by Greg Carter
Power circuit breaker manufacturing in the U.S. has struggled over the past five years due to weakened demand downstream where the equipment is installed. In turn, the market has faced increased competition from overseas OEMs.
“Both commercial and residential construction suffered, while industrial production slowed significantly, leading to less activity within the mining, manufacturing, electric and gas industries,” says industry analyst Antonio Danova.
In what could be called a stimulus package for the power management economy, Connecticut-based Satin American, LLC, has rolled out a series of global power breaker solutions aimed at industrial and commercial end users looking to upgrade their existing gear. This means end users rely less on the OEMs for introducing costly new technology, while exploring upgrade paths equal in performance toward renewing their existing power equipment.
One of Satin American’s products, the ETC-12, is a patented circuit breaker upgrade system. This replacement system extends the useful life of the breaker while ensuring parts availability from Satin American long after the OEM has stopped supporting the equipment. The ETC-12 is a replacement system for Schneider Electric’s Masterpact (M-Series) breaker. An increasing number of OEM series are reaching obsolescence. The ubiquitous M-Series was put out of production in 2004.
The ETC-12 represents one of many products and services Satin American offers. “Should I upgrade or replace my circuit breaker or switchgear?” That’s a question that customers ask themselves before they call for help in extending the electrical life of their equipment. Satin is now developing a circuit breaker and switchgear Power Management Library to explain customers’ options in addressing this question.
Satin has put in place a network of trained circuit breaker and switchgear installers worldwide who can be dispatched within hours to deal with costly operational downtime. Domestically, the company mobilized a field crew of over 10 sales engineers and 25 electrical service technicians in the northeast in response to outages during Hurricane Sandy. Sales engineers were on the road around the clock for onsite service and remanufacturing work as a result of catastrophic damage up and down the power distribution grid, according to Anthony Robinson, Vice President at RESA Power Solutions.
“We saw electrical systems from 208V, 480V, 4160V and even 15KV and up impacted by this storm. Fortunately, Satin technicians are equipped to handle all voltages and all vintages of switchgear”, Robinson explained.
Satin American maintains a fully outfitted machine shop fabricating everything from small breaker components to full switchgear lineups and renewal parts for every U.S. manufacturer since the 1940’s. As the power management marketplace faces increased overseas competition, Satin has ramped up its capabilities to re-energize vintage power gear to function reliably for decades.