Eaton recently hosted a Health Care and Education Day at its Experience Center in Warrendale, Pa., drawing more than 100 people from local hospitals and universities. Made in Pa wanted to learn more about the event and how Eaton uses the center to showcase its leading-edge technologies. Who better to give us the scoop than Eaton’s Dan Carnovale, Manager, Power Systems Experience Center? Here’s what he had to say:
Made in PA: Can you tell us a little bit about the Experience Center and the purpose of the event?
Dan Carnovale: Eaton’s Experience Center in Warrendale is a full-scale power system for testing, training and demonstrating real-world problems and solutions related to power systems. The Power Systems Experience Center, which opened in 2005, hosts more than 6,000 visitors each year, including engineers, contractors, owners, operators and executives from many different companies, as well as students ranging from 3rd graders through Ph.D. candidates from universities here in Pittsburgh, as well as around the world.
Health Care and Education Day was a segment-focused event where we hosted about 100 individuals from hospitals and universities with an interest in reliability, efficiency and electrical safety in their business. We taught 14 professional development hour (PDH) classes, twice each, on subjects like variable frequency drives, power quality and arc flash safety, as well as some classes on new technologies like arc quenching switchgear.
MiPA: What are some of the best practices and new technologies available to support power and advance electrical safety and energy efficiency in health care and university facilities?
DC: We find hospitals and universities have similar concerns, mostly related to three key areas:
1) Aging infrastructure. Solutions include upgrades and reconditioning of older electrical equipment, including class one reconditioning, roll-in replacements and modernization of electrical equipment. By updating electrical equipment, especially switchgear, hospitals and universities can take advantage of new technologies such as arc flash reduction and power monitoring.
2) Energy efficiency. With energy costs being a variable cost to most hospitals and universities, we focus on energy-efficient solutions such as LED lighting and variable frequency drives that each save more than 50 percent of the power compared to other lighting or motor control methods. In addition, monitoring is a key to energy savings; as the saying goes, “if you don’t monitor it, you can’t manage it.”
3) Arc flash safety. All our customers are keenly aware of and are concerned with having a program in place to ensure compliance with safety regulations, including safety for their employees. There are many solutions available. Eaton has over 100 arc flash solutions and we highlight the most relevant to hospitals and universities.
“Eatons Experience Center in Warrendale is a full-scale power system for testing, training and demonstrating real-world problems and solutions related to power systems.”
MiPA: Do you offer training for health care and education industries? What is the general goal of these courses?
DC: At the Experience Center, we offer customized training for all our visitors. While we offer ongoing classes, we find every hospital or university has slightly different concerns, so we customize each visit. For example, one hospital wanted to learn about asset tracking using sensors mounted in the lighting system. Another was concerned with arc flash safety, and recently, a third wanted to understand the power quality ramifications associated with harmonics caused by variable frequency drives. The general goal of these training programs is to help visitors understand, through visual learning, the good, better and best options available for their systems so they can make an informed decision about their power system.
MiPA: What are the benefits from a “real-world” training environment?
DC: Many people are visual learners, so seeing a real-world training environment is much more valuable than simple discussion around technical topics. We refer to the old proverb, “tell me and I will forget, show me and I will remember, involve me and I will understand.” Our goal is to ensure visitors truly understand what we’re teaching. Another point is that some of the training we offer is fairly technical and complicated, like harmonics, so showing someone waveforms to supplement what we’re teaching is a great way to ensure customers understand.
MiPA: We typically think about hospitals in terms of the care they provide, not the care that the buildings need. What are some common electrical system issues in hospitals?
DC: Key issues in hospitals are aging infrastructure, keeping up with technology, asset tracking, power quality and customer experience. The customer experience, i.e., patient experience, is key, as hospitals are now, more than ever, competing for our business. So, everything electrical in the background has to work properly to ensure patients are satisfied. Power quality is also very relevant to hospitals, as they rely heavily on electronic equipment and imaging devices that can’t take even a fraction of a second of disruption.