Siemens Circuit Breaker Expands Design Possibilities

Siemens 3VA Molded Case Circuit Breakers

A circuit breaker such as the Siemens new 3VA molded case circuit breaker line is an essential piece of safety equipment that protects critical infrastructure from the harmful effects of short circuits and overloads.

MCCBs rank among the most important safety components in low voltage power distribution.  An estimated 30 million MCCBs are installed each year around the globe.

Siemens 3VA5 molded case circuit breaker.

The new UL-certified series of 3VA molded case circuit breakers from Siemens was designed for low-voltage power distribution in buildings, infrastructure, and industrial applications. But the line was not just designed to protect devices today, but to grow as applications demand and needs change.

Siemens 3va electrical circuit breaker line is built around a modular concept with a variety of models and accessories.

Steiner Electric has placed in inventory Siemens 3VA products that meets the needs of Chicago-area contractors, electricians, MROs, OEM personnel and more.

The 3VA Family

This wide-ranging list of devices include multiple circuit breaker types, auxiliary switches and alarms, a variety of trip options, and the lugs and wire connectors that keep it all together.

 

Siemens 3VA5 circuit breakers are available in 125 A and 250 A
Siemens 3VA5 circuit breakers are available in 125 A and 250 A frames with a variety of options for each.

Steiner offers these breaker boxes based on two Siemens 3VA5 frame families.

  • The 125 A frame is a 3-pole breaker box with 25 kA @ 480 V interruption rating that come in models that trip at 15 A, 20 A, 50 A, 100 A, and 125 A.
  • The 250 A frame has a 35kA @480 V interruption rating, and trip circuits are rated at 150 A, 200 A, 225 A, and 250 A.

Both devices require minimum space because of their compact design. The footprint for the 3VA5 125 A frame model is 3 in. by 3.8 x 5.5 in. and the footprint for the 250 A frame is 4.13 in. x 4.21 x 7.28 in.

Safe Tripping

For safe operation, the 3VA5 Siemens circuit breakers are based on the concept of thermal magnetic trip units (TMTUs). These TMTUs are two separate tripping mechanisms – thermal and magnetic—that are built into the same device.

In a thermal-magnetic circuit breaker, the trip unit includes elements designed to sense the heat resulting from an overload condition and the high current resulting from a short circuit.

The thermal safety component works on thermal inverse-time, meaning the higher the current, the faster the breaker trips. The thermal element is a bimetallic strip, which means it has two different metals bonded together that have different thermal expansion characteristics. As that strip warms up, the thermal differences cause the metals to twist and bend and eventually contact a trip bar causing the contacts to spring open.

The second safety component is the magnetic trip. The circuit breaker has a trip unit that senses a magnetic field generated by current to detect a short circuit. This type of circuit breaker trips immediately when a short circuit occurs, but delays an appropriate amount of time before tripping in the event of an overload.

Array of Design Options

Steiner offers a wide range of Siemens’ internal accessories that can fit in any of the 3VA products. They can be adapted flexibly, quickly and easily to individual specifications. Color coded for simple installation process, they are designed to always be installed at the correct position in the circuit breaker.

A door mounted rotary operator. Just one of the many options available from Steiner.
A door mounted rotary operator. Just one of the many options available from Steiner.

Accessories include multiple operator options, including door mounted rotary operators that come either with illumination, which provides a clear indication of the switching position, and without an illuminating kit.

Also available is the Max Flex flange mount operating system that allows the user to locate the circuit breaker almost anywhere within an enclosure. It uses a flexible cable that connects to a breaker operator mechanism and a handle located on the enclosure’s flange.

Also available are auxiliary and alarm switches that can be integrated with all sizes of Siemens breakers. The switches snap for easy installation and to swap out as needs change.

3VA9, UL, UVR undervoltage release
The Siemens 3VA9, undervoltage release switch.

Auxiliary switches can be used to operate indicator lights, relays or other accessories to provide the breaker’s status. Alarm switches indicate that the circuit breaker has tripped due to an overload, short circuit or ground fault. A shunt trip will trip a breaker remotely, and an under voltage trip release will activate when voltage shuts off or dips.

So, when looking to install new or replacement breakers, consider the 3VA5 products that offer myriad design possibilities.

Hubbell Disconnect Switch Enhances Safety with LED Phase Indicators

Hubbell Insight Circuit Lock with LEDs

The National Electronic Code requires that disconnect switches be in the line of sight of a user, motor and the equipment the motor drives. This allows the motor to be shut down for maximum safety. Now, Hubbell Wiring Device-Kellems has upgraded its 30amp disconnect switches to include LED lights that takes this line-of-sight visibility to the next level.

The company has introduced technology, dubbed inSIGHT™, that incorporates six LED phase-indicator lights. Three LEDS show the status of the line side and three lights represent the load side wiring. The electrical status of each phase is within sight and clearly displayed on the cover so that users are provided a secondary way to confirm make/break on all phases prior to removing the enclosure cover. For example, if there is a welded contact or dropped phase the operator can determine that a problem exists (see Fig. 1).

Hubbell non-metallic disconnect switch with LED lights

With an ever growing focus on safety improvements, Hubbell disconnects provide a difference you literally can see.

Hubbell phase-indicating disconnect switches are available in non-metallic, and stainless steel square top and sloped top versions. Replacement covers are available for upgrades to existing installations.

LED lights from Hubbell Wiring
Fig. 1: LED lights provide users with the status during different phases of line and load wiring.

The 30A Circuit-Lock Disconnect Switches are available with or without a jog switch to slowly move the motor forward or in reverse. Customers have the option to either purchase the entire disconnect unit or an LED replacement cover for compatible existing 30A Disconnect Switches.

As with most NEC-certified disconnect switches, when locked in the “off” position, the high-visibility red rotary handle complies with OSHA lockout/tagout requirements. When in the “on” position, the cover cannot be opened.

Hubbell's stainless steel sloped top disconnect.
Hubbell’s stainless steel sloped top disconnect

Designed to be tough, reliable and provide exceptional performance in the most grueling conditions, the disconnect switch’s IP69k rating means that it can withstand high-pressure, high-temperature washdowns. The units have been tested to withstand extremely hot water (176degF) and high-pressure water spray (1450psi) from various angles. In other destructive testing, the device is placed in a dust chamber for 8 hours while a vacuum attempts to pull dust into the sealed housing.

HHubbell's stainless steel square top disconnect.
Hubbell’s stainless steel square top disconnect

The switch is also certified by the NSF for use in food processing applications, and is UL Listed for Type 4X, which means that it can be used for either indoor or outdoor applications. It is also listed for Type 12 enclosures, which are enclosures constructed without knockouts for indoor use to protect personnel against access to hazardous parts, and to provide ingress protection for the electrical contents.

Features:
* Six highly visible integral phase identification LEDs
* External LEDs provide secondary means of visual confirmation of make/break on all phases
* Cover cannot be removed with switch in the “ON” position
* Certified by NSF for hygiene in Food Processing applications
* Highly visible red handle which meets OSHA LO/TO capabilities
* Available in 30 Amp non-metallic and stainless steel versions, with or without JOG switch
* UL witnessed IP69k and UL Type 4X and 12 Environmental ratings

 

Schneider Electric Acquires ASCO Power Technologies

Schneider Electric, a global specialist in energy management and automation, has acquired Asco Power Technologies, a leader in the Automatic Transfer Switch  market, for $1.25 billion.

ASCO employs 2,000 people, mainly in North America, and operates 7 manufacturing sites.  ASCO introduced ATS in 1925 and later expanded into surge, loadbanks, and fire pump and control applications. Since December 2016, ASCO has been operating as a autonomous part of Vertiv (formerly Emerson Network Power).

ATS automatically transfers critical loads from the primary source of power to the back-up power source in the event of a power outage. The Asco switches are designed specifically to meet regulations and power voltages used in the U.S.
According to the company, with the addition of the ASCO portfolio, Schneider Electric’s EcoStruxure Power Platform is further enhanced in North America and around the world especially in terms of applications in healthcare, financial services, data centers and other critical buildings.

What Cities Pay Electricians the Most?

Electricians in San Rafael, CA, earn the highest pay per hour in the country, but Illinois electricians don’t do to bad either, according to a report in Electrical Construction & Maintenance magazine.

For electricians working in the San Rafael area, the hourly mean wage is $48.32 and the annual mean wage is $100,500.

This is substantial greater than the national average. Based on Bureau of Labor Statistics and reported by EC&M, the national average salary estimate for an electrician is $53,560 and hourly wage is $25.75.

Earnings by electricians in the Steiner Electric reach are near the top of the list as well. The Chicago market, for instance, ranked #4 nationally with an hourly mean wage of $38.29 and an annual mean wage of $79,650. The Rockford area ranked #8 in the top 10 list with an hourly mean wage of $37.06 and an annual mean wage of $77,090.

Top 10 Cities for Electrician’s Pay
10. Newark, NJ-PA Metropolitan Area
Hourly mean wage: $36.86
Annual mean wage: $76,670
9. Anchorage, AK
Hourly mean wage: $36.99
Annual mean wage: $76,930
8. Rockford, IL
Hourly mean wage: $37.06
Annual mean wage: $77,090
7. Kennewick-Richland, WA
Hourly mean wage: $37.68
Annual mean wage: $78,380
6. New York-Jersey City-White Plains, NY-NJ Metropolitan Area
Hourly mean wage: $37.92
Annual mean wage: $78,880
5. Fairbanks, AK
Hourly mean wage: $38.25
Annual mean wage: $79,550
4. Chicago-Naperville-Arlington Heights, IL Metropolitan Area
Hourly mean wage: $38.29
Annual mean wage: $79,650
3. San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, CA
Hourly mean wage: $38.46
Annual mean wage: $79,990
2. San Francisco-Redwood City-South San Francisco, CA Metropolitan Area
Hourly mean wage: $47.04
Annual mean wage: $97,910
1. San Rafael, CA, Metropolitan Area
Hourly mean wage: $48.32
Annual mean wage: $100,500

Get Ready for Winter Work with Steiner

Winter is right around the corner and when the snow starts accumulating and the temperature starts to fall, the season of ice, snow and cold can turn a workplace into a survival of the fittest.

If you or your employees work in the field or in any location where winter weather presents safety concerns, you may wish to take some precautions. Steiner Electric and some of its vendors can help. A Winter Workplace Safety Counter Day has been scheduled to run at our Rockford branch on Oct. 31, from 11am-1pm.

The event will bring vendors of personal protection equipment, heating technology, lighting and lighting controls. Because equipment can also be at risk, technology on display will showcase portable testing equipment that can capture test data and have the information delivered to anyplace around the world.

Keep covered

Winter-related slips and falls, frostbite, hypothermia and more can result in time off work, temporary employee costs, overtime for existing employees, and increased insurance costs.

When it comes to personal protection, the head, ears and noses are among the extremities that get cold the fastest and must be protected.

Protective Industrial Products (PIP) will showcase a selection of gloves, head gear, and liners that helps protect workers. Headware includes 2-layer cotton models with mouthpiece, insulated ear barriers, and which have been FR (flame resistant) treated. They come in mid lengths and shoulder lengths.

For its gloves and sleeves, PIP uses Dyneema® and DuPont® advanced fibers as well as other proprietary engineered yarn blends and coatings to meet ANSI and EN standards. Breathable cut resistant gloves allow for dexterous work with wires and other components. Some versions can be used for dry and light-oil applications, and offer good grip and excellent abrasion resistance.

PIP air-assisted heat packs.

PIP will also feature air-activated hand warmers. The Heat Pack Mini Hand Warmers, which uses oxidation from the interaction of iron powder, activated carbon and water when it is exposed to air, provides 8 hours of warmth. It can be activated and reach full temperature in 2-5 minutes. Heating can be suspended at any time by resealing the inserts in an airtight container.

Freeze protection

Frozen pipes can be an aggravating experience for maintenance workers no matter the location.

Pentair’s Raychem self regulated cable.

Pentair’s Raychem products on display include self-regulating trace heating cables that are used for frost protection of pipes, temperature maintenance of process fluids, tank heating, and other applications.

The self-regulating heating cables automatically adjusts its power output to compensate for temperature changes. According to a Pentair video explaining the process, a protective core surrounds two parallel conductors. As the ambient temperature drops, the core contracts microscopically and the number of electrical paths increase and generates heat. Conversely, as the temperatures increases, the core expands and the number of paths decrease.

Pentair will showcase its Raychem QuickNet and Nuheat floor-heating systems.  These products are for installation under tile, granite, marble, stone, laminate and engineered wood flooring.

Also on display is the T2Red electric underfloor heating cable that the company says is ideal for temperature sensitive floors such as wood, laminate as well as for natural stone, and ceramic tiles. The self regulating cable can be cut-to-length on site, and can be overlapped or narrow spaced without danger of overheating, the company says.

Illuminating in the cold weather

Cold weather can also play havoc with lighting, especially fluorescent and high-intensity discharge (HID) lighting.

On display in Rockford will be a series of lamps and ballasts that work well in the cold. In addition to the lamps, some of the latest in lighting-control technology will be on display.

For those looking to replace lighting technology that works well in outdoor cold temperatures, then LED might be the answer as they tend to work better in this environment. Cold weather helps the LED stay cool.

RAB LED wallpack.

RAB will display wall packs and area lighting. Models on display include the RAB HPS Wall Packs for wide light distribution that feature a die-formed aluminum reflector and a prismatic polycarbonate refractor. Metal halide RAB Wall Packs feature symmetrical light patterns to maximize lighting distances between fixtures, while the prismatic optics minimize glare. For security and energy efficiency, RAB will showcase CFL motion controlled Wall Packs that are fully adjustable for 24-hour operation and feature custom applications.

In low-temperature environments such as refrigerated areas, fluorescent lamps can experience adverse performance problems such as “fluttering,” reduced light output and difficulty starting by a traditional ballast.

Philips’s Advance ballast.

Cold weather ballasts from Philips can start the fluorescent lamps at temperatures expected to be below 50°F. Cold weather electronic and magnetic ballasts can be specified for lamps that can start them at temperatures as low as -20°F.

Philips will also be showcasing some of its vast range of LED products.

 

Maintaining machines in the field

Since its 2014 introduction, Fluke Corp.’s Connect technology has won awards from trade show judges, such as the AHR Expo, and from many trade magazine award competitions (EDN, Control Engineering).

The technology allows data collected from a growing number of the company’s handheld instruments such as its multimeters, infrared thermometers, and AC/DC current meters, to be shared via Smartphones to anywhere in the world.

Thermal imager with Fluke Connect.

Fluke Connect Assets is a cloud-based wireless system of software and test tools that gives maintenance managers a comprehensive view of all critical equipment — including baseline, historical, and current test tool measurement data, current status, and past inspection data — enabling them to set up and sustain a preventive maintenance or condition-based maintenance system easily with minimal investment.

 

Square D Road Warrior Trailer Rolls Into Steiner Electric

Industry leader Square D loaded up its new Road Warrior Trailer with some of its newest and most innovative products and is making appearances at three Steiner Electric branches in August.

From ready-to-install (RTI) panelboards to surge protection devices with myriad mounting options, meters, diagnostic devices and energy management systems, the products on display in the Square D Road Warrior Trailer are designed to speed-up installations, reduce mistakes, call backs and component lists.

The Road Warrior Trailer makes three stops at Steiner Electric in August. The first is Aug. 8, from 11am to 1pm, in Elk Grove Village. On Aug. 15, the trailer rolls into Rockford, and two days later it appears at the St. Charles branch from 10am to 1pm.

Units on display include ready-to-install (RTI) panelboards such as the NQ panel, which is designed to meet 240Vac maximum rating applications and offer powerful circuit protection. Additional features showcased include a group mounted (factory installed) SPD unit, finger guard on incoming wires as per new code, and CAFI and DF breakers.

Another line on display is the the HomeLine Plug-on group of circuit breakers and load centers that help contractors save time on installation, and meet NECs code regarding arc and ground fault requirements.

Homeline Plug-on features on display include, Plug on Neutral CAFI and DF breakers, incoming wires finger guard, push-to-test DF breakers, and Group mounted SPD.

Also on display is the QO load center for applications ranging from agricultural to industrial, commercial to residential with indoor and outdoor versions available. The QO is a load center and circuit breaker family that comes in single and three-phase, ¾ in. circuit breaker width, 30  to 400 amps, 2 to 42 circuits and separate flush or surface mounted covers.

Additional features on display for the QO Load Center (Plug on), include the finger guard requirement, Plug on Neutral CAFI and DF breakers, the Qwik Grip wire management system, hinged Trim with adjustable dead front, and Visi-Trip breakers.

Other items on display include EZM corner section metering, Wiser Energy Load Center, which features a new load control with all-inclusive CT’s and communication package for metering, and a whole range of SPDs in unit mount, group mount and side mount.

Come See The Square D Road Warrior Trailer in August
• Elk Grove on Tuesday, Aug. 8, from 11am to 1pm
• Rockford Branch, on Tuesday, Aug. 15, from 11am top 1pm
• St. Charles on Tuesday, Aug. 17, from 10am to 1pm
Lunch provided during each event.

Come and Qualify for The 2017 IDEAL National Championship

Do you consider yourself one of the country’s best electricians? If so, test your abilities at the qualifying rounds of the IDEAL National Championship being held at Steiner Electric’s Rockford facility on June 22, and its Elk Grove Village facilities on June 29.

The events coincide with customer appreciation days at the two venues. In Rockford, Steiner will host its 20th Annual Pig Roast, which, in addition to the electrical competition, will also feature new products and prizes. The following week, in Elk Grove Village, Steiner will host its Great American BBQ.

It was at a Steiner event last year that the 2016 IDEAL National Championship winner, Greg Anliker, qualified to move on in the competition.  Anliker, an electrician with 20 years’ experience, will defend his title as the country’s best professional electrician at this year’s Championship Weekend, Nov. 10-11, 2017, in Lake Buena Vista, FL.

Will you make it through the gauntlet of challenges to get a chance to challenge Anliker as this year’s champ?

In the IDEAL National Championship qualifying rounds, contestants are required to demonstrate problem-solving and physical skills across four categories: wire cutting, stripping, termination, and testing through a multi-station speed test judged by fastest completion time and overall accuracy of the wire connection.

National Electrical Safety Month

National Electrical Safety Month

May is National Electrical Safety Month and this year the focus of the Electrical Safety Foundation International (ESFI) annual effort is to foster a clearer understanding of the National Electrical Code. The campaign, “Decoding the National Electrical Code® (NEC) to Prevent Shock and Electrocution,” features illustrated graphic resources to promote common ways to prevent electrical hazards.

According to the ESFI, which launched the safety campaign, thousands of people in the U.S. are critically injured and electrocuted as a result of electrical fires, accidents and electrocution. Additionally, an estimated annual average of 70 electrocution fatalities are associated with consumer products.

The National Electrical Code (NEC) creates a universal electrical safety standard that applies to new construction and renovations. The code is only in effect after it is adopted by the state or local jurisdiction. First published in 1897, the NEC has been adopted in all 50 states as the standard for safe electrical installation, inspection, and used to protect people and property from avoidable electrical hazards. Every three years, the Code is updated to include new, but tested safety technologies. There have been 15 code revisions since 1974.

As part of the ESFI’s safety effort to improve understanding of the NEC, the group developed the illustrated program, the “Electric Safety Illustrated 2017: Decoding the NEC to Prevent Shock and Electrocution.”

National Electrical Code: Your Guideline to Safety

Tamper Resistant Receptacles – Childproofing Done Right

Electric Shock Drowning – Unknown Danger Lurking in the Water

Surge Protection – Keeping your Electronics and Home Safe

Ground Fault Circuit Interrupters – Your Protection from Electrocution

The program is financially supported by many leading companies in the industry, including several firms whose products are distributed by Steiner Electric. For instance, ESFI is promoting the use of ground fault circuit interrupters, and several Steiner vendors offer these products, including: Lutron, Eaton, Hubbell, Siemens, Legrand and Leviton. Other Steiner vendors participating in the program, include: Schneider Electric and Ilsco.

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.

For 100 Years

2016 marks the 100th anniversary of Steiner Electric Company. Our fourth generation, original family owned and operated, company is very grateful for the many opportunities to serve our customers and the communities of our nine locations. For 100 years Steiner has continually evolved to meet the changing needs of our customers, suppliers and employees through technology, innovation and a culture of “helping our customer be the very best for their customers”.

George S Steiner
George S. Steiner (seated left)

Since George S. Steiner (left) founded our company in 1916 we have helped our customers grow their business by not only providing perhaps the largest inventory of electrical supplies in northern Illinois, but the product knowledge, application support and systems to save time and reduce operational expenses. We focused on expanding our core competencies with diversified but complementary products and services. There are five major divisions with the structure and teams to meet or exceed our customers’ expectations.

  1. Electrical Supplies
  2. Lighting & Control
  3. Generator Sales, Service and Rental
  4. Automation Products & Controls
  5. Metalworking & Industrial Supplies

The five bands within our 100th anniversary logo create a pathway from 1916 to 2016 corresponding to our five core competencies. The two rings are linked to show our interconnectedness from our past to our future. We gratefully acknowledge and learn from our history, whose foundation was built by our past customers, employees and suppliers. We embrace the future and the changes required to stay the course to creatively earn opportunities for future generations.

Steiner 100 Years

Thank you very much

Richard Kerman
President & CEO
Steiner Electric Company