An innovative spirit and hard work are two of our company’s greatest assets. Our research and development teams work diligently to find solutions that make the workplace safer and improve our customers’ quality of life. Some of our numerous ongoing projects are described below.
- The newly patented system and method of monitoring a utility underground structure, which uses sensors to monitor the atmosphere and alert of any changes from “steady state,” will improve system safety and reliability by allowing us to take action before a potential event.
- The patent-pending circuit breaker cubicle inspection and repair safety device will allow for repairs without the need to take outages on substation bus sections and provide enhanced safety for mechanics during inspection and repairs, thus saving labor time and enhancing substation reliability.
- Development of a patent-pending breaker-racking robot prototype will allow for remote racking of substation breakers. For substation operators, it will minimize exposure risk to arc flash hazards and decrease soft tissue injuries from handling heavy circuit breakers. Initial testing demonstrated the robot’s collision avoidance system, self-alignment and racking engagement capabilities, and ability to provide status indications and robot operations alarms.
- An elevated pressure flow control system utilizing inflatable stoppers for gas mains was modified and tested for the Con Edison system. This is an improvement over traditional methods as it is smaller and lighter, thereby lowering the risk of injury and reducing labor and material costs.
- Installation of a novel on-line oil dehydration system capable of continuously removing moisture from transformer oil could maximize the lifecycle of power transformers, lower maintenance by eliminating the need for replacing exhausted cartridges, and preserve dissolved fault gases in the oil to allow for conventional dissolved gas analysis. A prototype has been developed and successfully tested, with the ultimate goal to develop a portable unit that could be easily transported between substations on an as-needed basis.
- Development of unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) with cyber forensic capabilities will protect our assets and personnel through identification and the use of digital forensic procedures to support cyber-investigations of embedded systems. The Corporate Cyber Forensic team is now fully equipped to perform manual extraction of data off the UAV and is in process of acquiring the software tool for data analysis.
- A thermal imaging tool for through-cover inspections will reduce jobsite set-up, reduce necessary personal protective equipment, and allow for more frequent inspections. In the final phase of development, this tool will allow us to track low level hotspot conditions and mitigate them before developing into a higher risk condition.
- The newly patented electrofusion repair sleeve is sized to encapsulate an electrofusion coupling for leaking and non-leaking polyethylene pipe, and will negate the need to perform main cut-outs of unacceptable fittings.
- Demonstration of the thermal compression heat pump will determine the potential for significant customer energy and cost savings. Thermal compression of helium to produce a temperature difference between the hot and cold sides of the pump will allow for space or water heating (or cooling) applications.
- Global Positioning System (GPS) real-time tracking of mutual aid crews and equipment deployed for storm restoration or other functions will assist in reducing costs and improving restoration time for customers. The R&D phase of this project is complete and successful, and the deployment plan is currently being developed.
- A patent-pending technology will provide constant power to natural gas detectors capable of communicating over the smart meter network. In addition, by incorporating micro tuning forks to measure a change in frequency, the sensor can alert us to the presence of natural gas.
- Continued development of a prototype tool using electro-hydraulic energy to fracture rock will facilitate the installation of new infrastructure without the traditional noise and vibration of jack-hammering. This R&D project seeks to make the technology adjustable for varied applications and to create a portable solution.