Burning Down the House




A few years ago on a popular community forum, a participant asked:

“Why can’t the electrical systems in a house be wired as such that NO MATTER WHAT you plug-in and use however you use it, nothing ever trips off from overheating?”

It seems that in the midst of a heatwave, the writer had added a second air conditioner and the breaker kept blowing. To add insult to injury, it kept killing the air conditioner and the refrigerator even though they were “NOT using the same OUTLET.” (All emphasis taken from original post.)

“Frankly, I have half a mind to bypass the circuit breaker to MAKE it stay on no matter what,” the writer continued.

Unfortunately for us, our writer did not log back in to tell us how things worked out. With luck, he enlisted a chewing gum wrapper and MacGyvered his way to a cool summer.



But I’m skeptical, especially when you’re running multiple compressors through the circuit. It’s more likely that something melted or ignited. We know that because people used to jam pennies behind their fuse plugs and tape breaker switches closed to avoid fixing a problem circuit all the time. And, not a coincidence, people used to burn down their houses frequently too.

Why don’t you hear about that happening so much anymore? One word, Engineers.

Engineers have made the devices safer, so that they’re harder to tamper with. For example, you can physically hold a modern circuit breaker switch in the closed position, and it will still trip if the lines become overheated.

What’s any of this have to do with 3D CAD software?

You might think that opening and closing circuits is the domain of electrical engineers (and MacGyver wannabes), but real-life circuit breakers concern mechanical engineers, too.

Someone has to calculate the thermal properties of the case, make sure the switch clears the contacts in the open position, tamper-proof the device, and optimize the model for assembly and manufacturing—work best done with the mechanical engineering skills and 3D design software.

No electrical engineer is an island

That’s why companies like HPL, India’s premium manufacturer of reliable electrical protection equipment, use PTC Creo 3D CAD software to develop their products. The software not only helps them design equipment like circuit breakers, switchgears, and electronic energy meters, it also saves them money on manufacturing.

“With PTC Creo Tooling Design Extension, we have improved our tool design with an approximately 30% reduction in design time for creating tooling components and drawings,” says Mr. Mool Chand Sharma, Deputy Manager, Tool Room at HPL.

In the corporate video below for HPL’s industrial molded case circuit breaker, you can see how 3D rendering and animation can also help clearly describe a product in detail.



See how other companies, in a surprising variety of industries all over the world, are finding competitive advantage and how PTC Creo is helping them.