probably the country's worst performance since 3Q 2008, during the great recession. A weak 3Q will likely be followed by a rebound at the end of 2020.

Even if cities or states do not call for direct halts to construction, the effects of coronavirus as a pandemic are far-reaching. According to a report from Construction Dive, Chief Economist for Dodge Data & Analytics Richard Branch estimated that 30% of building products in the U.S. are imported from China, making it the nation's largest single supplier. While China seems to be slightly rebounding from the disease, its decreased manufacturing output is still expected to impact construction in the United States.

On March 20, AGC held a webinar called "The Latest Developments on the Coronavirus and What That Means for the Construction Industry." Hosted by Sandherr, several national staff members addressed various aspects of the industry, including safety measures, contracts/legal information, economic impacts, and more. Following is a summary of some of the webinar's key points.

Member survey results. AGC's Chief Economist Ken Simonson delivered coronavirus survey results from the organization's members, with a total of 909 responses as of March 19. Notable results include 28% of respondents being asked by an owner or government agency to stop current work; 11% were asked by an owner or government agency to stop future work; and 22% received a notice from suppliers that deliveries will be late or cancelled. Regarding project delays or disruptions, 16% experienced a shortage of materials, equipment, or parts; 11% saw a shortage of craftworkers, including subcontractors; 18% saw shortage of government workers; and 8% received information that an infected worker has potentially infected a worksite.

Positive and negative economic impacts. The COVID-19 outbreak is expected to bring several long-lasting and short-term negative consequences. Simonson said these may include disruptions to work or cancelled projects; potentially less demand for "non-essential" projects like offices, entertainment, and sports facilities; reduced/missed payments by owners; and a slow economic rebound across many industries. On the positive side, Simonson cited selected new projects to respond to the crisis, like healthcare and lodging; substantial price reductions for commodities like fuel; and a slow rebound for commodity prices.

Safety standards. Kevin Cannon, AGC's senior director, safety & health services, said the Department of Labor (DOL) and OSHA issued new guidelines on preparing workplaces for COVID-19 and recording workplace exposures to the disease. Since information and news on the disease keep evolving, OSHA has already updated this information once and may likely do it again.

Coronavirus and contracts. Brian Perlberg, senior counsel, construction law and contracts, discussed this outbreak as a "force majeure," as it is an unforeseeable event that no party controls or is at fault. He advises contractors to read back through the contract to see if it makes an adjustment for time or money. Each contract is different, and its verbiage will show what is allowed. For example, the ConsensusDocs 6.2.1(j) specifically listing epidemics as an excused delay, while AIA A201 General Conditions has a catch-all for acts beyond the contractor's control as determined by the architect.

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355 Hits
Mar
30

Electrical Rooms Likely to Grow Larger

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 New 2020 NEC egress requirements around large equipment will require more space.

When designing future projects to meet the requirements of the 2020 Edition of the National Electrical Code (NEC), chances are your electrical rooms, power distribution centers, and substations will grow a bit larger. Why? There was one simple sentence added to Sec. 110.26(C)(2), which states: "…Open equipment doors shall not impede the entry to or egress from the working space…".

The electrical equipment being referred to in this Section specifically includes any piece of electrical equipment containing "overcurrent devices, switching devices, or control devices" if the equipment is either: (1) rated 1,200A or more and over 1.8 m (6 ft) wide, or (2) the service disconnecting means installed in accordance with Sec. 230.71 where the combined ampere rating is 1,200A or more and over 1.8 m (6 ft) wide.

Even though this requirement was added to Sec. 110.26 (1,000V or less) by way of Sec. 110.30, this change will apply to ALL large electrical equipment meeting the above-mentioned criteria, regardless of the voltage level. This change will most likely result in a substantial increase in the size of most rooms containing large motor control centers or switchgear.

For many years, most Authorities Having Jurisdiction (AHJs) have categorized most cases where there are two pieces of opposing equipment fronts to be a "Condition 3" situation [either NEC Table 110.26(A)(1) or Table 110.34(A)]. It will be interesting to see if AHJs will now require the requisite 24 in. egress space where opposing equipment doors can be fully opened simultaneously. This condition could occur either where the open doors are directly across from one another or at opposite ends of the working space. If the new requirement gets applied in this manner, the electrical room size could increase even more.

This rule change is new to the 2020 NEC, but it's just a matter of time before it is incorporated into OSHA 29 CFR Part 1910, Subpart S. However, in the United States and its territories, OSHA inspectors already actively enforce the NEC as part of worker safety required by the General Duty Clause 5(a)(1), which requires employers to provide safe working environments and conditions. So, the inevitable inclusion as part of 29 CFR Part 1910 is somewhat irrelevant.

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351 Hits
Mar
23

Schneider Electric EcoStruxure Micro Data Center Webinar

Simple. Secure. Low Profile. That's our new Micro Data Center.

Join us, Thursday, March 26th at 2:00pm EST as we deep dive into our newest 6U EcoStruxure Micro Data Center during our first webinar of 2020. This webinar will feature Gail Fredrickson, Director, Channel Marketing & Strategy Execution, Chelsie Ritarossi, Sr. Manager, Channel Marketing & Communications and Jeremy Edwards, Director, Channel Sales as they discuss...

  • The features & benefits of the new 6U EcoStruxure Micro Data Center
  • How to leverage this offer for distributed edge and network environments
  • Where you can deploy this next!
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640 Hits
Mar
18

P3: Ready to Serve - Response to COVID-19 Pandemic


Building Confidence in Power 



The U.S. response to the COVID-19 pandemic is requiring changes in the way we do business and redefining the new normal. Critical facilities and systems that were overlooked in the past are now at the forefront of our future. Server rooms and wiring closets can be the pivot point between what happens remotely and what is needed on-site. We specialize in keeping the power on and protecting these systems.

As we all struggle to navigate this new normal, we want to remind you that P3 - Power Protection Products, Inc. is here to help your company strengthen and reinforce your critical infrastructure and support systems. P3 has a team of experts that are on the job and available via a variety of electronic methods to support the projects we are collaborating on together and assist with any critical equipment requirements and inquiries. If you need more run time, we can provide batteries. If you need more capacity, we can rapidly upgrade your system. If you need monitoring and remote control, we can help with that as well.

If you are looking for ways to remotely manage your critical facilities, we are here for you! P3 provides remote monitoring services for ALL brands of Mission Critical equipment and it can be installed in most facilities without a site visit. We provide remote monitoring service for your critical equipment which increases resiliency and transparency through service personnel equipped with real‑time device data to quickly troubleshoot and dispatch. We make it easy for your team to respond.

P3 has a network of partner Field Service Engineers located in your area to ensure that specific needs are rapidly met. Our supply parts and service organization remain fully operational to support all critical facilities and can be reached at P3 Care 877-393-1223

With almost 25 years serving the mission critical community, P3 stands ready to serve your needs. Do not hesitate to put us to work.

We look forward to partnering with you to prepare for the new normal and the related challenges ahead.

 Leading the Industry in Power Quality Solutions

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448 Hits
Mar
17

Digital Twins Are Changing The Grid

Twinning is the process of linking the physical world and virtual reality with amazing results. 

Digital technology is getting more dynamic every day and harder to understand, but sometimes the most advanced technologies are the result of timing. It's connecting the dots, or perhaps bridging the gap because of the ability to understand the data faster or the flexibility to understand what the technology is saying. The non-technical person may talk about stars aligning or a perfect storm of events, but that isn't the case here. It is taking the old "thinking outside the box" approach to a new level by grabbing existing applications and integrating them into a different function, which is where digital twinning comes in.

The digital twin was introduced almost two decades ago, but some say the concept dates back even further to the period when the first computer-aided design (CAD) systems came into the engineering department. As CAD software matured, engineers were able to develop 3D models of the what they were designing. When combined with automation, the engineers could see how their designs worked. It gave them the ability to see simulations of the devices before they were built.

With that type of a tool, it wasn't long before engineers started asking, "What if we could monitor the actual equipment?" Maybe they could monitor the health of the device or identify problem areas, or improve efficiencies. The potential was there, and it attracted a great deal of attention. A lot of things fell into place, and keeping it simple, these 3D CAD models evolved into the early digital twin theory.

Collateral Improvements

Smart technology with its intelligent sensors and transducers moved theory into the real world. These devices needed to become markedly more sophisticated, substantially smaller, and much cheaper, which they did. This promoted the concept of interconnectivity and fed the development of sophisticated communications systems such as today's 5G technology. In this environment, the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) technology became possible and brought about dynamic monitoring and controlling of industrial assets and processes.

It helped that HPC (high performance computing) was developed and led the way to new applications like the cloud infrastructure, which was an ideal environment for the big-data these systems generated. This setting is making data storage cheaper and more available to the entire enterprise. It is also a boost to big data analytics and the spreading of asset simulations integrated with artificial intelligence (AI) and augmented reality. Overall, this combination of the physical world with smart technology is being called Industry 4.0, but that subject covers a flock of interesting topics that needs exploration, and like eating the proverbial elephant, digital twinning will be our first bite.

What is Digital Twin?

The digital twin has been compared to a bridge between the real world and the virtual world that has produced tangible tools for the heavy industry. Granted, that tactic is really a simplified summation, but it reflects how everything in the digital technology realm is interrelated in one way or another. Before moving on with the digital twinning discussion, it is important to define exactly what digital twins are. Typically a digital twin is compared to a digital copy of physical assets, but that description only scratches the surface and a digital twin is a lot more than that characterization.

To quote GE Digital, "Digital twins are software representations of assets and processes that are used to understand, predict, and optimize performance in order to achieve improved business outcomes. Digital twins consist of three com- ponents: a data model, a set of analytics or algorithms, and knowledge."

The digital twin technology is being used by many industries such as aerospace, defense, healthcare, transportation, manufacturing, and energy. Heck, it's even been used Formula 1 racing for several years. Basically more end users are coming onboard all the time and the list of major players in the market grows every day too. This includes companies such as ABB, Accenture, Cisco, Dassault Systèmes, General Electric, IBM, Microsoft, Oracle, Schneider Electric, and Siemens to name a few.

It is definitely a growth market and a quick check shows some interesting figures. Depending on which study is read or which expert is quoted, the global marketplace was about US$3.8 billion in 2019 and the projected growth is estimated to range from US$35 billion to US$40 billion by 2025 at a CAGR (Compounded Annual Growth Rate) anywhere from 37% to 40%. No matter which figures are picked, the common denominator is the market is growing and it's growing at an attention getting pace.

Growth is being driven by the benefits digital twin technology offers such as asset management, real-time remote monitoring, real-time and predictive performance evaluation, predictive equipment failure, and other money saving advantages. For the grid, probably one of the most promising digital twin features is improved reliability and resiliency by more situational awareness. Being able to mine big-data for actionable information has proven helpful predicting delays or unplanned downtime. The takeaway for any business is simple, there is a digital twin in its future.

Need For Standards

That said, the power delivery system hasn't been the quickest industry to deploy digital twin. Cloud-based applications like digital twinning bring the challenge of selecting correct data, the validity of the model, maintaining the process, and cybersecurity threats to name a few items. There are also some very real interoperability concerns (i.e., the digital twins from one supplier may not play well with digital twins from another supplier).

There are no standardized digital twin platforms, and that is a major speed bump for widespread digital twin deployment by utilities. It's not hard to imagine a utility or several interconnected utilities having a gaggle of digital twins that will not operate together. It is reminiscent of the early days of smart grid when intelligent electronic devices (IEDs) with peer-to-peer protocols were being introduced.

In those early days, IEDs offered amazing features and benefits, but only a few utilities took advantage because it meant sole-sourcing one supplier, and that kept most utilities on the sidelines when it came to deployment. It didn't take long for all the stakeholders to get behind the development of vendor-agnostic interoperability standards such as IEC-61850. It was hard work, but the results speak for themselves. IEDs have developed into plug-and-play systems that are in use around the world and that needs to happen in digital twinning, but let's look at some examples of digital twin use.

Digital Twin Projects

Back in 2015, GE Renewables introduced the first digital wind farm to the world. The turbines had sensors and transducers throughout their assemblies monitoring how each turbine was working. These monitoring devices sent big-data to a remote operations center where the digital twin powered by GE's Predix software provided visualizations and advanced analytics for the operators. Today GE reports it has more than 15,000 wind turbines operating in the digital twin mode.

American Electric Power (AEP) recently announced it has contracted with Siemens to provide a digital twin of their transmission system. Siemens reported, "The AEP project is the largest and most complex to date, partly because AEP's presence extends from Virginia to Texas. Not only is the digital twin enhancing the utility's previous data governance strategy, the system has to be flexible enough to accommodate its continued evolution by allowing 40 AEP planners in five states access to the model and to make changes as needed, too."

Siemens also said, "AEP also wanted a system to help it automatically perform functions that up to now have been executed manually, such as assuring data compliance with the number of regulatory agencies in the eleven states it serves. The system will ensure reliability and reduce outages in a network that consists of conductors (cables) made of different physical materials spanning varying topographies and differing climates."

According to a press release from Principle Power, the Department of Energy (DOE) has given a US$3.6 million grant to a consortium of partners led by Principle Power including Akselos. SA, American Bureau of Shipping, University of California Berkeley and others. The funding will be used to develop, validate, and operate DIGIFLOAT, the world's first digital twin software designed for floating offshore wind farms on the WindFloat Atlantic project.

Another recent press release announced Nation Grid was partnering with Utilidata and Sense to create a pilot project that is a first of-a-kind digital twin application. It's a virtual model that will represent an "end-to-end image of their electric grid. It will be capable of mapping power flow, voltage, and infrastructure from the substation into the home. The goal is to demonstrate the value of real-time data across the grid.

Digital twinning is making inroads into the electric grid and that isn't surprising. After all controlling the grid is all about data and being able to act on it. To paraphrase some experts, those failing to take advantage of digital twins will be left behind.

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Mar
11

An updated fault current definition and additions to NEC Article 408 help increase safety

This past summer, National Electrical Code (NEC) and National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) committee members updated fault current definitions and added new requirements related to switchboards, switchgear and panelboards in NEC Article 408. I believe the updates will make it easier for installers, designers and inspectors to ensure this electrical equipment is applied within their rating for safer power distribution systems.

The changes
New unified terminology for short-circuit current and fault current will provide clarity as these terms had been used interchangeably throughout the NEC.

In parallel, new requirements were added to NEC Article 408 to support the proper application of electrical products concerning short-circuit current rating (SCCR) and interrupting ratings of overcurrent protection devices (OCPDs).

Together, these changes are important because they reduce the likelihood of electrical hazards. The SCCR calculations and equipment labels will instrumental to informing maintenance practices and future equipment upgrades.

 The rationale for change

Definition language

The definition now states that "available fault current" is the highest short-circuit current that can flow at a particular point in the electrical system. "Maximum available short-circuit current" and "short-circuit current" were also changed to "available fault current."

Markings
Previously, the NEC did not require that switchboards, switchgear and panelboards have labeled SCCR and available fault current values. Now, Article 408.6 does.

The NEC 2020 code review reaffirmed a straightforward practice that's proven quite successful:

  • Know the SCCR of equipment and the interrupting rating of the OCPD
  • Know the available fault current
  • Compare the two, making sure the fault current is less than the rating

What might the future hold?
In my opinion, the changes offer common-sense solutions for everyday issues encountered in the field. But, as with any Code change, I expect some in our industry will have to adjust how they work over the short- and long-term.

"As with any Code change, I expect some in our industry will have to adjust how they work over the short- and long-term. "
Thomas Domitrovich, Eaton vice president, technical sales

Short term

Getting used to the Code

The new language "available fault current" in replace of "maximum available short-circuit current" may give some readers pause. I expect the adjustment period to be short because, while the language has changed, the intent remains the same.

Calculations are a must

This is a significant change due to the sheer volume of equipment that must now be marked with available fault current. I believe the new requirement will drive home the importance of performing fundamental equipment evaluations at install.

Long term

Additional labeling

The way equipment is labeled may need to be examined and changed. For instance, when a panelboard is shipped, the manufacturer often has no way of knowing what OCPDs will be placed inside. The standards for these products require that a label reflect how to determine the SCCR, not the SCCR of the panel, which is dependent upon the lowest interrupting rating of the breaker that's installed. It's up to the installer and the Authority Having Jurisdiction to determine that panelboard's overall SCCR.

Additional SCCR marking requirements for other types of equipment during installation may come to fruition. It's important to remember there are different levels of protection available. When equipment is clearly labeled with SCCR, it will help raise awareness that any replacements or additions should have a minimum interrupting rating per the marking. I believe this will help reduce the likelihood of a technician installing an insufficient breaker when adding a circuit or replacing a faulty device and will raise the awareness of the proper continued maintenance and servicing of equipment after the fact.

Designing big from the start

It's vital to remember that electrical systems change and many organizations plan to expand their facilities. And while most design engineers account for growth, on commercial projects, where the bottom line is king, builders may look to the least expensive option without accommodating the future: motor additions, transformer increases and the like. In my opinion, stepping up to the next interrupting rating is a better choice than cutting it too close. I encourage all designers and contractors to closely align with customers on a comprehensive plan for their system:

  • Designers: Work with clients to understand their growth potential over the next five to 10 years and develop plans that allow for expansion.
  • Contractors: Refrain from "value engineering" builds. Work with customers to access future growth potential and explain how slightly higher costs today can save them time and money tomorrow.

"I encourage all designers and contractors to closely align with customers on a comprehensive growth plan."
Thomas Domitrovich, Eaton vice president, technical sales

Can we define growth overages for fault current?

While the available fault current language changes and additions to Article 408 greatly enhance safe OCPD installation, I believe the NEC can do more to provide a fault current overage baseline to help all understand when to recommend increased protections. I've spoken with numerous inspectors and many feel there's an opportunity to establish effective interrupting rating requirements, perhaps by looking to the NEC's exploration of adding overage requirements for calculations as a guide.

My question to the NEC: can we establish fault overage guidelines for electrical designs? For instance, how close to 10,000 amps should designers get before bumping up to a 22,000-amp breaker? Would a 1,000-amp baseline suffice? Or 2,000 amps? Whether for NEC requirements or industry practice, a dialog regarding guidelines that help designers and contractors understand when it's appropriate to go to the next level of protection to maintain safety if and when distribution systems expand would help drive change.
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Mar
09

As Building Infrastructures Age, Up-to-date Assessments Can Ensure High Performance and Resilience

Changes to a building that occur over time can often make building performance less efficient and less resilient. As time goes on, building use characteristics often diverge from those that were used initially to design and commission a building. A good example of this is improper outside air ventilation rates which can lead to problems with indoor air quality (IAQ), or excess operational costs. Building power and cooling infrastructure components can also wear out and fall out of calibration. As more and more powered equipment gets added, power capacities are exceeded, and unanticipated downtime issues begin to emerge.

As systems age, they decline in performance, which leads to failures that significantly impact the bottom line. A perfect example is a research facility that examines proteins and crystals in their research of bacteria and virus-borne diseases. The facility recently decided to upgrade its installed base of microscopes in response to pharmaceutical customer demand for more accuracy. Their existing building power infrastructure supported a 1-megawatt (MW) power switch, which was previously adequate as the building consumed 600 kW of power on an average day, and nosed up to 800 KW on the hottest of summer days when air conditioning systems work at full capacity.

Given the required upgrade, a cost effective, steady power supply with peaks in excess of 1MW was now required in order to accommodate stringent purity requirements and to avoid losing both data and research samples.

Our solution was to implement a lithium-ion-based energy storage solution physically located inside of the building. The battery selected for this purpose supplies stored power to the facility when demand spikes over 1MW and then recharges from the grid. This cost-effective change to the lab's existing power infrastructure successfully managed the building's increased power capacity requirements and helped the research lab remain competitive in their market.
Approaches for validating current building requirements

For organizations seeking to ensure consistent building power, cooling, and building automation performance, here are some preliminary steps that should be taken to validate requirements:

Identify common needs of both traditional and new critical infrastructure – Building owners need to periodically assess the health of different types of building critical infrastructure. This includes both generators and power distribution systems and the IT backbone – anything that keeps the building on its mission at a predictable operating cost. These infrastructure pillars need to be assessed in order to determine whether changes to the building have altered the efficiencies.
Identify needs unique to your facility – Understanding the unique requirements of the building under management also heavily impacts how technology is deployed to improve performance. Sports arenas, for instance, have a specialized need for higher dehumidification. High precision temperature control and monitoring are needed to both accommodate tens of thousands of fans and to assure that ice rink temperatures, for example, are properly maintained.

Healthcare facilities require more highly regulated environments. Circulating air has to be regularly monitored. Sophisticated backup power systems are required since connected hospitals have no real ability to shut down. In government and municipal buildings–such as prisons and K-12 public schools–a higher focus on safety and security emerges as a primary concern. Commercial buildings are focused more on comfort and lighting so that employee productivity can be maintained. Knowing the unique characteristics of your building and applying the right building automation technologies suited to those unique needs is a key performance driver.
Changing times demand more building resilience

Regardless of the type of facility, building owners also need to be aware that building resilience is emerging as a growing need. For many years, predictable building performance was taken for granted by the occupants. But now, the existing power grid has grown older. As power sources such as coal and nuclear phase out in the US, new solar and wind power are being introduced. These changes make power quality more intermittent and downtime can now occur in areas where power fluctuations were once rare. In addition, pockets of businesses continue to expand across regions driving more demand for clean, "always on" power. In these cases, building infrastructures need to be reexamined in order to withstand the demands of the "new normal."


To learn more about how digitized building automation solutions can improve building performance, visit the Schneider Electric EcoStruxure for Buildings web site.​

P3 strives to bring you quality relevant industry related news.

See the original full article at: https://blog.se.com/building-management/2019/11/12/building-infrastructures-age-assessments-high-performance-resilience/

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Mar
02

Eaton's Current Thinking Broadcast Series, Episode 4: Keeping up with the Code

Watch experts from the electrical industry and Eaton offer their take on changes to the 2020 National Electrical Code (NEC). Get a better understanding of how the Code is updated, recent changes and what to expect as the 2023 code takes shape.

Understand how code updates are made

Learn about the biggest factors that go into updating the Code during each review cycle, who participates in code-making panels and how updates are determined and approved. We'll also debunk some of the myths and misconceptions about how code updates are made. Hint, they're not just driven by manufacturers.

Implement updates to the 2020 NEC

We'll discuss some of the biggest modifications to the Code and go behind the scenes to understand the process that drove the changes. A wide variety of updates will be discussed: from GFCI expansion to load calculations for LED lighting to service entrance changes. We'll look at some of the drivers behind these changes and where industry can turn to get more information.

Prepare for the 2023 code

A conversation around the additions we can expect to see that weren't included in the latest update and how businesses can prepare for upcoming changes while also helping encourage adoption of the changes in their own states.

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Feb
20

Eaton's Surge Protection FAQ

P3 offers a comprehensive range of surge protective devices (SPDs) designed to meet the needs of virtually any environment or application manufactured by Eaton. Before determining the optimal device for your facility, it is helpful to gain a general understanding of the importance of surge protection and the key factors to consider. Learn more from the link below:

P3 strives to bring you quality relevant industry related news.

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Feb
17

Has Smart Grid Technology Impacted Utility Fatality Rates or Job Numbers?

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) recently reported there were 5250 fatal work injuries recorded in the United States in 2018, representing a 2% increase from the 5147 in 2017. Although there is no acceptable number of fatalities, the 44 deaths in 2018 in the North America Industry Classification System (NAICS) utilities sector were well below numerous other sectors. For all job classifications, homicides, roadway incidents, falls, and being struck by an object each resulted in more deaths than exposure to electricity. Is the lower fatality incident rate for utilities (2.6/100,000) compared with the construction industry (9.5/100,000) — which includes trade electricians — because of the implementation of digital and other smart grid technologies? Also, does the developing smart grid era portend fewer or more electric utility jobs?

BLS data historically identified being an electrician as one of the 10 most dangerous jobs. The data issued to date for 2018 provides a more nuanced story. Fatalities in the utilities sector, including all types of utility workers, were relatively low. Fatalities in the construction and extraction occupational sectors (see graphic) were high and within the 10 most dangerous classifications. The construction sector (NAISCS 23) includes specialty trade contractors (NAISICS 238), which covers electricians. While sector breakdowns do not include the number of fatalities by occupation, a straight percentage allocation of the total would indicate 160 electricians working as construction subcontractors lost their lives in 2018. To be clear, this is an estimate for comparison with the 44 utility employee deaths.

There are a host of job differences when comparing utility workers with electricians working as subcontractors, frequently on construction sites. One thought-provoking concept is that smart grid systems at utilities are affecting fatality rates by reducing or eliminating some of the most hazardous tasks. Consider advanced distribution management systems that can clear some grid faults and avoid having line workers make unnecessary trips during inclement weather. Also, look at the reduced exposure to energized cables resulting from the digitalization of substations and other grid components. The smart grid initiative also includes an increased emphasis on renewable energy and measures such as demand management. Such technologies may limit the transmission and distribution (T&D) of power, but they also place electrical systems in work settings where staff may not be adequately trained. However, there is no compelling evidence in literature to date indicating that smart grid technologies are impacting the incidence rate of workplace fatalities, even though some of the arguments both ways are logical.

Most electric utility employees don't spend their time worrying about the singularity — a hypophysis concerning when technological advancement will overtake and potentially eliminate humankind. However, some may worry about technological advancements eliminating their jobs. It's clear from our experience to date that some roles are becoming less essential while others will be created or a will have a higher priority. Consider the reduced need for meter readers with the adoption of advanced metering infrastructure (AMI) or the decline in customer service operators with automated response systems. Conversely, look at the increased and new roles in information services, analytics, and communications technology.

BLS data indicate utility worker jobs have declined by only 2.3% in the 10 years since the beginning of 2009. This is the same period during which we've seen huge investment in smart grid infrastructure by the electric industry. However, reviewing the data timeline below, one might argue the worker decline is more a vestige of the great recession which began in 2008 than a result of the adoption of smart grid technology.


Source: BLS — Employment in the Utilities Sector

A detailed assessment released nine years ago by the Illinois Institute of Technology (IIT) and West Monroe Partners predicted more than 100 job classifications in a range of businesses and industry subsectors would be affected by the expansion of smart grid technology. The study identified gaps between existing skills and competency levels relative to those needed for the transformation of the power industry. Further, it stated that the smart grid would bring new job duties, titles, and roles to the power industry, but stopped short of finding a major workforce expansion. In fact, the study reported that workforce growth could be hampered by learning curve pains and significant age-related worker attrition occurring in the industry. Time appears to have confirmed these predictions.

The fate of utility job numbers vis-a-vis the smart grid now squarely rests with utilities themselves. It's fair to say we are past the learning curve pains and training shortages reported in the IIT study. Further, one industry assessment after another predicts high growth for the foreseeable future in smart grid technologies and their applications. The only question is will utilities seize on the new opportunities presented by this transformation and hire the employees needed to pursue them, or allow third-party businesses to fill the void?

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Feb
10

T & D Linemen Photo Contest Winners

This year's 2020 Lineman Life photo gallery celebrates the linemen who put in long hours in severe weather conditions to keep the lights on. Linemen from across North America submitted images of linemen in action for the photo competition. 

Sean Daly / National Grid

 1. Restoring Power

This photo of National Grid linemen working a storm in New York captured first place in the 2020 Lineman Life phot
Ben Williams / National Grid

2. Getting the Job Done:
Voters loved the dramatic silhouette in this photo from Ben Williams of National Grid. "No matter how complicated, a lineman will always get it done," he says.

James Christopher VanHook / Davis H. Elliot Company, Inc.

3. Back-to-Back Storms:
While an overhead lineman restores power after a bad storm, another storm came through with heavy rain, thunder and lightning.

Angel Maxwell

4. Climbing Poles:
This photo of Cody Maxwell and Dustin Taylor climbing power poles came in fourth place in the 2020 Lineman Life photo competition.

Chad Agee / PAR Electric

5. Replacing a Pole:
Linemen perform a hot 138 KV pole replacement for PAR Electric.

Joe Jones

6. Installing New Infrastructure:
Linemen lay up wire on a new build job.

Dustin Garrett / Potelco

7. Scenic Backdrop:
A Potelco employee anticipates the delivery of fiber on a job in Coeur D'Alene, Idaho.

Jennifer Herrmann

8. Competing in the Rodeo:
Lineman Jonathan Herrmann competes in the Florida Lineman's Rodeo.

Ben Williams / National Grid

9. Cloudy Day:
Ben Williams, a journeyman lineman for National Grid in Avon, New York, says no filter was used on this photo of line work in action.

Karl Ryan / National Grid

10. Night Job:
Karl Ryan, who works for the distribution department for National Grid out of Andover, Massachusetts, took this photo on a planned night job in Lawrence, Massachusetts.

P3 strives to bring you quality relevant industry related news.

See the original full article at: https://www.tdworld.com/electric-utility-operations/media-gallery/21122466/linemen-crown-the-photo-contest-champs

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Jan
27

EcoStruxure Micro Data Center from Schneider Electric

 Ensure peace of mind and expand your business opportunities with EcoStruxure Micro Data Center and the resiliency of APC Smart-UPS Lithium-ion for edge computing environments.

EcoStruxure Micro Data Center from Schneider Electric provides 60% faster deployment, 50% fewer onsite service visits and the resiliency of APC Smart-UPS for your Edge Computing sites. Deploying and operating multiple distributed sites with limited onsite expertise is a real challenge with edge computing deployments. With EcoStruxure Micro Data Center get easily customizable, integrated physical infrastructure for industrial, commercial and traditional IT environments. Leverage tools such as reference designs and our Edge Computing Configurator to easily and reliably customize your EcoStruxure Micro Data Center. Select our pre-integration capability to deliver a complete system in shock packaging right to your site decreasing onsite installation time. Choose EcoStruxure IT, our next-generation DCIM platform, for simple, secure and scalable remote management and operations. With EcoStruxure IT, customize how you want to monitor and manage : do it yourself or delegate to a preferred partner. In all cases, Schneider Electric's global network of experts offer a wide range of monitoring, maintenance and extended warranty services.

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Jan
20

The use of reconditioned equipment and its safety implications

"A basic understanding of the term 'reconditioned' is critical to success." ~Thomas Domitrovich, Eaton Vice President, Technical Sales
It's common for electrical professionals to source reconditioned equipment, especially contractors on large jobs or on those projects where a quick turn-around on older equipment is needed. The practice can be cost effective and, in instances where older legacy systems require devices that are no longer manufactured, often necessary to solve an immediate requirement. But with many counterfeit devices in the supply chain and devices and equipment that may have experienced flooding or other abnormal damage, the NEC has made it clear that safety must take a higher priority.

With that, NEC 2020 will end its silence on this topic and seek to assure proper reconditioning of electrical equipment. New requirements for are found across 20 sections of the document, with changes making it clear what equipment can and cannot be refurbished for safety reasons.

 The one critical rule

Though 20 new requirements are under consideration, one is most important in my opinion: 110.21(A)(2). It states equipment must be identified as reconditioned and the original listing mark removed (though the original nameplate may remain in place). This means third-party testing marks (such as the UL listing mark) must be removed and the device identified as reconditioned.

This addition is tremendously important for the Authority Having Jurisdiction (AHJ) to help them identify equipment that has been refurbished or reconditioned and ensure these NEC requirements are enforced. These changes raise the bar of safety for refurbished equipment and those that provided refurbished equipment. Refurbished products brought to market will carry the transparency needed for the specifier, installer, and ultimately the owner. A basic understanding of the term "reconditioned" is critical to success.

What does "reconditioned" mean?

As with many changes in the NEC, good definitions are necessary for proper enforcement of requirements. Discussions will occur across the industry to understand this new term. Three different Code-making Panels assembled what we have today as a definition for "reconditioned." These technical committees have done their part to create, what I believe is, a solid definition:

"Reconditioned equipment is electromechanical systems, equipment, apparatus, or components that are restored to operating conditions. This process differs from normal servicing of equipment that remains within a facility, or replacement of listed equipment on a one-to-one basis."

As with most new changes, especially those as significant as these, NEC 2020 will benefit from public review as it rolls out across the country. Many electrical professionals will learn of what NEC 2020 now requires and develop educational materials that support it. As more people review the updated code, the more we'll see ideas arise on how to improve this text. This process is one of the best in the industry – as the code evolves over time, it improves. My colleague, Jim Dollard, IBEW Local 98 in Philadelphia, said it best: "It's a solid definition, it is comprehensive. The first sentence clarifies that reconditioned means "restored to operating conditions." That means the equipment was not useable. This also clarifies that "used equipment" that is in operating condition is not considered to be "reconditioned equipment." The second sentence is extremely important. This text provides clarification with respect to "normal servicing of equipment that remains within a facility or replacement of listed equipment on a one-to-one basis." Any "normal servicing of equipment that remains within a facility" is not reconditioned. Keep in mind that a facility is a single building, a campus or a network of cell towers for example. Replacement of "listed equipment on a one-to-one basis" clarifies that piece of equipment that is not in operating condition can be restored to operating condition through the replacement of "listed equipment on a one-to-one basis" and is not considered to be "reconditioned equipment."

Here is my opinion on a breakdown of each aspect of the definition. Keep in mind that your Authority Having Jurisdiction (AHJ) is the final say on all of these requirements including the interpretation of the definition.

Electromechanical systems

"Electromechanical systems, equipment, apparatus, or components that are restored to operating conditions." This first sentence is very broad. No matter the system, equipment, apparatus, or component, the key portion of this sentence lies in these four words; "restored to operating conditions." This means the equipment was not operable and something had to be done to return it to a functioning state.

In my opinion: If an electrical contractor removes a fully operational panelboard from a facility to either upgrade or install a larger panelboard, the contractor may reinstall that panelboard elsewhere in the facility. The panelboard is clearly used equipment and not reconditioned because no steps were taken to repair or modify it and return it to an operating condition.

Normal servicing

Continuing from the definition, "This process differs from normal servicing of equipment." There are numerous events that can affect devices including flooding, fires and other extremes. Servicing this equipment after these events will beg the question of whether or not this is "normal servicing." We won't find a definition in the NEC for "normal servicing" as commonly used, well-understood terms aren't defined. The question will remain for many though as to what exactly is meant by the use of the term "normal" in this context.

In my opinion: We have to apply common sense here. Equipment that's been underwater, in a fire, or other similar event is not normal in my opinion. Servicing equipment per manufacturer instructions for updates or maintenance reasons are normal activities. Equipment manufacturers help to define "normal" by working with service departments to identify common repairs performed on a regular basis.

Facility

"That remains within a facility." Knowing the history of equipment is the next step of this definition. It's easier to understand the history of equipment that was purchased for and remained in a single facility during its entire life. This history is important for safety. Repairing and maintaining this equipment is not considered, "reconditioning." We can't forget too that we're talking about equipment that is ". . . restored to operating conditions."

In my opinion: This asserts that the owner of equipment has a better understanding of its history. If a technician removes a device from a facility and that device is in working order when reused within that same facility, that's use of used equipment. This equipment was not in a state of condition that requires someone to return it to operating conditions. If the condition of the device is not known, steps may have to be taken to modify the equipment to replace components to raise the level of confidence that this equipment is in operating conditions addressing areas of concern. This would then meet the definition of reconditioned equipment.

One-to-one basis

"Replacement of existing equipment on a one-to-one basis." The code making panels took time to ensure that the act of replacing components within equipment per manufacturer instructions does not fall under the reconditioned equipment umbrella. Contractors and IT managers often replace existing devices for many reasons, such as equipment end-of-life or for assembly capacity increases.

In my opinion: If equipment is listed for the same purpose as the original device being replaced, it's done on a one-to-one basis and, therefore, is not reconditioned. Let's take the example of an electrician replacing a circuit breaker in a panelboard with another per manufacturer instructions. The replacement is a one-to-one example and the application was not reconditioned. On the other hand, should this replacement occur in conjunction with cleaning the internal bus and other components within the enclosure after an event such as a flood, fire or similar, we're looking at refurbished equipment.

What clarity means for the industry

These code changes were upheld at the annual meeting amidst extensive debate. Our electrical industry understands the challenges and safety concerns around reconditioned equipment. The requirements for reconditioned equipment were overwhelmingly supported on the floor of the annual meeting.

Proper governance starts with ensuring education for those focused on electrical safety. Organizations like the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW), the National Electrical Contractors Association (NECA), Independent Electrical Contractors (IEC), the International Association of Electrical Inspectors (IAEI) and others will be working to update and create their curricula based on these new changes. Consistency in what we all teach is important to success

Don't wait for the NEC. Here's what you can do now.

As with any NEC safety change, this will be a journey with many growing pains along the way. Future efforts will seek to clarify, expand and correct requirements for used and reconditioned equipment. This journey will continue over many review cycles.

So, what can you do to protect yourself? I believe buyers and suppliers of reconditioned devices can do more to assure safety today:

Suppliers – differentiate yourself from others

  • Pay close attention to product standards and perform tests that establish performance, even if standards do not exist, and document it all. Share this with your customers as a differentiator. This helps bolster the supplier's brand image and create safer products that customers ask for by name.
  • Engage with the industry and join NEC and other requirement-making institution discussions. It helps to listen in on industry concerns, get first-hand feedback and refute claims you know are incorrectly positioned. It's also a great opportunity to highlight your safety processes, which may also influence future amendments.

Buyers – know where products are sourced

  • Buy only from reputable resellers. Devices purchased from unauthorized distributors who lack important safety certifications carry tremendous risk. Remember, the solutions you install in a facility reflect on you. Do your due diligence.
  • Note the products the NEC states cannot be refurbished. Less reputable resellers do attempt to sell molded case circuit breakers and other safety devices that can't be reconditioned. It's up to you to know the facts and act accordingly.
  • If a project bid includes reconditioned devices, make sure your customer is aware. Remember that reconditioned devices are now labeled as such with third-party listing marks removed, so they're easily noticed. Some clients may not take kindly to reconditioned devices after the fact.

While creating requirements for reconditioned equipment is in its infancy, understanding the differences between used and reconditioned equipment is a great first step toward helping educators, buyers and sellers ensure the safety of people and equipment.


 P3 strives to bring you quality relevant industry related news.

See the original full article at: https://www.eaton.com/us/en-us/company/news-insights/for-safetys-sake-blog/NEC-2020-defining-reconditioned-equipment.html

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