Mark McCracken

Mark McCracken is the Control Specialist for Advanced Controls & Distribution.
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Recent Posts

Motor Control Centers – Yesterday and Today

Posted by Mark McCracken on Jan 25, 2016 12:14:06 PM

What do stadiums and steel mills have in common, other than Pittsburgh pride?

Both traditionally use Motor Control Centers (MCC), an automation technology that has deep roots in many manufacturing industries.

MCCs are an assembly of one or more enclosed sections having a common horizontal main power bus and factory assembled motor control units or buckets which are connected to a vertical bus. Historically motor control centers were an assembly of numerous motor starters or feeder breakers used to control individual motors.  Today they can incorporate variable frequency drives, soft starters, solid state/digital control devices, PLCs, HMIs and contain network communication protocols such as profibus, profinet or ethernet.

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Topics: Safety, Motor Control

Soft Starters – Applications and Benefits

Posted by Mark McCracken on Nov 24, 2015 9:12:35 AM

Old motor controls used an across-the-line starters or some type of Wye or Delta configuration to start and stop electric motors.  Across-the-line starters can produce in-rush currents up to 7 times the normal operating motor current and 3 times the starting torque when compared to motor operating torque.

A soft starter electronically controls the voltage applied to the motor via SCR’s during starting and stopping, which in turn controls the speed and current levels. 

The Science of Soft Starters

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Topics: Motor Control

Energy Efficient Transformers and US DOE 2016 Standards

Posted by Mark McCracken on Sep 28, 2015 11:21:00 AM

Electromagnetic induction, the principle of the operation of the transformer, was discovered independently by Michael Faraday in 1831 and Joseph Henry in 1832. Faraday was the first to publish the results of his experiments and thus receive credit for the discovery. The relationship between EMF and magnetic flux is an equation now known as Faraday's Law of Induction.

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Topics: Energy Savings, Industry News

Building Energy Efficient Control Panels

Posted by Mark McCracken on Apr 27, 2015 11:12:00 AM

For many industrial companies, energy is one of the biggest expenses they have to burden, and even though control panels are a vital component to any process plant, their potential to offer energy savings is often overlooked. Energy efficient motors use less electricity, run cooler, and often last longer than NEMA (National Electrical Manufacturers Association) B motors of the same size. Here are some of the top advantages of energy efficient control panels.

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Topics: Siemens, Energy Savings, Motors, Control Panels

Building Compact Control Panels with Failsafe Functionality

Posted by Mark McCracken on Mar 23, 2015 11:12:00 AM

Compact Hybrid Motor Starters combine relay and semi-conductor technology with integrated electronic overload protection and safe shut down functionality with a width of only 22.5 mm for motors up to 3 horse power.

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Topics: Safety, Controls, Motors

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