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New Desktop Simulator Trains Linemen on Grounding

April 17, 2020
The Grounds-Trainer Simulator allows linemen to learn about personal grounding and simulate the effects of a fault.

Utility Solutions, Inc. (USI) has introduced a new grounding simulator specifically designed for utilities and lineworkers. Following their Load-Trainer II Transformer Simulator product, USI has developed a new desktop trainer called the Grounds-Trainer Personal Protective Grounding Simulator that combines hands-on jumper connections with a computer simulation.

Personal protective grounding is a highly complex and often misunderstood subject. Textbooks have difficulty illustrating the effects of a fault on a distribution system. The Grounds-Trainer simulates an overhead distribution system with several variables. Lineworkers can learn the principles of grounding, proper work methods, and simulate the effects of a fault at a work site.

"The Grounds-Trainer goes beyond the textbook and illustrates the importance of proper grounding techniques," says Jon Spencer, engineer for Utility Solutions, Inc. "A lineman can plug jumpers on the board and then see what happens during a fault."

How the jumpers are arranged, their size and condition are all important factors to a lineman's safety.

"Electricity takes all paths," Spencer continues. "The simulation makes it possible to see those paths and the fault currents, all in real-time."

Although several industry standards exist for grounding, there is still confusion and misunderstanding as to what actually occurs during a fault. The variables that affect a work site are difficult to predict and measure. The Grounds-Trainer includes options for many variables such as system voltages and fault currents, power pole types and distances from a substation, and even the length and type of jumpers used at the worksite.

Robert Odear, software engineer on the Grounds-Trainer says, "We needed this trainer to be aware of every jumper plugged into the board. This was a challenge but it gave us the ability to monitor the order of operation."

Grounding jumpers must be applied in a specific order so lineworkers are as safe as possible.

"There are not many opportunities for a lineman to practice grounding during a fault," Gene Wood, president of USI says, "This new product can save lives. The powerful simulation software in the Grounds-Trainer processes multiple variables to illustrate the effects of a fault. I am so proud of our work on this new product and encourage our industry to use the Grounds-Trainer to educate lineworkers." 

Each jumper connection and variable is displayed on a 7-in. touchscreen. The unit includes an HDMI connection allowing a projector or big screen to display to an entire classroom. USI is targeting lineman schools, utilities, and contractors. Live online demonstrations are available now.

More information is available online at www.utilitysolutionsinc.com.

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