ROCHESTER, N.Y. May 30, 2019 — In an electrical power system, distribution faults—abnormal electrical currents—are responsible for power outages, equipment damage, injuries, and even death. For more than a decade, major utility companies have implemented a solution leveraging Ohmcraft’s custom, high-voltage resistor dividers to safely monitor power line fault conditions in a way that significantly reduces damage to the systems, therefore lowering the cost of operation.
Traditionally, when a fault occurs, electrical power systems utilize automatic re-closing circuit breakers to restore power. But these re-closers have considerable disadvantages: to fix the issue, they actually multiply the force on the system, turning a typical distribution fault into a much bigger and more expensive concern.
“The utility companies knew that there had to be a better way,” said Eric Van Wormer, Vice President of the Ohmcraft division of Micropen Technologies.
Advances in technology have resulted in modern fault monitoring systems, which enable utility companies to detect fault conditions before they cause damage to the equipment. Ohmcraft’s custom resistor dividers are a significant component of these monitoring systems.
“We worked directly with the electrical engineers who designed the systems to develop a custom solution,” said Van Wormer. “The resulting resistor dividers use only a small pulse of current to detect the presence of a fault early on, using 95 percent less energy than re-closers—and without the harmful fault multiplier effect.”
The monitoring systems that utilize Ohmcraft’s high-precision resistors deliver the same benefits of conventional re-closers, but dramatically reduce electrical stress on a utility company’s assets.
Ohmcraft’s thick-film, surface mount resistors are engineered to meet application specific needs. Its technology utilizes the proprietary Micropen electronic printing system to “print” precise, narrow, serpentine lines with resistive ink on a ceramic substrate, producing higher performance resistors over a wider range on a smaller surface area than is possible with conventional film resistor technology.