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.
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.
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.
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:
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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).
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.
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).
June 30th is Social Media Day. In honor of the special occasion we will reflect on some interesting and successful social campaigns being implemented across popular social channels by three different brands. The following campaigns provide great examples of effective uses of social media (Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and YouTube) any company can beneficially emulate to drive customer engagement.
Carhartt has campaigns across Facebook and Twitter that allow interactivity for fans and followers – for example, hashtag contests like #OutWorkThemAll encourage users to share photos of themselves working on tough projects while wearing Carhartt gear.
Carhartt engineers consistency across Twitter and Facebook, with many similar campaign attributes being utilized in both networks. Hashtag campaigns like #OutWorkThemAll thrive cross-network, sharing photos of customers and products, providing Carhartt with a cost-effective grassroots promotional product campaign.
Carhartt also actively posts several videos and playlists on YouTube – one of which is the helpful “Do-It-Yourself” series of videos. These instructional videos provide customers with an easy guide of how to use products or how to complete tasks. They help answer customers’ questions giving Carhartt a practical extension to their customer service operations.
Kohler too promotes their individual campaigns across multiple social media networks. For instance, the #HurricaneStrong campaign is run across Twitter and Facebook. This hashtag campaign is dedicated to preparing for power outages caused by Hurricane storms.
Kohler also tweets about timely events, tying into their brand. For instance, how they partnered with another company to help with the Flint Water Crisis. An organization or brand that posts content in relation to current events allows followers on social media to see real-world examples of how brands can affect or have a positive impact in responding to a current crisis.
Kohler additionally provides up-to-date information on details from trade shows and other events that they attend. This allows users to find an event they may be interested in attending to learn more about industry-related topics pertinent to their business.
Kohler further has an active YouTube channel used to showcase their products and technology. From videos on the manufacturing of Kohler Generators to the importance of backup power generators for both homes and businesses, there are several reasons for users to view the Kohler YouTube channel.
Audiences can find value in Kohler videos for a multitude of reasons – perhaps they want to see a step-by-step guided process or learn how to undertake a task. Some videos can help teach processes, while other videos may show future technology and upcoming product releases, providing sneak previews of next generation innovations.
Photos of Philips lights and lamps used for illuminating the exterior of buildings around the world are displayed on Twitter. Philips’ Twitter account shares colorful lighting photos that showcase the latest innovations from the lighting industry. Philips also shares articles from magazines, promoting stories that feature Philips products and services. Sharing these publications gives Philips positive recognition from third-party trusted sources.
Philips Lighting’s Facebook page contains contests, such as a chance to win Philips and Star Wars lights by simply telling them what makes your child a Star Wars fan. Philips also shares images of LED lights in use, such as in the Amsterdam Arena. Similar to Kohler, Philips utilizes current events to advantageously position their brand.
With several videos, from “How To” demonstrations to featured products, there are numerous choices available for viewing on the Philips YouTube channel. The “How To” videos provide guidance, while the featured products showcase the range of innovative products that Philips Lighting offers.
As a worldwide company Philips also localizes their videos by translating them into several languages catering to the copious local markets they serve, which means you’ll find many Philips videos offered in multiple languages.
Philips additionally shares invitations for seminars and webinars through LinkedIn, encouraging more participation from readers and followers. The free seminars offer pertinent information on relevant and timely industry topics providing continuing education on practical applications of the latest trends.
Posting a variety of useful and timely content on social media networks – from current event related information on community outreach initiatives – to featuring new products – to event invitations – to contests – provides information that is helpful and engaging to your target audience. Having customers continually return to engage with your brand underscores the importance of utilizing social media to capture mindshare that ultimately leads to market share.
Additionally, another benefit of being active on social media is interaction – not only with customers but with other companies that are also present and active on social media. This allows for the potential of cross-promoting each other to audiences, sharing to each customer base, as well as creating the opportunity for building a working relationship between the two (or more) interacting companies.
There are countless strategies and uses for social media that any company can benefit in, but even simply being active and maintaining a presence online (answering customer feedback or questions) is advantageous to any brand. In this digital age, more customers and prospective customers flock to the internet to learn more about a company, or to just find a brand for their particular interest or need, therefore it is absolutely essential to be ready and represented online.
The terms “switchboard” and “switchgear” are interchangeable to engineers and architects. While they are in fact, interchangeable, they do both have distinct differences that are worth noting. These differences include configurations, components, reliability, standards and applications.
One of the major differences between switchboards and switchgear is the type of breakers that are used. The basic types are sealed, semi-open and open types. Specifically, these are called molded case, insulated case and power circuit breakers.
Molded case circuit breakers (MCCBs) are often used in all types of low-voltage switchboards and panelboards. These breakers can be found in ratings from 15 amps to 3,000 amps.
The breaker mechanism is sealed inside of the external molded case. If the breaker has a failure then it is to be replaced. These breakers are typically bolted onto the bus, or may have plug-in designs. The removal or addition of MCCBs to a switchboard must ONLY occur when the switchboard is turned off.
Power circuit breakers have ratings that range from 800 amps to 5,000 amps. PCBs are tested with different standards from MCCBs or ICCBs. They are attached to the bus in a drawout design, which allows the breakers to be withdrawn partially or fully while the entire switchgear is powered on. They have various components that are inspected and replaced. These components include arc chutes, contacts and pole assemblies.
To understand the differences between Switchboards and Switchgear, we will need to look at several variable considerations – Maintainability, Economics, System Coordination, Size and Project Application.
(Note: this article will cover circuit breaker type switchboards as compared to switchgear, and though some engineers may have a preference for fusible switchboards, this would get into fuses vs. circuit breakers, a topic for another discussion)
Switchgear has the type of maintainable steel frame breakers which you are able to draw out. Switchgear also has mechanisms that draw out or rack out on racking arms. The main reason to use switchgear over switchboards is due to the ease of maintenance. Switchgear is more maintainable – this is due to the breakers that are used. Air circuit breakers are used in switchgear and insulated or molded case breakers are used in switchboards.
Switchgear incorporates low voltage power circuit breakers – abbreviated to LVPCB. Steel framed LVPCB’s have heavy-duty metal frames that are designed for ease of maintenance.
On the other hand, plastic-enclosed breakers must be disassembled to access the operating mechanisms, which makes it more complicated to maintain. In addition to this, plastic-enclosed breakers – if not requiring disassembling, would need to be unsealed to get to the internal components.
As in other applications, the economics are an important area to focus on. In many instances the initial factor that a potential customer or buyer reviews is the installed cost.
Group mounted switchboards tend to be less costly, while the individually mounted switchboards are about 15 to 50% more than group mounted switchboards. This all depends on the number and type of devices that are required. Typically, you will find that switchgear is more expensive than individually mounted switchboards.
LVPCB’s don’t need an instantaneous trip function to be built in. Main and feeder breakers, likewise can be built without the instantaneous trip function.
Without it, main, feeders and other downstream devices are able to be more freely coordinated. Switchgear is more sophisticated in its trip functionality than switchboard breakers. This allows for a higher degree of coordination.
Another important consideration is the size. Switchgear is larger because of the rear access that is necessary for cable terminations, while switchboard construction is smaller and usually requires front access because of the group mounted circuit breaker arrangement.
Some applications are restricted in space, thus, a group-mounted switchboard is the only option. If the equipment needs to be against the wall, thereby eliminating the option for rear access, then the only alternative is group-mounted switchboards that allow for front-accessible terminations.
Group mounted switchboards require the use of molded case breakers as feeders. Because of this, the density can be greater and the overall width would be less. Applications that require higher levels of reliability, maintainability or remote operation need to be designed to allow for rear access of that gear.
Some projects require the use of switchgear, while other projects would be better suited with switchboards. An example of this is schools and the healthcare industry. Power to a school would not be as critical as that to a hospital.
The ability to precisely coordinate breakers allows for enhanced power integrity, thus preventing nuisance trips, resulting in reduced outages. For instance, hospitals require more reliable and dependable power due to the urgency of the industry, since lives are involved and operating tables are used.
A switchboard that has a size and cost advantage is suited well for a school, while the switchgear may be better for the hospital. In either case, it would be beneficial to look at the location or project and determine what would be the best option on a case-by-case basis.
Spring storms can wreak havoc and cause major disruptions to daily routines for homes and businesses. Being prepared in advance for spring storms that can cause power outages is critical to maintain operability, mitigate production losses and prevent injuries or even fatalities. Whether you’re caring for a home or managing a commercial facility providing a backup power source through a residential generator or an industrial generator can help keep everyone safe and productive without interruption. Following are some general tips on how to be prepared for spring storms at home or in a commercial business environment.
There are several ways in which you can ensure your home and family are ready for spring storms. Being prepared is your best defense against a power outage. The precautions outlined in the following checklist are important to maintain in the event of an outage.
Develop a family emergency plan. It can include phone numbers of doctors and family members, an evacuation route and a location that is agreed upon prior to meet.
Create your own disaster kit. This kit can also be a simple Emergency Storm Bucket, which contains important items such as sharpies, tape, flashlights, first aid kits, Ziploc bags, matches, candles, batteries, radio, landline phone, safety gear like goggles, and camera to document damage in a storm.
Turn off major appliances such as microwaves, TVs, and computers. This will prevent damage to appliances and overloads to the power system when power is restored. Leave one light switch on so you can be alerted when power is restored.
Familiarize yourself with the main electrical panel. You may need to turn off the main breaker or reset circuit breakers after an outage.
Keep away from fallen wires, flooded areas and storm debris. You should treat any downed wires as though they have electricity running through them.
Consider installing a Kohler Standby Generator to protect your home. Standby Generators are installed permanently on the outside of your home. More information on residential generator options is provided later in this article.
Use caution when operating a portable generator. Use properly rated extension cords, and don’t place them in your home or enclosed space like a garage. Don’t connect them directly to the home’s electrical system, as electricity can flow back into the power lines and serve as a liability. Plug appliances directly into the portable generator.
Many homeowners are now installing an emergency backup power generator. The number one issue people are faced with after a storm is lack of power, cutting off communication and other essentials. There are two main types of residential generators to choose from – portable generators and automatic standby generators.
Some homes opt for portable generators when planning for storm power outages. The benefits include ease of mobility and economical options. They are designed to run a select number of appliances as opposed to the entire home, so there are trade-offs to the benefits as opposed to a standby generator.
A portable generator must be positioned outside a home away from doors and windows in order to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning. Homeowners must run the correct extension cords to the generator and need to be present in order to operate and refuel the generator manually.
Automatic standby generators are installed outside the home. Standby generators rely on an automatic transfer switch, which automatically switches on the generator when it senses the main source of power has been lost, and unlike a portable generator, they offer the added benefit of being permanently installed outside the home.
They run on natural gas or propane and run on existing gas lines. Once power is lost in a home, standby generators are turned on automatically within 10 seconds. These generators can power all critical systems and appliances within a home. Homeowners will NOT need to be present to operate and refuel the generator.
It is also important to properly maintain your generator by having a professional generator repair technician service the unit periodically. Steiner can help you maintain your generator and keep it running optimally. You can call Steiner at 847-956-3098 anytime, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week for generator repair and maintenance services.
In addition to protecting residential homes Kohler also offers commercial and industrial generators that reliably power your business.
Like homeowners, businesses need to make contingency and safety plans ahead of time in preparation for a power outage. The actual protocols vary on the type of commercial facility, however. For example, some buildings have elevators or escalators that may need to follow specified state or municipal regulations. Escape routes, stairwells and exits should be clearly marked. Emergency lights can also be installed to provide visibility by automatically switching on during a power outage. You can get more information on power outage regulations and safety requirements from your local fire department and government offices.
Businesses can benefit, too, from emergency kits. Flashlights, batteries, first aid kits, tools and even food and water are some ideal items to keep in your emergency kits. Having food available serves in the event that employees are confined to the building for an extended period of time.
In order to help save valuable data make sure employee work stations use UL-listed surge protectors and computers are backed up regularly to a data center that utilizes an uninterruptible power supply to keep its servers running when a power outage hits.
Many businesses install backup power generators for industrial and commercial continuous, prime or standby applications. For small businesses a standby commercial generator keeps power on and allows the business to maintain operations during an outage. The generator is installed on the outside of the facility, much like an AC unit, and uses an automatic transfer switch to turn on automatically when it senses the main power source has been lost, during and outside of normal business hours so critical computing or machine operations can continue. These standby commercial generators run on propane or natural gas, so there’s no refueling.
For larger commercial applications Kohler industrial generators can power large-scale data centers, sports stadiums, concert venues, skyscrapers, office buildings and airport facilities. These industrial generators run on diesel, natural or propane gas. In addition to industrial generators installed onsite Kohler offers towable generators.
Towable generators are designed to be used for powering remote locations, sporting events or concerts. They can power hard-wired systems such as A/C, heat, computers, security systems and refrigerator/freezers. Towable generators run on diesel fuel or LP gas.
Backup power is important for every business; there are many benefits, including but not limited to:
Keeping the lights, A/C and heating on to provide a safe environment for employees and patrons
Protecting your revenue stream and inventory during an outage
Powering your communication, security systems and computing systems
Keeping operations running so your customers can rely on you
Power generators are a necessity for any business or homeowner alike. How do you decide which type is the best option for you? A towable or an installed commercial generator for your business? Standby or portable generator for your home? As an authorized Kohler Dealer, Steiner can help point you in the right direction with our wide variety of Kohler Generator options and experienced professional technicians. Whether you need help with installation, maintenance, repair or rental of a generator, Steiner Electric offers 24-hour service by simply calling us at 847-956-3098. An operator will be happy to assist and connect you with a seasoned professional generator technician.