Fundamentals of Aluminum Conductors, Part 2

The increased use of aluminum conductors in the 1960s and 1970s led to millions of dollars in electrical breakdown claims for Hartford Steam Boiler and many millions more in fire losses for property insurers. These claims were primarily the result of failures of aluminum connectors or connections. But, the proper preparation and installation of aluminum conductors can reduce or even eliminate this type of failure. Part 1 of this article addressed the characteristics of aluminum conductors. Part 2 discusses proper installation and maintenance.»more

Is Your Surge Protection Good Enough?

Most people think they have adequate surge protection because they’ve installed surge protection devices on their personal computers. But is it really working and is it adequate? Is it providing protection against lightning and other line disturbances? »more

Preparing for an Electrical Power Outage

What would you do if your business suddenly lost power? Advanced planning is critical to minimize the risk to your operations. Are you ready? If not, where do you start? Here are some suggestions that can help.»more

Electrical Preventive Maintenance


Implementing Electrical Preventive Maintenance - A Guide for Business and Industry

Electrical losses continue to top the list as the equipment category with the most premature breakdowns. An effective Electrical Preventive Maintenance (EPM) program will go a long way to help avoid the extra expense, disruptions and lost profits that can result. Yet, it may seem overwhelming for many businesses to develop, implement and follow up on an EPM program. This article is designed to provide information and recommendations that will help you move ahead. »more

An Analysis of Transformer Failures, Part 2

 Over the years, Hartford Steam Boiler has investigated thousands of transformer failures, compiling an extensive database of loss information. In Part One of this article, the author used data from HSB’s latest 10-year study of transformer claims to examine the types of breakdowns, frequency, severity, and the issue of transformer age. In part two, he discusses the causes of transformer failures, recommends a maintenance program and concludes with  ways to help achieve maximum service life. »more

Fundamentals of Aluminum Conductors Part 1

There are many myths, beliefs, and opinions in the industry on why aluminum conductors should or should not be used in certain applications. The use of aluminum conductors causes questions and concerns for many electricians, engineers, inspectors, and owners. In Part 1 of this article, we will address the background and the characteristics of aluminum conductors. »more

Telecommunications Equipment — Advances in Technology Continue to Transform the Industry

Telecommunications equipment technology continues to rapidly expand. Telecom equipment has evolved from a simple device that conveyed voice over modest distances (telephony) to complex media that transfer voice and data worldwide. Telecom now uses analog and digital technology, and fiber-optical conductors. »more

Short-Circuit and Protection Coordination Studies

How do you know if a circuit breaker will work when called upon to interrupt an electrical fault or short-circuit? The answer is, you probably don’t know for sure. If unusually high currents exceed the capability of protective devices in the power system, a short-circuit can cause the devices to explode like a bomb. What is needed is a short-circuit/protection coordination study done on your electrical system.»more

Renewable Fuses: Protection or Self-Deception?

Unlike most fuses, renewable fuses do require some maintenance. Due to the design factors discussed in the full-text article that follows, and a corresponding lack of maintenance, renewable fuses present a higher than normal risk for equipment damage and fires. »more

Providing Non-Stop Power for Critical Electrical Loads

The loss of electric power interrupts some vital digital communications networks, advanced medical therapies, financial transactions such as credit cards and bank operations, elevator service, refrigeration and other essential services. This equipment is so critical that there is a great demand for non-stop electric power. There are many ways to provide auxiliary power for times when the public supply goes down. We may think first of backup generators, but there are other devices available, including flywheel generators and battery/inverter systems. Choosing among them is the subject of this discussion. »more

Protecting Digital Control Equipment from Electrical Transient Damage

[Editor’s Note: Since this article first appeared (The Locomotive Spring 1996), business and industry has become more dependent than ever on sophisticated electronics. This revised version is intended to help you improve the installation and protection of electronic control devices so they perform properly and are less likely to be damaged by electrical power problems.]  »more

Protecting Communication and Sensitive Electronic Equipment From Lightning and Voltage Surges


Power Quality Is Important, Here is What You Can Do

When a momentary power interruption occurs at home, it can be a source of irritation. When the same momentary interruption occurs in an office, a process line, or production line, the result can be a costly equipment breakdown. Years ago a brief outage was not considered a problem, but today’s solid state devices are very sensitive to power system fluctuations. It is this vulnerability of modern technology that has brought an increased awareness of power system variations, a reality of life that has always been present.»more

Maximize the Service Life of Your Transformer


Keeping the Lights On: An Action Plan for America's Aging Utility Transformers

The United States is demanding more electrical power. At the same time, the age of transformers in the electric utility industry continues to rise. From a peak of new installations in the United States in the mid-1970s, today's capital spending on new and replacement transformers is at its lowest level in decades. To make matters worse, the load on each transformer (or its utilization) continues to grow. Power consumption is increasing at a rate of about 2 percent per year.»more

Infrared Thermography: Taking the Heat Off Faulty Connections

Infrared thermography surveys use the latest technology to spot problems in electrical systems and equipment. This high-tech tool can help most any business, regardless of when you installed your equipment, since age has no relationship to the likelihood of overheated electrical connections. Still, infrared testing is an area that may be misunderstood by those who could benefit from testing.»more

Infrared Thermography Testing - Going Beyond The Electrical Connection

Most people think of infrared thermography as a tool that is used to detect problems with electrical connections. But that represents only part of the array of applications and potential benefits when this technology is properly conducted by qualified personnel. »more

Increasing Transformer Reliability Using Insulating Oil Analysis

Transformer breakdowns can result in work stoppages and property losses with damage from power outage or fire. Using insulating oil analysis is an effective way to increase the reliability of transformers and other equipment at a reasonable cost. This testing technique has a proven track record of success and can be more effective and less disruptive than other available methods. Insulating oil samples can usually be taken without removing the equipment from service.»more

How To Protect Your Organization From Electrical Power Outages

There are ways to reduce equipment exposures due to electric utility service outages. The article that follows this summary is a basic discussion of the issue, covering how electrical distribution works and some of the contractual and physical answers to dealing with the problem. Topics include: »more

Guidelines For Providing Surge Protection

Damage from electrical transients, or surges, is one of the leading causes of electrical equipment failure. An electrical transient is a short duration, high-energy impulse that is imparted on the normal electrical power system whenever there is a sudden change in the electrical circuit. It can originate from a variety of sources, both internal and external to a facility.»more

Transformer Asset Management

Capital spending on new and replacement transformers is at its lowest level in decades. To make matters worse, the load on each transformer continues to grow, with power consumption increasing at a rate of about 2 percent per year. Faced with the challenges of increased equipment utilization, deferred capital expenditures and reduced maintenance budgets, many utilities are beginning to develop their own Life Cycle Transformer Management programs. »more

Heat and Power Problems are the Greatest Risks To Telecom Equipment

A telecommunications network is comprised of digital electronics. Today’s telephone switches are nothing more than expensive computers with sophisticated software that direct voice and data and provide features such as call waiting, caller ID and voice mail, and all the other features we have come to expect. »more

An Analysis of Transformer Failures Part 1

Transformer failures are common and costly. In this article, the first of two parts, the author discusses the types of transformers most likely to break down, frequency and severity, and the issue of transformer age. The findings are based on a 10-year study of Hartford Steam Boiler transformer claims, one of a series of studies conducted over several decades. »more

An Analysis of International Transformer Failures, Part 1

[Editor’s Note: In past articles, the author has discussed challenges and solutions involving transformer operations in the United States . In this two-part article, he addresses international developments. Part 1 includes an examination of the five-year loss trends as reported by international equipment breakdown insurers. In an upcoming issue, Part 2 will examine transformer aging and offer a global perspective of the industry as seen by those who manufacture transformer equipment.] »more

E-Business Face Unique Equipment Exposures

An e-business risk exists at any commercial business location that produces revenue based on transactions made through a public or private information network. The transactions involved in e-business can include retail sales, currency and securities trades, credit card charges, or information services. In most commercial contexts, an e-business involves an Internet Web site. »more

An Analysis of International Transformer Failures, Part 2

[Editor’s Note: In the last issue, Part 1 of this article examined five-year loss trends of transformer breakdowns as reported by international equipment breakdown insurers. In Part 2, the author discusses the aging of the worldwide transformer fleet and shares a global perspective as seen by those in the transformer industry.]  »more

Cost Benefit Analysis of Power Reliability Strategies


Transformer Oil Testing: Case Studies for Managing the Risk of Electrical Outages

Transmission and distribution system reliability is normally measured after a period of operating time — too late to prevent losses due to an unscheduled electrical outage. Hartford Steam Boiler’s »more

What Do You Expect from an Infrared Survey?

Infrared thermography is an effective tool to help avoid electrical breakdown claims. Testing equipment for electrical “hot spots” may pinpoint potential problems while there is still time to take preventive action. Virtually any company of any size should have a formal infrared thermography program. But it’s not enough to say you want to have your electrical system surveyed, and then do it. You need a plan that presents not only your end results, but also how you expect to get there. »more

Transformer Loss Shows Need for Review

A large transformer failed under full load conditions. The arcing and violent fault of the high voltage windings caused a bulging of the tank. Oil escaped and started a fire that was controlled by the deluge system. Internal damage to the transformer was extensive and it took two weeks to replace the unit. Fortunately, the insured had a spare on-site. The replacement cost was significant, but relatively minor compared to the multi-million dollar business interruption loss.»more

It Won’t Work If You Forget To Plug It In

The following claim shows that even state-of-the-art equipment is of little use unless basic steps are taken to make sure the system is operating properly.»more

Even New Transformers Need Oil and Gas Testing

A new transformer is not immune to problems. In fact, it has a higher potential for problems due to design flaws or manufacturing quality control.»more


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