Mueller Electric Blog

Plant Safety in Grounding & Bonding

Posted by Tim Ulshafer on Sep 21, 2018 1:29:55 PM

When you think of plant safety it is common to think about the things you can see or do. This can be rules and regulations on how to navigate throughout the plant as well as wearing the appropriate safety attire such as hard hats, safety glasses, ear plugs, in addition to fire suits or Kevlar gloves to name a few. So, if the plant has all these things, isn’t it safe? Well, maybe, or maybe not? What about the things you can’t see such as static electricity? Have you considered the need for grounding and bonding?

C clamp barrel fb size 1The number of static electricity incidents reported in the U.S. exceeds more the 250 a year. The reports of these incidents are way more common that you would like to think. Certainly, when electrostatic charge build-up exists in a flammable or explosive environment a very hazardous situation has been created.

Typically these situations can be avoided by installing high quality low resistance grounding/ bonding cables containing clips and clamps. The clips are required to maintain high clamp pressure and the clamps will need to have a paint piercing point to be effective in garnering a solid metal on metal connection to reduce resistance and reduce static. The clips and clamps can be connected to a braided copper cable or better yet, a stainless steel wire rope which tends to hold up better in industrial applications. Make sure the connections to the cables are tight and always test the assembly for low resistance, the closer you get to 1 OHM the better.

Grounding / bonding cables don’t always guarantee static dissipation. Many times a grounding or bonding cable is attached to an object (tank or pump) which has been coated for protection. These types of coatings can impede the clip or clamp’s ability to make a solid metal to metal connection, which in turn, increases the resistance within the grounding structure. With increased resistance comes the possibility of electrostatic discharge failure. Rust build up on the clip or clamp can also create a coating which will disrupt a solid metal to metal connection. As a result, this too will create an unsafe environment. To avoid these situations, always test your grounding / bonding cable’s connections for resistance at the time of employment. If the resistance is low, great! Move on. If the resistance is high, make the necessary adjustments to insure a solid connection and low resistance. Don’t take a chance, make sure a solid connection is evident before giving it your seal of approval.

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Proper maintenance is also critical to insure that your grounding / bonding equipment is in proper condition to effectively reduce static. Regular inspections of your grounding / bonding equipment are a necessity in any industrial setting. As you know, industrial environments can and will severely test the structural integrity of any device, including grounding / bonding cables and assemblies. Remember, inspect what you expect!

In conclusion, plant safety goes well beyond the need for appropriate attire and traffic flow logistics throughout the plant. Electrostatic discharge, the invisible threat, will need to be addressed as well. High quality, low resistance affordable grounding / bonding equipment is readily available to provide the required protection. Appropriately placed grounding / bonding cables and assemblies along with consistent resistance testing will provide a safe work environment for everyone.         

To read more about grounding and bonding, check out our whitepaper 3 cables 2

Topics: Grounding Metal, Static Electricity Grounding, Grounding Wires, Grounding, Grounding Clamp, Static Electricity, Static Control, Static Electricity Industrial, engineering, custom cables

Case Study: Retrofitting A Wire Harness

Posted by Tim Ulshafer on Sep 11, 2018 9:02:48 AM

Business Challenge: The case of retrofitting a new device onto a legacy harness.

A major engineering firm approached Mueller Electric to help engineer a solution to their customer’s problem of installing new fleet intercoms into their current vehicles. The vehicles already had a wire harness accessible through the dashboard which was installed during the initial assembly process at the factory. This harness accommodated the docking station for the original intercoms which have now become obsolete. Since intercoms are a necessity for the fleet, new intercoms were purchased but they were not compatible with the original harness. One option would have been to replace the original harness in the vehicle, but this would have been very expensive and time consuming.

Solution: Build a cable assembly with the necessary functionality that can mate with each end successfully.    

The engineering firm’s customer wanted to have a short, light-weight solution as space on the cab was limited. It also needed to be easy to install as there were several thousand cabs that needed to be retrofitted with the new intercom. Additionally, the solution had to provide a seamless functionality so there were no interruptions to service in the cab.

IMG_0896Result: A custom solution was built, tested and placed into service. 

The engineering firm provided drawings of the initial harness, the new intercom and a sample of the new docking station. After careful consideration, a conceptual drawing was created and prototypes were assembled. The prototypes had a modular connector on one end which mated with the original harness and a DC plug on the other which mated with the new docking station and were joined by an 18 AWG 2 conductor cable 18 inches in length. It was short, light weight and successfully mated with both the original harness and new docking station. The prototypes were installed in test cabs and they worked perfectly. An order was placed too retrofit the remaining cabs.  

Future: Custom answers to transportation challenges

Many times, a component or system becomes obsolete forcing a company to replace it. This can also result in needing to replace much more than the one component to keep everything compatible and in working order.  In the transportation industry, this has a very costly outcome as it also leads to downtime as well as hours of labor in the replacement.  Mueller Electric is able to provide a solution for companies to bridge the old and the new, through cost effective solutions. A company can bring the fleet up to date quickly while saving money in the process.

 

This is just one example of the capability that Mueller Electric’s custom assembly program can deliver. Whether it’s an application of retrofitting, grounding, connecting equipment, test and measurement, maintenance, or any other custom application Mueller can provide a solution specific to your requirements. Mueller Electric has provided high quality, long lasting and cost effective solutions to the power generation and distribution, oil & gas, automotive, manufacturing and medical industries and more for generations.  

For more information on our custom capabilities, check out our page here.  

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Topics: custom cables

Selecting a Supplier to Build your Custom Cable Assembly

Posted by Tim Ulshafer on Jun 19, 2018 10:35:30 AM

Many believe that taking a “least cost” approach is best in sourcing a supplier for the building of their custom cable assembly. What does that approach guarantee? Well, it guarantees a low price but does it guarantee on time delivery of a high quality product? Unfortunately, when accepting a low price as the main driver for supplier selection you usually get what you pay for, a great price, but, also long lead times and a product of marginal quality. Custom assemblies are usually unique in their design and are quite involved when it comes to design and assembly. To effectively source a supplier to build your unique custom cable assembly you should consider many factors on the way to your final decision. These factors are:

  • Reputation
  • Experience
  • Ability to provide prototypes
  • Willingness to provide samples for test
  • Ability to adjust to design changes quickly
  • Ability to meet deadlines
  • Ownership and financial stability

When you start your search make sure you look for companies who have a reputation of supplying quality products. You will avoid unnecessary risks by limiting your search to those who know how to deliver quality products. Make sure your selection originates from only those with a great reputation for quality. This will provide a great foundation for making the proper supplier selection. Within this group of potential suppliers find out which have experience in building and supplying cable assemblies. If you are looking for complex harnesses make sure you look for those with harness expertise. If you are looking for more simplistic assemblies such as grounding assemblies, for example, go with a supplier who has expertise in supplying quality grounding assemblies.

brainstorming 1When it comes to having a uniquely designed custom cable assembly it is always best practice to have a prototype made from the original specification for your consideration. This will allow your engineer(s) and possibly your customer a chance to review the original assembly build to insure it meets everyone’s expectations. Product modifications can usually be spotted at this time. Very few first articles are perfect right from spec. If a potential supplier will not agree to provide a prototype, move on and find a supplier who will.

Once a final version of the prototype is established it may be necessary for a number of samples to be built for testing purposes. If this is the case for your assembly make sure you find a supplier who is willing to provide test samples of the assemblies you need. Testing is usually necessary to insure the assembly can perform as expected from the prototyping phase. Like prototyping this too can lead to additional design changes. This is a critical step in the process of cable assembly development. Like prototyping, if your prospective supplier is not willing to provide samples, consider moving on with your selection.

Another important consideration is your prospective supplier’s ability to ship on time and meet deadlines. We’ve all been involved with projects that are held up due to longer than expected lead times. Yes, sometimes things happen that are beyond your control, but, many suppliers eager to get the business often quote shorter lead times simply to win business. When this occurs, nobody wins as lead times often stretch well beyond project deadlines bringing the project to a halt. During your selection process ask your prospective supplier how they quote lead times. Additionally, always ask what their on-time delivery performance is for the type of assembly you are sourcing.

Finally, supplier ownership and financial stability is key for a prospective supplier producing a critical piece of your project. Why take the risk of having your supplier potentially struggle to buy parts and raw materials for your assembly; or even worse, suspend operations altogether leaving you at square one. Nobody wants to be in this position so make sure you check out your prospective supplier’s financial credentials before entering into a contract.

It’s not as easy as you might think to choose a supplier to manufacture your customer cable assembly. Make certain you do your due diligence. This will allow you to make the appropriate selection for a supplier perfect for your project. Although this may take some time up front, it is far better to take the time to learn rather than suffer the consequences of poor judgement after it’s too late.

Interested in what we do? Click the button below to see our custom assembly capabilities. 

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Topics: custom cables

The Design Process

Posted by Mona Weiss on May 9, 2018 9:56:35 AM

We make a really great assortment of cables here at Mueller, and one of the things we really excel at is doing custom bulk orders. We have a huge inventory of wires and terminations with custom over molding capabilities, and sourcing whatever we need for a project. We also have a great production team of 10 people who specialize in building custom assemblies right here in Ohio, engineering support and helpful staff. We can design and build exactly what you need.  

cable2We are already known for manufacturing high quality grounding and bonding cables, but we can make other electrical cables and assemblies as well. So if you need something and don't see it as part of our ready-made selection feel free to talk to us and see if we can create what you need and save you money in the process. If you currently order parts and make cable assemblies in-house at your facility, we may also be able to save you money and time on production. In fact, our customers have saved as much as 25% by sourcing their cable assemblies from us. 

When people and businesses contact us to design something custom, we want to make the process easy and painless.

The design process can vary depending on the customer's need. Some people know exactly what they want (or have a prototype that they just want us to quote on) and others may need some guidance and recommendations to accomplish their goal. 

When you contact us, we will discuss your application and your thoughts on what you think the design could be. If you already have specs and sketches ready, that is very useful to us, but it isn't required. If you have any challenges we can go over solutions and ideas for your consideration. Then we'll put together a prototype and send it to you for a test. From there we can either modify the prototype or quote you on manufacturing the part. 

We look forward to working with you. Click on the button below to reach out to us and get a no-obligation quote. 

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Topics: custom cables

Options to Consider For a Custom Cable Assembly

Posted by Mona Weiss on May 1, 2018 1:36:59 PM

If you are in need of a wire or cable assembly that is custom made for your specific requirements, there are a number of options to consider. On the surface it's pretty simple - You have a wire, and then something on the ends of the wire (or not). But there are tons of options to customize and get it just right for what you need. 

Environment:  Will the assembly be used in conditions that are wet? Hot? Will it be exposed to fuel or other HAZMAT materials?  Flexibility: Do the wires need to be very flexible? Do you want coiled wires instead of straight wires?  Colors: Do you need the wire to be a particular color?  Length: How long does the cable need to be?  Terminations and Connectors: There are tons of options to consider for the cable ends. You can have everything from a bare wire, to lugs, clips, connectors, keyed, VGA, etc. Maybe you need hardware that is custom-molded.  Insulation: Does the wire need to be insulated? What type of coating do you need? What about the terminations – do they need to be insulated as well?  UL Listed: Do you need UL listed parts?  Wire Gauge: What size wire do you need?

If you are not 100% sure of your needs, we are here to help. Click the button below and fill out the form on the page to consult with our team or get a quote. 

Get A Custom Quote

Topics: Static Electricity Grounding, Grounding, custom cables