Increase Safety & Productivity with Meltric Technology

Posted by Advanced Controls & Distribution on Jun 19, 2017 8:50:09 AM

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Safety and productivity are two concepts that are directly dependent on each other. If the safety of any industrial environment falls, so will the productivity, and as a result amount for a loss for the company. There is seldom any industrial unit in a plant that doesn’t make use of electricity for whatever product that’s being made. As the connections increase, the safety risks associated with them become serious as well leading to the need for risk-free, reliable safety mechanisms.

The Meltric Corporation was formed on this very goal, and is focused on making electric plugs & receptacles for the core purpose of boosting safety, and as a result productivity. It all started in 1952 when it became apparent that the pin & sleeve type plugs could no longer bear the increasing demands industrial units. Gilles Marechal came up with the idea of combining silver-nickel butt contacts for enhancing the load-making capabilities of a switch, and shortly Meltric licensed this technology, making headlines in the world of electric safety ever since.

Meltric derives its value from a host of unique features and capabilities that take their products miles-ahead of conventional equipment in terms of safety.

These include:

Spring-Loaded Butt Contacts

Butt-style contacts make sure that the entire connection is positive and consistent. Meltric products have the same spring-loaded butts that are used in contactors and switchgears. The spring-loading is accomplished by coil springs and provide a precise level of contact force that retains its consistency over thousands of operations.

Deviations in contact length resulting from manufacturing tolerances is another issue that the conventional pin and sleeve type contacts fail to handle. This is a factor that greatly determines the quality of a contact, as the reduction of contact force increases contact resistance. This in turn leads to greater heat, oxidation and as a result early corrosion of equipment.

Using a self-cleaning wiping action, Meltric contacts make sure that any dirt or deposits are automatically wiped off, preventing any significant rise in the generation of heat.

Silver-Nickel Contact Material

Conventional contacts usually make use of brass contacts, which may be the norm, but has its own pitfalls. Meltric utilizes solid silver-nickel contacts, and as a result embeds a number of benefits within the device.

For starters, silver has a very low initial contact resistance, and is in no way is its performance effected by oxidation. This gives it excellent conductivity properties, which it manages to maintain in the face of temperature deviations and extremes. Nickel on the other hand is a much harder material, known for its mechanical properties.

The combination of both metals results in a material which is both electrically fit and mechanically durable. The final silver-nickel alloy is arc-proof and used for switchgear manufacturing by a handful of companies, one of which is Meltric.

In retrospect, brass provides a perfect recipe for disaster. In addition to having a high initial resistance, brass’s oxidation resistance is 20 times that of silver-nickel. The alloy is also soft and vulnerable to wear and tear and as an end-point not resistant to arcs.

Dead Front Construction

The safety shutter on various Meltric products are only accessible through the appropriate mating plug. This dead-front construction eliminates the chances of getting into unintended contact with live components, forming a care-free workplace.  Furthermore, the entire design of the product ensures that the plug contacts are dead, before the user has completely removed the plug.

Spring Assisted Terminals

Standards plugs and receptacles are often plagued with the problem of loosed terminal screws. Meltric has a more permanent solution for this in the form of spring-assisted terminals, a patented technology that solidifies the entire build and connection mechanism.

Here’s how it works: The tightening of the terminal screw against the conductor builds up pressure against the terminal body which ultimately deforms the spring ring. The ring in-turn has a natural tendency to return to its original shape so that the conductor is retained at its spot. This allows the terminal to hold the conductor at all times, and account for any variations in physical dimensions caused by temperature changes or strand settlement.

Other features of Meltric technologies that stand out of the competition and deliver safety to the workplace include push-button circuit disconnection, enclosed arc chambers, automatic water tightness and Lockout-tagout capability.

On top of this, Meltric has opted for a modular construction of its devices, so that if need arises (rarity), the parts can be replaced without requiring a complete overhaul. The need for replacement however is rare as quality is taken very seriously by Meltric. From the very beginning, intelligent designs, top-quality materials and clear procedures and measurements make sure not a single defect hits the shelves. In order to boost customer-confidence, Meltric has obtained the ISO 9001:2008 certification, while the products are in accordance with BECMA (Butt Contact Electrical Connectors Manufacturers Association) for quality and standardization.

But is there any proof for the claims of Safety & Productivity?

Absolutely. A major example of Meltric products at work is a brewing company. Breweries are known to be considerably wet workplaces, and therefore have several risks associated with them like electric shocks and injuries from rotating machinery and pressurized systems. One such brewery is the Founders Brewery in Grand Rapids, Michigan which is distributing in 25 states and has experienced an increase in sales from 2011.

The accelerated growth led to expansion in brewery operations, however this only increased the complexity of the entire plant putting the safety of the staff at risk. The management therefore decided to turn the safety level up a notch and decided to shift to Meltric technology.   

Electric shocks were the prime concern as OSHA had repeatedly published such accident reports. Meltric switch-rated plugs and receptacles were installed on equipment such as pump carts, motors, key washers, etc. preventing any safety accidents before they occur. These devices were well-suited for the brewery as the increased presence of portable devices considerably raises the bar for safety, which can’t be accomplished by pin and sleeve type plugs. Meltric switch-rated plugs also eliminated the chances of equipment damage through arc-flashes in case of disconnection of an energized pin. Furthermore, the use of Meltric products also quickened the contact breaking mechanism, lowering it down to 15 milliseconds!

So not only did Meltric technology make the workplace safe, it raised the efficiency, maintainability and as a whole productivity of the entire manufacturing unit.

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