Being one of the leading transmission manufacturers in the utility market, MPS is always looking to increase their offering to the utility customer. By increasing the product offering, MPS strengthens their net worth to the customer. To further this trend, MPS signed a strategic supply agreement with Global Insulator Group (GIG), an Estonian-based company. This is a long-term supply and technical agreement with one of the leading toughened glass insulator manufacturers in the world, with factories in Russia and the Ukraine.
With the introduction of the GIG insulator to the current MPS offering, MPS is now the only manufacturer in North America to offer two mediums of insulation (polymer & glass) along with a full array of transmission hardware.
In mid-February, MPS hosted the GIG Board of Directors and their CEO in the Fort Mill and York offices. With the official signing of the supply contract, the two companies are now ready to introduce the full product line to the United States market. The timing of this addition to the MPS product line allowed MPS to include the GIG toughened glass, along with their existing product lines, in the IEEE booth in April 2014. The introduction at IEEE was met with great interest by their key customer base.
History of Toughened Glass
Before 1935, glass insulators were made of annealed glass. This type of glass did not have the mechanical-electrical strength needed for high-voltage applications. In 1935, the Pilkington Company introduced toughened glass suspension insulators (also known as cap-and-pin insulators and disk insulators) in the United Kingdom, and their use became common in the early 1950s. The fabrication of toughened glass insulators has evolved over the years in terms of the materials used and the processes followed. Today, toughened glass suspension insulators are applied worldwide at all voltage levels up to 800 kV and on ac and dc networks alike.
The primary benefits for toughened glass application are:
- Toughened glass has good dielectric properties that make it less prone to puncture.
- A well-manufactured glass insulator cannot contain hidden defects. (Any defect will lead to a shattering of the glass dielectric shell, reducing the electrical strength of the insulator.)
- Flashover and the subsequent power arc on a failed insulator disk occur externally through the air, and there is consequently less risk for separation of the insulator string. Flash over versus flash under.
- Toughened glass insulators have good long-term reliability and a life expectancy exceeding 30 years.
- Suspension disk insulators have standard dimensions, which make them interchangeable with other types of glass or porcelain disk insulators.
With only one major competitor in the United States, MPS is entering a $45+ million market for toughened glass insulators. The MPS goal over the next three years is to obtain half of this business.
45-year old 1150kV AC transmission line located in southern Siberia using GIG toughened glass
Toughened glass and MPS 500kV hardware assemblies tested at EGU test lab in Prague
This chart compares the three mediums in insulation that are used in the United States. By offering polymer and toughened glass to U.S. customers, MPS reduces the number of customer application limitations