The RadioRANGER Wireless Fault Indication System received the Utilities Telecommunications Council (UTC) Wireless Product of the Year Award during a UTC conference and exposition May 6-9. The conference, held in Austin, Texas, showcases current and emerging technology for critical infrastructure communication.
The RadioRANGER is a product of the Lake Zurich-based E. O. Schweitzer Manufacturing Division of Schweitzer Engineering Laboratories, Inc. (SEL). The RadioRANGER reduces the time required to find power failures by leading line crews to the location of underground faults.
"A key part of the UTC competition is getting the judges excited about the product," SEL Research and Development Manager Ken Fodero said. "This year it was easy to build the excitement because the RadioRANGER system solves a big problem in a very innovative way. The RadioRANGER makes what is usually a time-consuming, expensive, and often hazardous task into a simple process a line crew can complete from a truck."
Today, the fault-finding process often involves draining vaults of water and clearing them of debris and hazardous gases. With the RadioRANGER system, a crew uses a small, handheld device to identify the vault or span of underground cable between two vaults in which the fault occurred.
"The RadioRANGER sniffs out the fault indicators and shows you which ones are tripped so you know right where to get to work, only opening the enclosures you need to gain access to the positively identified faulted section," said Dr. Edmund O. Schweitzer III, SEL president and CEO. "The system came out of our search for ways to find underground faults faster and more safely, and which pays back fast. Plus, it is an important part of SEL’s increasing number of solutions for distribution automation."
E. O. Schweitzer Manufacturing is accepting orders now for RadioRANGER starter kits.