Hurricane Season Reminds Us Kohler Generators Protect Against All Severe Storms

We seemingly hear about a category 5 hurricane storm that the National Hurricane Center describes as causing catastrophic damage hitting the United States every few years – and the Atlantic hurricane season, which directly impacts the U.S. is upon us once again officially set as the timeframe between June 1st through November 30th. While Atlantic hurricanes have the greatest impact on the eastern seaboard they also bring about severe storms that can reach the Midwest causing damage from floods and high winds leading to power outages and other potentially harmful hazards.

While storms derived from hurricanes in the Midwest may not be as frequent, Midwestern businesses certainly need to be prepared for severe thunderstorms brought about by movements of differing air masses and unstable atmospheric conditions during the same seasonal timeframe. Research conducted by the Midwestern Regional Climate Center estimates thunderstorms cause an average loss of $2.8 billion per year. Businesses can do several things to prepare for these damaging storms and keep their employees and patrons safe including installing industrial generators that quickly provide backup power in the event of an outage.

 Preparation

On average thunderstorms occur 55 days a year in the Midwest. Their byproducts including hail, tornadoes, heavy rains, high winds, and lighting can cause downed power lines, floods, uprooted trees, and other hazards that can lead to power loss. Power outages can last for days or even weeks making it vital to plan ahead for potential power loss.

kit

There are several things that can be done for preparation of power loss:

  • Basic necessities such as food and water should be prepared and stocked.
  • Emergency kits should be on hand that include flashlights and extra batteries.
  • Have a first aid kit of medications, band aids, tape, scissors, antiseptic solutions, gauze and hydrogen peroxide.
  • Landscaping – trimming trees and shrubs minimize the risk of damage caused by branches in the event of a storm with powerful winds.
  • Have a power generator on location and ready to provide backup power.

How Kohler Generators Work

When there’s a power outage caused by a severe storm or other event, Kohler power generators start and stop automatically. The automatic transfer switch monitors electricity that comes from the utility. When power fails, the generator will automatically start. The transfer switch shifts the power from the utility to the generator.

The Kohler Generator will then supply power until the utility power is restored. Once the utility power is restored, the transfer switch automatically transfers the power from the generator back to the utility. The Kohler generator will subsequently revert to standby mode automatically, and be ready for the next power outage.

Kohler generators are thoroughly tested. In just 10 seconds, Kohler generators can power climate control systems, servers, and lighting – all at once! Kohler generators are so reliable that nuclear power plants and hospitals trust Kohler to power their facilities.

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Steiner Power Systems is the authorized Kohler Power Distributor in Northern Illinois and Northwest Indiana for Kohler Generator sales, service and rental. For more information and to speak with an experienced Kohler Generator application engineer, call 1-847-956-3098.

Understanding The 5-Step Process to Mechanical Safety

With the increasing use of automation, requirements for protecting machinery and operators have evolved and become more complex. The improper use of machines can lead to safety hazards when the correct operating protocols are not followed. Thankfully, advancements in technology have allowed for integration of protection devices into the work process, helping to reduce safety risks and improving productivity.

In this blog we’ll define machine safety and take a look at the 5-Step Process to Safety, as well as look at ways of assessing risk, which was originally presented by Fortress Interlocks at Steiner’s 2016 Automation Technology Summer Symposium.

Defining Safety and Assessing Risk

Safety is the freedom from unacceptable risk as defined in IEC 62061 with respect to machinery operation. This provides a definition of safety in terms of risk, and makes clear the importance of assessing risk to achieve safety. [i]

Since the key term in the definition is “unacceptable risk”, a value on a range that determines the threshold between acceptable and unacceptable needs to be established. Various standards can provide guidance on how to determine when acceptable risk has been achieved. Keep in mind that acceptable risk may differ between organizations, so this value is not purely defined in any standard or methodology. The main takeaway is a threshold should be identified prior to starting a risk assessment.

risk-graph

 

We can also define risk in terms of the following equation.

The severity of possible damage + the probability that it will occur = risk in terms of the respective hazard.

To measure the probability, we would need to look at a few factors:

  • frequency and duration of exposure to the hazard
  • available options for avoiding the hazard
  • the probability of an event that can cause the damage to occur

Breaking Down the 5-Step Process to Safety

Step 1: Risk or Hazard Assessment – This initial step requires the limits of machinery to be determined. Next, the hazards are to be identified, followed by estimating and evaluating the risk. Once all these items have been established, if the risk has been adequately reduced, the first step is considered complete.

1st-step-5step

Step 2: Safety System Functional Requirements After assessing the risks, the next step identifies how the machine is supposed to operate in each mode of operation for each person that uses the machine. It identifies special modes such as safe-speed, zone control, etc. In other words, the second step is to confirm that the machines are doing what they are supposed to be doing.

Step 3: Safety System Design and Verification – Evaluate the risks and select control measures for the machine. For instance, if the overall system stopping performance is greater than the access time, a prevention device such as an interlocking guard with guard locking can be added. When applied, opening of the guard shall be prevented unless all hazardous functions covered by the guard have stopped. The goal is to protect both the process and to protect people.

Step 4: Safety System Installation and Validation – Document all stages, design a validation plan, test the installation safety functions and record the results and issue documentation.

Step 5: Maintain and Improve Safety System – A study by the HSE found that more than 50% of all accidents occur during maintenance and machine modification, so the safety cycle process must be used during machine upgrades.

safety-process

The 5-Step Process to Safety provides a framework for identifying potential machine operating risks and mitigating the occurrence of safety issues through preventative measures or other actions. The process is continuous as risk findings must be regularly reviewed. Once an action is taken to remedy an identified risk, that action must be monitored to confirm the potential risk remains at an acceptable level and no other issues have crept into the process that may have raised the risk level.

For more information on automation and machine safety and to speak with one of our application engineers please call 1-800-STEINER (783-4637).

[i] “Why Do We Need Safety?” Henry Toal.: Fortress Interlocks, 2016. PPT.

Powertron Tap Box Is an Economical Backup Power Solution

Being properly prepared for a power outage can be cost prohibitive for many businesses even though maintaining power is essential to operations. That is why the Powertron Generator Tap Box offers an economical solution for providing an emergency power source.

lightning

At any moment, for various reasons, a facility’s power supply can be severed. A power outage can occur due to several factors – storms, construction accidents, animal interference, and more. There are many ways to prepare for this inevitability, such as having emergency kits stocked with vital medical supplies, having adequately stored supplies of nonperishable foods and water, and having a backup power source.

The Powertron Tap Box is permanently mounted onto the outside of a building. It connects a mobile generator to the electrical system so that it can deliver temporary or long term electrical power. This power box can power a plethora of applications; including but not limited to:

  • HVAC systems
  • Lights
  • Banks
  • Gas stations
  • Convenience stores
  • Office buildings
  • Hospitals
  • Small businesses
  • Stadiums
  • Universities

Finding electricians, gathering generators and taking the time to find out which switchgear to power may take too much time. For many, a disaster recovery plan needs to address kilowatt size, voltage, cable length and which critical systems need emergency power. Powertron Tap Boxes combined with a contingency plan provide a way to bypass any guess work.

powbox

With a Powertron Tap Box, power can be recovered in just a matter of minutes from the moment the generator arrives. Powertron allows for power to be returned often without the need for an electrician. Powertron ensures that power is quickly restored, allowing businesses to resume normal operations for the short or long term, all without the need of a permanent generator.

Since commercial buildings differ from one another, Powertron can be designed and customized to fit specific requirements. For more information please contact us at www.powertronsolutions.com or call us at 847-956-5000 to speak with an experienced application engineer and learn how to make your business generator-ready and equipped to receive a backup power source.

CribTrack Reduces Costs of Inventory Management

Maintaining costs is critical to business operations, and overlooking the costs associated with inventory management can eat away at margins. Inventory costs for essential consumable and reusable items vary – from smaller items such as light bulbs and batteries to bigger items like power tools.

Inventory control allows for an organizational approach to understanding the frequency items need to be replenished, while also instilling accountability for when inventory is used and by whom. These two operating benefits are just two reasons why organizations implement CribTrack inventory management solutions.

Because CribTrack offers security, flexibility and affordability, organizations count on CribTrack to assist with their inventory management needs – reducing costs and keeping operations running on-time.

Organized Approach Means Keeping Up with Low Supplies

Running out of certain items can slow or halt production altogether. Sending an employee offsite or paying for same-day or next-day shipping to replenish crucial items can be time-consuming and expensive.

CribTrack industrial vending machines prevent these costly problems before they happen by accurately tracking and monitoring inventory levels.

Flexible for Many Applications

An effective inventory management solution needs to be flexible in order to meet the vast requirements of factory floors, workshops, and building facilities. CribTrack vending machines offer that flexibility.

There are several industries that can make great use of CribTrack – such as industrial, hospitals, restaurants and schools. Whatever the application each machine slot can fit several different size items, so each business can make the most out of their machine – items that can fit include batteries, drills, end mills, gloves, tubes, medications, lab equipment, IT equipment, printer supplies, spices and more.

Magnetic Storage Containers

Shelving space can be configured as needed with a maximum capacity of 200 storage positions in each machine. Barcodes can be customized to accurately track whichever item resides in a specific storage bin. The barcode scanner is used to keep track of when items are removed or returned by authorized individuals, and automatic electronic alerts are sent when an item is in need of replenishment.

Monitoring is continuous with CribTrack’s included software. The software has the flexibility to be run on premise or in the cloud to meet the needs of an organization’s IT infrastructure.

Secure Machine Provides Accountability

Because CribTrack requires users to login one of three ways in order to access items, there will be a record at all times of who accessed the machine and scanned out items. There are three cameras as well, in the event that someone was to login and remove any items without using the scanner. The camera would capture a video recording of the event, tracing back to the employee, and maintaining accountability.

CribTrack is tamper-proof and comes with an embedded alarm. It requires users to login either by a PIN code, Prox card or biometric authentication fingerprint scan.

CribTrack Saves Businesses Time and Reduces Costs

Because CribTrack provides an easy-to-use, flexible, and secure industrial vending solution, organizations rely on CribTrack for their inventory management needs.

No Moving Parts

CribTrack saves time and reduces costs. Businesses can optimally maintain inventory levels reducing costs associated with production stoppage and lost items. If you would like to know more about CribTrack inventory management solutions and want to speak with an experienced application engineer, call 1-844-744-CRIB (2742) or email us today.

Kohler Maquigeral Lights the Way to 2016 Rio Olympic Games

Over the last two weeks, thousands of athletes and spectators flocked to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, for the 2016 Olympics––and Kohler Maquigeral was honored to light the way.

maquigeral

The first city in South America to host the Olympics welcomed over 10,000 athletes, not including 5,000 coaches and team officials, representing 205 countries who vied for the gold between August 5-21.Rio welcomes the 2016 Olympics

As host city, many infrastructure investments were made to prepare for the Games, including the TransOlímpica bus rapid transit (BRT) line.

The city constructed the TransOlímpica route to connect the Olympic Park in Barra da Tijuca, in the west zone of Rio, with downtown. This 15 ½-mile-long (25-kilometer) route reduced travel time to the Olympic Park from 2 ½ hours to 30 minutes, with capacity of 55,000 vehicles per day.

tunnel

New within the route was a 1-mile-long (1.7-kilometer) tunnel which took four years to construct. The entire tunnel infrastructure (fire pumps, lighting and signage) was powered by four Kohler Maquigeral container generators, 2 x 550 kilovolts (kVA) each, totaling 4,400 kVA, assembled and installed in just eight weeks.

construct

“The TransOlimpica route is one of the main infrastructure investments for the city of Rio de Janeiro. Kohler Maquigeral Generators will not only run during the games, but be part of the long-term legacy,” said Kai-Uwe Hirschfelder, General Manager – Kohler Maquigeral.

Kohler Maquigeral provides primary and backup power systems. The Brazilian company, acquired by Kohler Co. through SDMO in 2012, has 270 associates with eight sales offices across Brazil and a facility in São Paulo. Maquigeral produces generators from 40 to 1,500 kVA and offers uninterrupted power supply services.

Steiner Power Systems is the authorized Kohler Power Distributor in Northern Illinois and Northwest Indiana for Kohler Generator sales, service and rental. For more information and to speak with an experienced Kohler Generator application engineer, please call 1-847-956-3098.

   generator maguigeral

Basics of Wire – Copper and Aluminum Alloy

Because electricity is an important aspect of our everyday lives, the conductors that are used to carry the energy in places like our homes and businesses need to be in top condition. It’s important to note the different types of conductors, and what each does best; for this reason, we will explore and compare each option available.

copper aluminum

Copper Electrical Wire

Most homes, offices, factories and machines depend on good copper wire for transferring electricity. There are many reasons for this – it is a good conductor, it is easy to mold and bend, it isn’t hard to find, and the price is ideal for many applications.

copper

Copper wiring allows for less insulation and narrower conduits than that of aluminum. Why is this? Aluminum has lower conductivity and needs to be larger in diameter than that of copper in order to carry the same amount of current. Because of this, more copper conductors can fit into a given conduit when compared to that of aluminum. Copper also conducts electricity more efficiently so the connections and terminations of the copper wire do not overheat as easily as aluminum.

Copper can be soldered easily and it is easier for most conductors to be used to transmit power loads because it has one of the highest electrical conductivity rates among metals. Smaller conductors are easier to transport and install, which can translate to reduced overall wiring costs. Copper also doesn’t experience the same expansion and contraction to that of aluminum, making it more stable of a material.

However, copper is less abundant and heavier than aluminum, these drawbacks can make the wire purchase more expensive and installation process more difficult.

Aluminum Electrical Wire

Aluminum wire is lighter and easier to work with, making it easier to shape and bend than copper, and often making the job less rigorous. It can reduce corona, which is an electrical discharge associated with high power transmissions. Due to the abundance of aluminum its biggest draw is its affordability; drastically reducing the overall conductor costs for a given project.

XHHW-2 2

On the other hand, it is a less conductive metal than copper, so an aluminum wire that is meant to carry the same amount of electricity as a copper wire needs to be bigger in diameter, and thus require a wider conduit in many cases – adding to the overall project cost.

If not installed correctly, aluminum wiring can raise the risk of hazardous and potentially life threatening conditions. Aluminum wire expands when it gets warmer, and when it cools it contracts. Loose or improperly terminated connections can result in serious injury or death. As with all types of wire and electrical installations, follow your local electrical code and contact your inspector with any questions.

The appropriate wiring to use for any project depends on several factors, including application for use as well as budget. Whichever you choose, Steiner has the inventory to get your job completed! If you would like to know more about all of the wire options and services available at Steiner, please call us at 1-800-STEINER (783-4637) or stop by any of our nine convenient locations to learn more.

Steiner 100th Anniversary Will Call Counter Sweepstakes

Steiner Gift CardCome to any of Steiner Electric’s 9 convenient locations for a chance to win your very own United States Proof Silver Dollar and a $100 Steiner Gift Card.

Weekly Raffle

Every week between August 8, 2016 and November 12, 2016, Steiner will hold a weekly raffle for a different United States Proof Silver Dollar.

The first week’s raffle will be drawn for a 2011 Medal of Honor US Proof Silver Dollar.

Medal of Honor US Proof Silver Dollar
Medal of Honor US Proof Silver Dollar

Look out for upcoming weekly raffles to see which US Proof Silver Dollar will be drawn next!

100 Grand Prize Winners

At the end of the sweepstakes 100 grand prize winners will be drawn on November 14, 2016 to each receive a $100 Steiner Gift Card. Individuals are allowed to enter once per day through the duration of the sweepstakes, and the same person can win more than one of the grand prizes. The more you participate the better the odds of winning.

Sweepstakes Rules and Information

  • One weekly raffle winner selected per week
  • One entry per individual per day
  • May enter sweepstakes in person at any of our 9 Will Call locations
  • Eligible orders must be picked up at any of our 9 Will Call locations
  • Eligibility for weekly drawing begins each week
  • Previous weeks’ entrants are added to the grand prize drawing
  • Must be at least 21 years of age to submit entry
  • Winners will be notified by email only
  • The more you participate the better the odds
  • Sweepstakes runs August 8, 2016 to November 12, 2016
  • Grand prize winners will be selected on November 14, 2016
  • Weekly raffle and grand prize winners have two weeks to claim prize; otherwise a new winner will be selected
  • Multiple gift cards to one winner is possible

Weekly and grand prizes are not redeemable for cash. No purchase necessary. For additional information and sweepstakes rules click here.

 

Key Differences Between Fuses and Circuit Breakers

Fuses and Circuit Breakers both serve the same purpose – which is to protect electrical circuits by preventing overloads that can cause fires. They both interrupt the flow of electricity, but in very different ways from each other. While a fuse is made of a piece of metal that melts when overheated, circuit breakers on the other hand, have internal switch mechanisms that can be tripped by an unsafe surge of electricity.

Fuses can be quicker for interrupting the flow of power, but when they melt they must be replaced; circuit breakers on the other hand just need to be reset. When comparing the two, we’ll take a look at some of the major advantages and disadvantages between fuses and circuit breakers to distinguish between them.

Fuses

Fuses come in different types – for both residential and commercial use. The most common type is made from a metal wire or a filament that is enclosed in a glass or ceramic and metal casing. In residential homes, the fuse is usually plugged into a central fuse box, where the building’s wiring passes through. When electricity flows, the fuse will permit the power to pass unobstructed across the filament between circuits. If overloads occur, the filament melts and stops the flow of electricity.

fuses

It will take some time for the filament to melt, and therefore any power surge is stopped. When a fuse is blown, it is to be discarded and replaced with a new fuse. There are different voltage and ratings that are available which handle different capacities of electricity. The best fuse for a circuit is usually one that is rated for slightly higher than normal operating current.

Circuit Breakers

Circuit Breakers have two different ways of working – the first is through the use of an electromagnet and the other is through the use of a bi-metal strip. In both instances, when turned on, the breaker allows electrical current to pass from a bottom to an upper terminal across the strip. Once the current reaches any unsafe levels, the magnetic force of the solenoid or strip becomes strong enough to throw a metal lever in the switch mechanism, breaking the current. The other option that can happen is that the metal strip can bend, throwing the switch and breaking the connection.

S-A Q2100

In order to reset the flow of electricity, the switch can just be turned back on. This reconnects the circuit. Circuit breakers in many cases are found in a cabinet of individual switches known as the breaker box. This simple switch action allows for an easy turn-off for individual circuits in a house when needed for working on a wiring in the location.

Circuit breakers have other applications, such as using for ground fault circuit interrupter, or GFCI. The function of this is to prevent electric shock, rather than just overheating. It breaks the circuit in an outlet if the current gets unbalanced. It can be reset by the touch of a button, and is generally useful in kitchens or bathrooms, where electrocution is a risk from the use of electrical appliances near water sources such as sinks or faucets.

Advantages and Disadvantages

Fuses are more inexpensive, available at nearly any hardware store. They react quickly to overloading, offering more protection to sensitive electronic devices. The only problem in this is that if the circuit is prone to surges that regularly cause fuses to blow, then the quick reaction to the overloading can be a disadvantage.

When fuses are blown, they need to be replaced. This can be difficult, especially in a dark room, or if the replacement fuse is not available at the time of need. In many instances, too, people find themselves replacing a fuse with the replacement fuses that actually has a higher voltage or current rating that is too high for the application or need – which can then cause an overheated circuit.

Fuses are generally speaking, easy to see which switch has been tripped, and which would need to be reset. The average homeowner would find it safe since there is no doubt about choosing the right fuse rating and all of the electrical connections are in the breaker box.

The disadvantage to using a circuit breaker is that it can be more expensive to install, repair and replace. Circuit breakers won’t react as quickly as a fuse in power surges. This means it would be possible that electronics connected to the circuit could be damaged by energy that is just let through. It can be more sensitive to vibration and movement, which may allow for a switch to trip for reasons that are unrelated to electricity overloads.

fusebox vs circuit

Circuit breakers and fuses are not interchangeable for all power applications. For instance, a fuse should not be used in situations that require a GFCI. Electricians are best qualified to make decisions on whether a fuse or circuit breaker system is better for any particular instance or scenario or electrical installation. If you have any questions about a particular project and would like to know more, you can talk to an accomplished professional at 1-800-STEINER (783-4637).

Kohler Gives Inside Look Into Manufacturing Innovations of Power Generators

Every Kohler Generator manufactured is unique to each market and end user. While some generators might look similar on the outside, they are made to perform different jobs and serve specific applications. Innovations are introduced during the engineering process for important attributes like fuel type. Meticulous work is put into designing the data boards that run generators for optimal performance by application. And rigorous testing is performed on crucial safety features as well as product durability.

Fuel Type Innovations

Generators powered by propane are specifically designed to efficiently maximize operating levels from that particular fuel source. Generating power through propane provides distinct advantages for mobile generators. Mobile propane generators have an on-board fuel capacity of about 24 hours of run time at 75% load. They act like any other mobile generator in the marketplace with the differentiating factor of having a more efficient on-board fuel type in terms of lower operating costs and higher BTU output performance.

Data Boards for Specific Applications

Generators need data boards programmed for specific applications in order to run. Without the essential data board, even with the best engine or all of the needed fuel, none of it will run without the right data board. Different data boards are required for each unit – such as for mobile, marine or industrial applications. As a result, data boards hold extremely high importance in the manufacturing of power generators.

 

Rigorous Testing

Each Kohler Generator undergoes rigorous testing before being released for sale. For example, ensuring every propane powered unit is properly tested for gaseous leaks is critical. Testing for leakage is made possible by using ultrasonic technology. Since propane gas is not visible there’s nothing that can be seen to uncover the presence of a leak. Ultrasonic technology allows the tester to hear for any leakage.

Another exhaustive testing procedure involves compressing the life of a generator through a thirty-year cycle, which goes beyond routine performance testing that simply checks if a generator is operating as intended. Compression testing provides a clearer understanding for viewing the wear – through accelerated life testing – to find out how the generators will hold up years from now. The process involves loading beyond what the load should be at one time and uses high load factors in order to compress what might be years of usage into a single test.

60REZGB

Possessing more insight into the engineering innovations, data programming and rigorous testing Kohler employs in manufacturing their power generators makes it easy to see why Kohler Generators are preferred throughout many industries and used for numerous applications. If you would like to learn more about Kohler Generators, or want more information about Steiner’s generator service, rental and sales you can contact Steiner to speak with an application engineer and find out how Kohler Generators can benefit your business: 1-800-STEINER (783-4637).

Kohler Propane Mobile Generator Benefits

The Kohler name is known for its elegance and beauty in several industries; from furniture and cabinetry to engines and generators. For about as long as they’ve been making faucets, they’ve also been providing power through their power generators. The Kohler Power System Division is a leading manufacturer of generators in the United States.

Cost-Effective Alternative

Since 1921, the Kohler power system product line has provided power for people in businesses through all types of applications. Their ability to progress and adapt to the market has been a staple for Kohler’s success in this category. One of their newest products is a cost-effective solution for primary power for builders, contractors and business owners. Here is a look at Kohler Power Systems Propane Generators.

Kohler has been manufacturing mobile generators since the company’s inception. With new regulations coming in from the EPA more recently, Kohler decided to focus on a new design; a gaseous mobile unit. For years, customers have requested generators that are placed on wheels, and with propane mobile generators, they are offered just that.

Applications

For contractors that are on the jobsite – whether it’s a single home or whether it’s an entire neighborhood or commercial complex, Kohler’s mobile generator can be used and reused as a primary power source if needed. Every construction job is different, but the mobile propane generator is an easy product to move, manipulate or reconfigure for whatever the contractor needs.

Kohler generators are engineered for reliability, usability and mobility to serve any application, from construction sites in bigger cities to more secluded or remote locations. They can be used for many purposes, such as disaster relief, construction, events, healthcare, or anywhere where backup or primary power is needed.

Users benefit from higher energy output levels produced by propane generators, while also obtaining lower operating costs due to propane being cheaper to burn. Customers can save up to 20% in fuel costs with propane vs diesel fuel sources. Other advantages of propane include longer shelf life, cleaner burning, a quieter engine noise level and more emission compliance.

For more information contact Steiner to speak with an application engineer and find out how Kohler Generators can benefit you and your business: 1-800-STEINER (783-4637).