Continuing on the success of our previous remote racking products, in 2004, Remote Solutions began innovating a new type of safety racking system. The goal was simple: Make racking breakers safer for the operator. At the time, the best arc flash protection was proper PPE and heavy, cumbersome arc flash protection garments. But during recognized dangers during an arc flash incident, this was not enough. This need inspired the development of the SRH (Safety Rack Horizontal) line of Safe-T-Rack® remote racking tools for electrical power products. While Remote Solutions has had numerous innovations over the years, some will be covered here, the SRH line of products was the foundation for the modern SR-U line of products. While the SRH line of products is primarily designed to rack horizontal breakers and some vertical lift breakers, after years of innovation, research, and design, Remote Solutions developed the SR-U line of products: Safety Rack Universal. This line of products racks horizontal and vertical breakers, operates outdoor switches, button pushers, hot stick operators, and more. Read on to find out more.
SRH System Controller
The System Controller is the command center for the SRH line of products. It was designed to operate with any SRH tool through an innovative color touch screen interface. While the system came with a 30-foot power communication cable, the touch screen could be removed from the controller case to extend the operator working distance from 30 to 130 feet. With the SRH system, the operator had complete control, monitoring, and protection of all breaker racking operations. Also, the System Controller was packaged in a high-visibility, high impact polymer case designed to withstand the daily wear and tear associated with heavy industrial and utility environments. The case was also shock resistant and waterproof. While this was an innovative product for its time, the size of the Controller was a bit cumbersome. Weighing in at 48 lbs. alone, there was lots of room for improvement.
SRH Drive Motor and Transmissions
When developing the motor for the SRH line of products, it was important to consider enough power and durability for the environments the motor would be operated in. This motor was a heavy duty 1.1 HP motor that allowed for continuous duty without compromising performance in even the most demanding racking environments. It was also equipped with quick-connect stainless steel bayonet coupling with thumb-lock for easy connection.
There were different transmissions for this motor, depending on the racking need. Pictured above is the Thrusting Transmission and the Fixed Transmission, along with the Drive Motor. The Thrusting Transmission was spring-loaded and keeps constant force on the racking screw with the Tool Adaptor to ensure engagement during racking shaft travel. Likewise, when the racking shaft did not move when the breaker is racked, the Fixed Transmission remained engaged with the racking shaft through the racking process. While these were innovative for the time, much like the Controller, the motor was bulky. The transmissions were at times difficult to manage and swap out. It was a progression, but not yet an optimal solution.
SRH Drive Mounting Brackets
Depending on the breaker that an operator must rack, a different Drive Mounting Bracket was designed to engage with either the breaker face or the cubicle door. These Mounting Brackets aligned the transmission tool adapter with the racking screw. Before racking the breaker, shoulder nuts were precisely aligned to the breaker racking screw to provide a place for the Mounting Bracket to hang. Some truck assemblies mounted to the tracks the breaker slid in and out on. Although the brackets for the SR-U line have become lighter weight, more ergonomic, and in many cases require no modifications to the breaker (No-Mod), the principle largely remains the same of aligning the racking tool to the racking shaft.
This was absolutely a brilliant design for 2004. As it goes, products progress. Research and development innovated new methods. And products changed and evolved. In 2013 Remote Solutions launched the Safe-T-Rack® developed the SR-U, Safety Rack Universal, line of products and everything changed.
SR-U Product Line and Portable Kit
In 2013 Safe-T-Rack® launched a completely new system for racking both vertical and horizontal breakers: The SR-U line. With a brand-new Portable Kit that includes the Handheld Controller, Motor Drive Unit, two 28 V batteries, and a charger now weighs 14 lbs. less than the SRH Controller alone. This was a huge decrease in weight. This lightweight and ergonomic system can rack dozens of breakers on a single battery charge. The new system and can fit into tighter and more difficult spaces than the SRH line could.
Universal Handheld Controller
The Handheld Controller is lightweight, ergonomic, and can operate a bracket from up to 150 feet away. The screen provides a display of which breaker is being racked or which switch is being operated. The screen also displays the maximum power, turn count, and progress bar. Unlike the SRH Controller, the Handheld Controller does not require software to be programmed with each operation. Rather the brackets include a specific Automation Card that contains all the information needed to rack the breaker. This allows for a more intuitive interface and streamlined operation system across the SR-U line of products.
Motor Drive Unit
The Motor Drive Unit is the foundation of the SR-U remote racking line of products. While some push button operators and outdoor levers and switches are operated using only the Handheld and a 28V battery, the MDU racks nearly every racking system in the Safe-T-Rack® line. The motor is rated at 700W and has an integrated gearbox, digital drive unit, closed loop speed, and motor control. It’s packaged in an impact resistant Delrin® housing and features a quick-connect tool coupling and rotatable carrying handle. It uses a Tool Adapter Assembly that engages with the racking shaft to perform the racking process. The Motor Drive Unit weighs only a fraction of what the SRH system did with its motor and the heavy transmissions.
SR-U Smart Drive Brackets
Since the inception of the SR-U product line, all the Smart Drive Brackets have been upgraded from the SRH system. The SR-U product line was designed to be 100% backwards compatible with all the SRH Smart Drive Brackets. While some of the new SR-U brackets still use keyhole slots to mount over previously installed Shoulder Nuts, many of the newer SR-U designs are No-Mod, meaning no modifications to the cubicle door or breaker are needed to mount the bracket. Instead, the SR-U line can use rare earth magnets to secure a Bracket to the cubicle door. The Smart Drive Brackets are designed to be a true closed-door system whenever possible, so this innovation has been an immense breakthrough for the Safe-T-Rack® product line.
The new standard for arc flash safety has moved way beyond simply keeping your team safe. The SR-U line from Safe-T-Rack® is lightweight and portable. It requires very little setup on most breakers and for many more absolutely none. The new Remote Open/Close line, at times, does not even require the Motor Drive Unit to operate the switches and button pushers. Remote Solutions is continuing to innovate and modernize old designs every day. This system consists of a Portable Kit that can be carried with one hand. So, there’s no appliance dolly, or precarious stands for mounting our equipment. While our competitors still require an elevator, our product can be carried with one hand to make traversing stairs safe and simple. The SR-U line is safe, reliable, compact, and intuitive. Contact our sales team to schedule a demo today. Because distance is the best arc flash protection. And sign up here to follow our monthly newsletter with innovations, new designs, and product releases from Remote Solutions, LLC.