Trends In Major Power Distribution In Large Data Centers, the Rebirth of the 'Loadcenter' Unit Substation Concept

This series of "Cut the Copper" blogs is in direct response to questions I’ve received from many young engineers on the staffs of various data center owners and their consulting engineering firms I’ve recently met.

04/04/2012



You should know before we begin that I’m a highly opinionated old guy who’s been around the electrical industry for a very long time. What I’ll be writing will likely trigger controversy—the story will be light on theory, and heavy on practical experience. I expect to see agreement from about half the electrical industry, and strong disagreement and some hate mail from the other half. But, in any case, you might agree that the history is interesting, so let’s begin the story with some background.

Liquid-Filled Medium Voltage Distribution Transformers and “Loadcenters”

For the first 35 years of the U.S. electrical industry, everyone could see that the good old mineral oil filled distribution transformer was a wonderful apparatus—except when it failed catastrophically with a ruptured tank and a good supply of oxygen and an ignition source—in which case it became a lethal ball of hot, orange flames and dense black smoke. To be installed safely indoors, oil-filled transformers had to be placed only inside enclosed fireproof vaults. 

That all changed in 1935 when Monsanto Chemical Co. acquired a small chemical company named Swann Chemical Co., who had developed a new electrical insulating fluid compound having the name “Askarel.” The liquid had all of the desirable properties of mineral oil for use as an insulating fluid in transformers, including high dielectric strength, good thermal conductivity, and low coefficient of expansion. But, beyond that, it was an inert, synthetic chemical product that could hardly be ignited under any circumstances—its chief benefit was that it was essentially non-flammable, in addition to possessing all the other good properties you’d want in a transformer insulating fluid. 

Monsanto began to market the product to the electrical industry under the trade name Aroclor. The electrical industry giants back in the day, GE and Westinghouse, immediately recognized the potential of this new liquid, and began purchasing it for use in capacitors, transformers, lighting ballasts, and other products. GE marketed the product under the trade name Pyranol, and Westinghouse marketed the product under the trade name Inerteen. The new products containing those liquids were hugely successful and much appreciated in their respective markets.



No comments
The Engineers' Choice Awards highlight some of the best new control, instrumentation and automation products as chosen by...
Each year, a panel of Control Engineering editors and industry expert judges select the System Integrator of the Year Award winners.
Control Engineering Leaders Under 40 identifies and gives recognition to young engineers who...
Learn more about methods used to ensure that the integration between the safety system and the process control...
Adding industrial toughness and reliability to Ethernet eGuide
Technological advances like multiple-in-multiple-out (MIMO) transmitting and receiving
Virtualization advice: 4 ways splitting servers can help manufacturing; Efficient motion controls; Fill the brain drain; Learn from the HART Plant of the Year
Two sides to process safety: Combining human and technical factors in your program; Preparing HMI graphics for migrations; Mechatronics and safety; Engineers' Choice Awards
Detecting security breaches: Forensic invenstigations depend on knowing your networks inside and out; Wireless workers; Opening robotic control; Product exclusive: Robust encoders
The Ask Control Engineering blog covers all aspects of automation, including motors, drives, sensors, motion control, machine control, and embedded systems.
Join this ongoing discussion of machine guarding topics, including solutions assessments, regulatory compliance, gap analysis...
News and comments from Control Engineering process industries editor, Peter Welander.
IMS Research, recently acquired by IHS Inc., is a leading independent supplier of market research and consultancy to the global electronics industry.
This is a blog from the trenches – written by engineers who are implementing and upgrading control systems every day across every industry.
Anthony Baker is a fictitious aggregation of experts from Callisto Integration, providing manufacturing consulting and systems integration.
Integrator Guide

Integrator Guide

Search the online Automation Integrator Guide
 

Create New Listing

Visit the System Integrators page to view past winners of Control Engineering's System Integrator of the Year Award and learn how to enter the competition. You will also find more information on system integrators and Control System Integrators Association.

Case Study Database

Case Study Database

Get more exposure for your case study by uploading it to the Control Engineering case study database, where end-users can identify relevant solutions and explore what the experts are doing to effectively implement a variety of technology and productivity related projects.

These case studies provide examples of how knowledgeable solution providers have used technology, processes and people to create effective and successful implementations in real-world situations. Case studies can be completed by filling out a simple online form where you can outline the project title, abstract, and full story in 1500 words or less; upload photos, videos and a logo.

Click here to visit the Case Study Database and upload your case study.