A quick summary and review of 10 previous blogs

Let’s take a look at what we’ve already discovered, and review the most important aspects of this “Cut the Copper” series.

06/06/2012


We’re now at 11 weeks into this series of blogs. I thank you for reading, and I appreciate your comments and questions. This might be a good time to pause a bit to review and summarize what we’ve said so far in the 10 preceding blogs. Those blogs have been generally historical background for the real topic coming soon–to “Cut the Copper” in modern data centers. Here’s a summary of our past discussions:

  1. In the earliest days of the electrical industry in the United States, good old mineral oil-filled distribution transformers proved to be very reliable devices, except when they blew up in a big ball of orange flames and black smoke. In order to be safely installed indoors, they had to be placed only inside fireproof vaults.
  2. The development of Askarel fluids in the 1930s allowed distribution transformers to be moved indoors, physically closer to the secondary loads, without risk of fire. The liquid was essentially nonflammable, and the transformers could be installed almost anywhere inside a facility, without worries about fire safety.
  3. During the World War II years, the overall national supply of copper became very tight, and most of the copper that could be produced was rationed to the construction of war machinery and munitions. This forced electrical engineers to become more creative in their power systems designs for facilities of all types, and the “loadcenter unit substation” concept was refined, caught on, and was very widely adopted. With intelligent system designs, the total tonnage of copper required for a distribution system could be reduced by about 80% from previous typical designs.
  4. From the beginning of World War II into the mid-1970s, tens of thousands of Askarel-filled distribution transformers were produced and installed inside plants of all types in the U.S., arranged in “Loadcenter Unit Substation” configurations. One of the key chemical ingredients in the Askarel fluid was a compound known as polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs).
  5. In the early 1970s, the U.S Environmental Protection Agency was formed by Congress, and soon began to study the harmful effects of PCBs on humans when PCBs entered into the food chain. In 1979, the EPA concluded that PCBs were a very dangerous substance that caused genetic problems in humans, and issued a formal ban on all production of PCBs in the U.S.
  6. Transformer manufacturers experimented with other liquids as substitutes for Askarel–but all of those liquids had serious drawbacks that prevented widespread adoption. None of the new liquids worked nearly as well as the Askarel they were intended to replace.
  7. Open-ventilated dry-type transformers soon became quite popular, and worked very well in loadcenter unit substations until medium-voltage vacuum breakers became popular in the early 1980s, and were widely applied in all types of electrical distribution systems.
  8. The unique fault-interruption characteristics of vacuum circuit breakers highlighted a weakness in dry-type transformers, that hadn’t really been seen before with liquid transformers. When switching the primary windings of a distribution transformer, the load current and magnetizing current that had been flowing through windings dropped to “zero” nearly instantaneously, and the energy trapped inside immediately displayed itself as a huge transient voltage across the winding terminals.
  9. This phenomenon has caused many catastrophic failures of medium voltage dry-type transformers applied inside facilities of all types. Dry-types installed in data centers have been particularly vulnerable to this mode of failure, for a variety of reasons that have been discussed in recent blogs, and will be discussed further in upcoming blogs. 


Coming next week will be a little more history: “The early 2000s: The amazing boom of data center construction.”

Send me your comments and questions using the feedback mechanism below.



The Top Plant program honors outstanding manufacturing facilities in North America. View the 2015 Top Plant.
The Product of the Year program recognizes products newly released in the manufacturing industries.
Each year, a panel of Control Engineering and Plant Engineering editors and industry expert judges select the System Integrator of the Year Award winners in three categories.
Doubling down on digital manufacturing; Data driving predictive maintenance; Electric motors and generators; Rewarding operational improvement
2017 Lubrication Guide; Software tools; Microgrids and energy strategies; Use robots effectively
Prescriptive maintenance; Hannover Messe 2017 recap; Reduce welding errors
The cloud, mobility, and remote operations; SCADA and contextual mobility; Custom UPS empowering a secure pipeline
Infrastructure for natural gas expansion; Artificial lift methods; Disruptive technology and fugitive gas emissions
Mobility as the means to offshore innovation; Preventing another Deepwater Horizon; ROVs as subsea robots; SCADA and the radio spectrum
Research team developing Tesla coil designs; Implementing wireless process sensing
Commissioning electrical systems; Designing emergency and standby generator systems; Paralleling switchgear generator systems
Natural gas engines; New applications for fuel cells; Large engines become more efficient; Extending boiler life

Annual Salary Survey

Before the calendar turned, 2016 already had the makings of a pivotal year for manufacturing, and for the world.

There were the big events for the year, including the United States as Partner Country at Hannover Messe in April and the 2016 International Manufacturing Technology Show in Chicago in September. There's also the matter of the U.S. presidential elections in November, which promise to shape policy in manufacturing for years to come.

But the year started with global economic turmoil, as a slowdown in Chinese manufacturing triggered a worldwide stock hiccup that sent values plummeting. The continued plunge in world oil prices has resulted in a slowdown in exploration and, by extension, the manufacture of exploration equipment.

Read more: 2015 Salary Survey

Maintenance and reliability tips and best practices from the maintenance and reliability coaches at Allied Reliability Group.
The One Voice for Manufacturing blog reports on federal public policy issues impacting the manufacturing sector. One Voice is a joint effort by the National Tooling and Machining...
The Society for Maintenance and Reliability Professionals an organization devoted...
Join this ongoing discussion of machine guarding topics, including solutions assessments, regulatory compliance, gap analysis...
IMS Research, recently acquired by IHS Inc., is a leading independent supplier of market research and consultancy to the global electronics industry.
Maintenance is not optional in manufacturing. It’s a profit center, driving productivity and uptime while reducing overall repair costs.
The Lachance on CMMS blog is about current maintenance topics. Blogger Paul Lachance is president and chief technology officer for Smartware Group.
The maintenance journey has been a long, slow trek for most manufacturers and has gone from preventive maintenance to predictive maintenance.
Featured articles highlight technologies that enable the Industrial Internet of Things, IIoT-related products and strategies to get data more easily to the user.
This digital report will explore several aspects of how IIoT will transform manufacturing in the coming years.
Maintenance Manager; California Oils Corp.
Associate, Electrical Engineering; Wood Harbinger
Control Systems Engineer; Robert Bosch Corp.
This course focuses on climate analysis, appropriateness of cooling system selection, and combining cooling systems.
This course will help identify and reveal electrical hazards and identify the solutions to implementing and maintaining a safe work environment.
This course explains how maintaining power and communication systems through emergency power-generation systems is critical.
click me