Electrical engineer, arc flash expert: 2011 IEEE Richard Harold Kaufmann Award

David D. Shipp recognized for contributions to the design, analysis and protection of electrical power systems and personnel in industrial and commercial applications.


David D. Shipp, an engineer whose many areas of expertise have improved electrical equipment and systems reliability as well as workplace safety in many industries, has been honored by IEEE with the 2011 IEEE Richard Harold Kaufmann Award.

The award, sponsored by IEEE Industry Applications Society, recognizes Shipp for contributions to the design, analysis and protection of electrical power systems and personnel in industrial and commercial applications. The award will be presented on May 4th, 2011 at the Industrial and Commercial Power Systems Technical Conference in Los Angeles, Calif.

For 38 years Shipp has worked at the forefront of power technology, contributing important solutions in areas ranging from power systems analysis, failure investigations, design and protection to power quality to arc flash solutions and safety measures. Shipp’s arc flash studies have resulted in mitigation methods and solutions that have saved lives and reduced injury and risk to maintenance personnel. An arc flash is a short circuit through the air from one exposed conductor to another with excessive heat/energy being released. Arc flashes can damage equipment and cause injuries to nearby people. His patented Arc Flash Reduction Maintenance System has been incorporated into overcurrent protection devices, improving electrical workplace safety across many industries.

Shipp was instrumental in determining why massive internal ground fault damage was occurring in industrial generators and how to mitigate it. Shipp was a key participant in an IEEE team that determined the accepted generator ground fault current selection for design/standards at that time was too high. The Hybrid High Resistance Grounding system was developed to automatically switch the generator ground fault level to a lower level when an internal ground fault was detected, which greatly reduced damage to the generator for internal faults but permits higher levels required for the external power system. The work resulted in revisions to the American National Standards Institute (ANSI)/IEEE generator standards.

Another of Shipp’s areas of expertise is power quality. Power quality pertains to making sure systems and equipment function correctly without loss of performance. As more electronic-type loads proliferate into industry, their sensitivity to harmonics, improper grounding and voltage variations can take a toll on equipment. Shipp’s contributions in this area augmented other engineers with techniques and methods to efficiently and cost effectively solve power quality problems. His work on harmonics became the basis for Chapter 10 of the ANSI/IEEE Standard 399, “Recommended Practices for Power Systems Analysis.” This book is used by engineers worldwide as the basic text on the subject.

Present day activities focus on medium voltage switching transient induced failures. Over the last several years, there have been many unexplained transformer or motor failures associated with breaker switching. Shipp’s power system analysis approach identifying the root cause and solutions are setting new standards and practices.

An IEEE Fellow, Shipp owns three patents and occasionally serves as a legal expert witness. He received Hart E+P magazine’s Meritorious Engineering Award for two different applications involving submersible pumps for the oil industry. He also received the Engineer of the Year Award from Eaton Electrical for his arc flash efforts. Shipp received a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering (power option) from Oregon State University, Corvallis. He began his career in 1972 at Westinghouse Electric Corporation. Since 1998 he has worked for Eaton Electrical, Warrendale, PA, where he is a principal engineer.



- Edited by Amanda McLeman, Control Engineering, www.controleng.com

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