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Old 03-08-2012, 08:21 AM   #1
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Default Help Needed with 600v Panel Safety

I am new to this site and hope to get some help on a problem we are having. I work in the textile industry and we are having a problem making a 600v panel safe to work in. The panel is a 600v panel that controls a spinning machine. There are multiple inverters in the panel and we have had them blow in the past so anytime my guys have to go in these panels hot they must be in full arc flash gear. Problem is these machines have a power supply that has to be reset from time to time and there is a safety door switch on the panel that kills the power when opened. So if we get a boot alarm on the power supply here is what has to happen. Electrician has to get in his full arc flash gear turn the power off on the machine, open the panel, disable the door switch, turn power back on from inside panel, reset boot alarm, look at the LCD screen on power supply to make sure it was reset, turn power off, enable the door switch, close the panel, then turn the power back on and hope that the alarm is still clear when we power back up. We can instal a plexiglass window on the panel so that the LCD screen can be seen but we still have the problem of pressing the button on the power supply to reset the alarm. My question is, Is there some type of plunger style button with a rod on the back that we could install to press that button on the inside of that panel. Then my guys would never need to disable a door safety switch and they could reset these alarms and be out of harms way. Any help would be appreciated.

Thanks,
Blake Williams
Alabama
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Old 03-08-2012, 08:56 AM   #2
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So how deep will the plexiglass shards embed themselves in your unprotected workers if something's goes bang?
You do have options, and one of them is to call a qualified electrician to do what you need done.
Or if your electricians are telling you what needs to be done,, you might want to listen to them.
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Old 03-08-2012, 09:05 AM   #3
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A lot of equipment has viewing windows. I don't see a problem with that, but I can't say how to design it safely. I might toss in a 1/2" piece of polycarbonate.

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Old 03-08-2012, 09:23 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Big John
A lot of equipment has viewing windows. I don't see a problem with that, but I can't say how to design it safely. I might toss in a 1/2" piece of polycarbonate.

-John
Your right, a lot of equipment are designed with windows.
It's the older gear that causes problems.
1/2" might be an over kill, but I do believe square D & others make listed retro-kits for gear.
.
My concern would be both employee safety & employer liability. Just because a boss changes something to make life easier, doesn't make it safer.

edit: already seen a melted / punctured window on an air compressed after a co-worker installed a window to see.. It was only a size 1 @ 208.
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Old 03-08-2012, 10:22 AM   #5
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My Electricians are the reason I came to this site. They came to me with a suggestion for us to research a better way to do things. They are busy as it is and reseting these alarms is time consuming. They came to me and asked if we could come up with a safe way through the door to reset these alarms. Plexiglass was just a thought. Plastic viewing windows are another thought. The panel has plastic fans mounted in the front of it as well. I will not sacrifice the safety of my people just to make something easier. Just wondered if there was a way. My qualified electricians will be the ones doing the work. I was just trying to see if anyone in an industrial environment had seen anything like this before. Thank you to those of you that replied with serious posts trying to help out some other people in the industry.
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Old 03-08-2012, 12:24 PM   #6
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There are arc rated Hoffman boxes that may be your solution.
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Old 03-08-2012, 03:03 PM   #7
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I would move the device out of the enclosure remote if the environment allows it. ie Dust or vapors not present just thought
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Old 03-08-2012, 05:23 PM   #8
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To answer your question though, there are just mechancical plunger type push buttons for motor starter overload relays that would work.

A-B 800FM-ATR** (about 3/4 of the way down the page) then pick the length depending on the depth of the enclosure from the door to the reset button.
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Old 03-08-2012, 07:19 PM   #9
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My question is why are the drives failing and why do they need to be reset. Solving this root problem solves all the other issues.

The drives are trying to tell you something and your not listening......
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Old 03-08-2012, 07:33 PM   #10
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Sounds like a poorly designed cabinet to begin with. A fexible cable main breaker would save a ton of time right off the bat. Add that to a door mounted reset and viola. Anywho like they said above you should discover the root cause of the failure and correct that before re engineering the cabinet.
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Old 03-08-2012, 07:40 PM   #11
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Thanks. And I agree with you 100%. We do replace the drives when possible. However we do have a very long lead time on the drives from the OEM and we were looking for a safe alternative to the reset while as the new drives arrive and we can replace them.


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My question is why are the drives failing and why do they need to be reset. Solving this root problem solves all the other issues.

The drives are trying to tell you something and your not listening......
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Old 03-08-2012, 07:47 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Textile Professional View Post
Thanks. And I agree with you 100%. We do replace the drives when possible. However we do have a very long lead time on the drives from the OEM and we were looking for a safe alternative to the reset while as the new drives arrive and we can replace them.
Sounds like you need to get your inventory up a little bit. You put your employees welfare at risk for the savings of not keeping a drive in inventory.

Consider getting away from the oEM drive, and getting something you can get quickly and won't flake out on you like your current ones. Poll your guys, and I'll bet they'll tell you to switch to Allen-Bradley drives.
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Old 03-08-2012, 07:53 PM   #13
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Thanks. I have a secondary vendor trying to cross the drive for us. I could have as many as 4 or 5 on order with the oEM at a time and it is getting a little ridiculous. I appreciate you replying.



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Sounds like you need to get your inventory up a little bit. You put your employees welfare at risk for the savings of not keeping a drive in inventory.

Consider getting away from the oEM drive, and getting something you can get quickly and won't flake out on you like your current ones. Poll your guys, and I'll bet they'll tell you to switch to Allen-Bradley drives.
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Old 03-08-2012, 07:55 PM   #14
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Do you happen to have the brand and model of your current drive handy?
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Old 03-08-2012, 08:04 PM   #15
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I would have a stroke if we had "four or five" drives on order.
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Old 03-08-2012, 08:47 PM   #16
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It would interesting if pictures were posted.
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Old 03-08-2012, 09:24 PM   #17
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Remember he said 600V, which is very common in the textile industry, especially in the South East.

The underlying problem is, it's difficult to make a quality 600V drive, the power devices are not as readily available to the mfrs, so lead times tend to be longer and the prices are higher. Basically when the semiconductor mfrs make power devices like SCRs and transistors, one way they rate them based on their Peak Inverse Voltage (PIV) withstand capability, in other words their ability to BLOCK voltage when they are supposed to (oversimplified but let's move on). So only the "cream of the crop" of semiconductors can be used at higher voltages. The mfrs test batches of them and if they pass higher, they label them higher and because they are more rare, they can charge more. But what happens is that once the semiconductor mfrs fill their needs for 600V rated devices, they stop bothering with the higher level of testing (because the failure rate means wasted product). So because the demand for 600V rated devices is lower, a lot of devices that might have passed at 600V end up sold as 480V anyway.

Because of that, there are a couple of VFD mfrs that "cheat" in that they take their standard 480V drive components and do a test themselves at 600V and if they don't blow up, they sell them as 600V. But that also means that if they were wrong, or the test itself stresses the devices, they have a high field failure rate. I won't name names, but let's just say that the cheaper 600V drives are cheaper for a reason, and unfortunately a number of OEMs go for cheap because all they care about is if the drives out last the warranty.

When I worked for a VFD mfr, we had a hard time understanding how one of our competitors, who sold a LOT of 600V drives to the textile industry in the Southeast, was able to sell them so much cheaper than us. So we bought one and opened it up. They were using an IPM (a style of power device) that we understood was not available in 600V rating. But when we checked the mfrs part number, lo and behold it was the exact same IPM we were using for 480V. We called the mfr and they said it was never tested at 600V, but that didn't stop the other guys from selling them that way.

So bottom line, you might be well served to stop replacing those drives in kind and go for a higher quality drive.
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Old 03-08-2012, 09:29 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Textile Professional View Post
I am new to this site and hope to get some help on a problem we are having. I work in the textile industry and we are having a problem making a 600v panel safe to work in. The panel is a 600v panel that controls a spinning machine. There are multiple inverters in the panel and we have had them blow in the past so anytime my guys have to go in these panels hot they must be in full arc flash gear. Problem is these machines have a power supply that has to be reset from time to time and there is a safety door switch on the panel that kills the power when opened. So if we get a boot alarm on the power supply here is what has to happen. Electrician has to get in his full arc flash gear turn the power off on the machine, open the panel, disable the door switch, turn power back on from inside panel, reset boot alarm, look at the LCD screen on power supply to make sure it was reset, turn power off, enable the door switch, close the panel, then turn the power back on and hope that the alarm is still clear when we power back up. We can instal a plexiglass window on the panel so that the LCD screen can be seen but we still have the problem of pressing the button on the power supply to reset the alarm. My question is, Is there some type of plunger style button with a rod on the back that we could install to press that button on the inside of that panel. Then my guys would never need to disable a door safety switch and they could reset these alarms and be out of harms way. Any help would be appreciated.

Thanks,
Blake Williams
Alabama
Yes, it can be done with a insulated rod through the panel.
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Old 03-08-2012, 10:42 PM   #19
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Thanks. Do you know of a.brand name or style I could research and possibly purchase a sample for testing?



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Yes, it can be done with a insulated rod through the panel.
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Old 03-09-2012, 08:50 AM   #20
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Your wanting a standard item, the push rod. Your electrician should be able to get and install that for you. If they dont know what it is get a better electrician. The rod does not cost a lot. Schnieder makes one. I think jraef put a link of another brands up also.
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