Eaton’s Bussmann Utilises High Speed Thinking to Reduce the Dangers Associated with Arc Flash Hazards

AL fuseEaton’s Bussmann business has developed a new arc limiting (AL) fuse for the utilities market that combats the dangers of arc flash hazard during live working on 415V 3-phase utility distribution networks.

The new fuse combines all the attributes of a high-speed fuse but engineered to fit into British Standard BS88-5 low voltage feeder-pillar, J type fuse applications. The fuse works by rapidly clearing short circuit faults, typically caused by accidental contact with live cables during excavation or digging, and limiting the energy let through considerably so reducing the available arc fault energy.

The new AL fuse is available in 200 and 315 A ratings and is rated up to 80kA.

Prior to works commencing on the electrical system the new AL fuse temporarily replaces the existing fuses in the substation or pole mounted transformer. The changeover can be done without isolating the supply so minimising service interruption. Maintenance or remedial works can then be carried out with the system live but in the knowledge that should a cable be damaged any resulting arc flash will be substantially minimised. After works have been completed the original fuses can be re-installed.

For utility companies the availability of the new AL fuse confers several notable advantages; the danger to operatives is radically reduced; live working means that continuity of supply is maintained for customers and consequently the network operator avoids any penalty by having to switch off the supply to carry out routine maintenance or upgrading,

Tony Garlinge-Warren, senior applications engineer at Eaton’s Bussmann business, explains: “Arc flash is a well-documented hazard of live working. The intense heat and light energy created by the electrical short circuit poses a danger to operatives including the threat of burns, flash blindness and injuries from fragments of flying molten metal. Though PPE measures are always advocated, the single biggest measure that can be taken to reduce arc flash risk is to limit the energy present through rapid clearing of the fault.”

He continues: “ The new arc limiting fuse is a specially designed high speed, low voltage product that is extremely current limiting. It uses a proven element design, encased in a special grade of sand to cope with the energy release, that we have engineered to fit into a British Standard body to BS88-5 dimensions. We can honestly say this fuse is unique and considered essential for safe live working on utility distribution networks.”

Eaton’s Electrical Sector is a global leader with expertise in power distribution and circuit protection; backup power protection; control and automation; lighting and security; structural solutions and wiring devices; solutions for harsh and hazardous environments; and engineering services. Eaton is positioned through its global solutions to answer today’s most critical electrical power management challenges.

Eaton is a power management company providing energy-efficient solutions that help our customers effectively manage electrical, hydraulic and mechanical power. A global technology leader, Eaton acquired Cooper Industries plc in November 2012. The 2012 revenue of the combined companies was $21.8 billion on a pro forma basis. Eaton has approximately 102,000 employees and sells products to customers in more than 175 countries.

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