Schneider Electric Provides Safety Switches For Infinite Applications

Schneider’s Square D Safety switches are vital components to safety and power control. They are a means to disconnect from the electrical load and provide protection to the branch circuit.

When necessary, they can be used to disconnect manufacturing equipment, heavy machinery and light commercial and residential applications from its power source. Users may need to disconnect equipment from its electrical supply for a variety of reasons from scheduled preventive maintenance to emergency stoppage.

The performance of safety switches is important to the safe operation of many industrial applications. In addition, requirements from a variety of organizations  have increased the use of safety switches in many commercial and industrial facilities.

In addition, safety switches are an NEC requirement in industrial and manufacturing facilities.  For instance, a safety switch must be in sight from all motors or manufacturing equipment and not more than 50 feet from the equipment it controls.

A key performance benefit of the Schneider safety switch is its ability to break load. A locked motor can draw six to eight times motor full-load current. In an emergency situation, it’s important to have a safety switch with enhanced load-break features such as those featured in Schneider’s switches. A key element of Square D safety switches is its blade and jaw construction that has been designed to manage heavy motor loads and arc interruptions.

Multiple types of disconnect switches are available, and the switch that work for you depends on a number of factors in your working environment.  Steiner’s expertise can help make the appropriate choice. Steiner stocks a large inventory of safety switches ready for pickup at one of our convenient locations or on-time delivery to your facility or job site, including: general duty, heavy duty and double throw switches in single and multiple pole, fusible and non-fusible.

Here is a look at some of the most common safety switches.

General Duty Safety Switch
Schneider Electric Square D General Duty Safety Switch
General Duty Safety Switch

One of the most go-to safety switches are those that are considered General Duty (GD) safety switches. These are designed for residential and commercial applications and where durability and economy are prime considerations. Typical loads are lighting, air conditioning, and appliances. They are suitable for use as service equipment when equipped with a factory or field-installed neutral assembly or a field-installed service grounding kit as applicable.

  • Voltage: Maximum voltage of 240 V
  • Current Rating: Max amperage of 800 A
  • Enclosure: Available in Type 1 and Type 3R enclosures
  • Certification: UL Listed, File E2875
  • Standard: Meets or exceeds the NEMA Standard KS1
Heavy Duty Safety Switch
Schneider Electric Square D Heavy Duty Safety Switch
Heavy Duty Safety Switch

Visible blade heavy duty safety switches are designed for applications where maximum performance and continuity of service are required. All heavy duty safety switches feature a quick-make, quick-break operating mechanism, a dual-cover interlock and a color-coded indicator handle.

  • Voltage: Maximum voltage of 600 V (ac/dc)
  • Current Rating: Max amperage of 1200 A
  • Enclosure: Available in Type 1, Type 3R, Type 4, Type 4X, Type 5, Type 7, Type 9, Type 12 and Type 12K enclosures
Double Throw Safety Switch
Schneider Electric Square D Double Throw Safety Switch
Double Throw Safety Switch

Double throw safety switches are designed for manual transfer of one load between two power sources. The units are tough and reliable to provide emergency back-up power connections in accordance with Article 702 of the National Electrical Code, ANSI/NFPA 70.

  • Voltage: Maximum voltage of 600 V (ac/dc)
  • Current Rating: Max amperage of 600 A
  • Enclosure: Available in Type 1, Type 3R, Type 4, Type 4X, Type 5 and Type 12 enclosures
Make Selections EZ

These safety-switch options, and others that are more specific in application, come with multiple options such as various difference in amperage and voltage. In some cases, the question is whether to use fusible or non-fusible switches.  Fusible safety switches combine fuses with the switch in a single enclosure. For both fusible and non-fusible safety switches, when the circuit is open, the safety switch disconnects the load from its source of power, while closing the circuit reconnects the load.

The Schneider Electric Safety Switch EZ Selector can guide you to the most appropriate safety switch for your required application.
The Safety Switch EZ Selector can guide you to the most appropriate safety switch for your required application.

With all the product variables from application to enclosure type, voltage to amperage applications, selecting the appropriate safety switch can be a challenge. Schneider Electric has made the process simpler by developing the EZ Selector system.

The EZ Selector tools ask simple “click-to-answer questions,” and the user is self-guided through a process that ultimately leads to the right product for the application.

Order online or call 1-800-STEINER (783-4637) to speak with a Steiner sales representative for more information on Schneider Square D Safety Switches.

Get a Free Carthartt Jacket or Utility Cart with Steiner Promo

Steiner promo for tools and equipment

An MRO or electrical contractor has to be prepared for just about any contingency, and being prepared often means having the right tool. The good news is that Steiner has a broad inventory of tools, tool accessories and equipment for you, and the better news is that from now until March 15, 2018, if you buy tools, equipment and tool accessories from select manufacturers, you may be eligible to receive a free Carhartt jacket or a utility cart.

If you purchase $1,000 or more in tools, tool accessories or equipment from the select manufacturers below, you will receive a free Carhartt jacket. If you purchase more than $2,500 in tools, tool accessories or equipment from those companies, you can receive a free utility cart. The special promotion runs through March 15, 2018. Limit one offer per customer. While supplies last.

Choose from these select manufacturers:

MilwaukeeKlein ToolsGreenlee

Here are just a few examples of the products available from our leading manufacturers:

  • Pliers
  • Screwdrivers and nut drivers
  • Wire strippers
  • Fishing tools
  • Cable/wire pullers
  • Conduit/pipe benders
  • Power drills and drivers, hammer/drills, impact drivers
  • Driller/drive combinations
  • Power saws/band saws
  • Hole saw kits
  • Blades, bits and other accessories

EZ Ways to Select Schneider Pushbuttons

Emergency stops. Restarts. Line changes. These and other functions have at least one thing in common: pushbuttons.

Pushbuttons are relatively simple devices. At their most basic, the literal push-a-button to facilitate change, they open and close circuits. They can start an industrial process, stop it, or perform other predetermined functions that humans, interacting with machines, deem necessary.

Schneider's new 30 mm pushbutton is at the forefront of the industry.
Schneider’s new 30 mm pushbutton is at the forefront of the industry.

While simple, they are not simplistic. First, there are literal pushbuttons such as the 30 mm from Schneider (pictured), and then there are sibling products in the pushbutton family such as pilot lights and selector switches.

Then there are the many options available. Many, many options in some cases.

To help its customers, Schneider Electric and Steiner Electric have combined to make things a little easier with new pushbutton selector tools.

At the Forefront of Pushbuttons

First, what are all these options?

Today’s pushbuttons are modular in nature and can be augmented with application-specific accessories that can turn them into aesthetically pleasing, easy-to-use human-machine interface (HMI) components. They can be used in a galaxy of applications from pristine production to harsh process environments and integrated into stand-alone machinery or sophisticated, multi-purpose assembly lines … just about any industry with operations that have been automated, but still require some human intervention is an appropriate use.

Schneider Electric is a leader in pushbuttons, including the Harmony line which is distributed by Steiner Electric. The pushbuttons and signaling devices come in a range of styles that provide easy and reliable operations for industrial applications.

In this Schneider video, Jim Clark, Marketing Director Control and Signaling, says that Harmony offers the best-in-class pushbuttons, pilot lights, and switches on the market.

Harmony pushbuttons, which comply with all international standards, have been designed for OEMs, system integrators, panel builders, and others that build, repair, or customize machinery. For them, Schneider offers a unique and unrivaled depth of push-buttons, pilot lights and switches on the market, Clark says.

Visitors to the EZ Selectors page can create a semi-custom pushbutton designed for their specific application.
Various components and accessories for the Harmony 9001K 30 mm pushbutton.

One of the newest products, and an industry game changer, is the 30 mm Harmony pushbutton that expands on its 22-mm version. The 9001 30mm products include pushbuttons, pilot lights, selector switches, and mushroom head buttons. The rugged 9001 operators can feature chrome-plate bezels, black plastic bezels for corrosion-resistant applications, chrome-plated square bezels that provide multi-function operation, and many, many other options. Contacts, profiles, and additional options can be swapped out for something more appropriate.

So how is selection simpler?

Visitors to the EZ Selectors page can create a semi-custom pushbutton designed for their specific application.
Visitors to the EZ Selectors page can create a semi-custom pushbutton designed for their specific application.

With all these options selecting the appropriate pushbutton can be a challenge. Schneider Electric has made the process simpler by developing the EZ Selectors system.

The EZ Selector tools ask simple “click-to-answer questions,” and the user is self-guided through a process that ultimately leads to the right product for the application.

For instance, from the main EZ selector page, users can go to a product subset such as the 30-mm pushbutton or emergency stop product. From there, they can drill down into the various options to find the appropriate component.

Do you want, chromium-plated metal or plastic as the bezel material? Do you want the operator profile to be projecting, recessed or flush? The lens color can be any of 7 colors in one model or just black, green and red for another.

Once you’ve selected your needed product you can add it to your shopping cart. That is where Steiner Electric comes in. We will facilitate the purchase and either deliver the part or allow you the option to pick it up in one of our 8 conveniently located Will-Call Counters.

To see how it all works, give it try!





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.

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.

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.


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.


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.


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.

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.


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.


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 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.

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.


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.


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.


“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

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.


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.


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).