A win win for Safe Connect

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Awards News

  Posted by: electime      2nd March 2019

2018 was a great year for Safe Connect, who not only launched the Hot Connection Indicator, but also won two awards for the product at the EI Awards. Editor Lisa Peake talks to Gary Hudson to find out more about the product and why it was so successful

On Thursday 25 October last year, Safe Connect was announced the winner of not one, but two awards for its new electrical fire safety accessory – the Hot Connection Indicator. The product won the award for Industrial Product of the Year and for Residential/ Domestic Product of the Year at the Electrical Industry Awards, held at the Royal Garden Hotel in Kensington.

The Hot Connection Indicator (HCI) is designed to highlight heated electrical connections to the naked eye. It changes colour from purple to bright pink at 55°C and will remain permanently pink if the temperature reaches 70°C.

Speaking about how the product came to fruition, Gary Hudson says: “Development of the Hot Connection Indicator (HCI) began late 2016. This initially involved detailed concept and prototype product technical reviews with Electrical Safety First and Fire & Rescue Services. It was followed in 2017 with liaison and technical discussions with a specialist thermochromic polymer manufacturer to develop/produce a permanent colour change polymer. Product designs and injection moulding tools were manufactured in 2017 and the HCI was launched into the market place in early 2018.

“The concept was initiated after I became aware that there are just under 7,000 fires per year caused by electrical distribution and many of these instances are attributed to high resistance electrical connections.

“Even if electrical distribution boards are installed correctly and electrical connections tightened to manufacturers’ recommendations, heated connections still develop as electrical connection tightness may relax slightly due to metal creep within the connection. This issue can also be accelerated by environmental changes such as electrical load variation temperature changes, or through local connection vibration or due to local disturbance caused by maintenance and alterations.

“High resistance electrical connections are a common occurrence within electrical connections and my key objective was
to produce a simple product that could highlight them at their early stage of development. This would also contribute to reducing the instances of fire caused by high resistance electrical connections and help protect life, property and business against the devastating effects of fire.”

“I started the business as a side line to my day job, which was a fire and electrical specialist in the UK nuclear industry. I left the nuclear industry early 2019 to now focus 100 per cent on Safe Connect.”

The main function of the HCI is for installation and use by electricians as part of periodic inspection of electrical installations. Once installed HCIs are there for visual indication to the electrician at the next inspection or modification, whichever is earliest. The HCIs simple application and function make the product easy to retrospectively install and include into existing electrical maintenance strategies. Once installed HCIs provide 24/7 monitoring of electrical connections and pre-emptive fault indication, helping to prevent costly production plant breakdowns and/or the devastating effects that can be caused by fire to life, business and property.

The HCI’s ability to retain its colour change, even after cooling back to normal operating temperatures provides historic heat indication and pre-emptive fault indication. This enables identification of connection heating faults that may not be seen during periodic real time inspections of electrical installations (visual or thermal camera). This is due to the possibility that affected connections may be cooled due to being off-load or isolated at the time of inspection.

Speaking of his experience at the Awards ceremony, Hudson says: “It gave great satisfaction to winning not one but two of the Electrical Industry Awards. The products simplicity and potential to save life, property and business is now being recognised by large businesses, including many of the judging organisations.

“The evening was well organised, we had great food and wine, all within a nice venue. I am an innovation geek and particularly liked the fantastic innovation of the candle tops on the tables that stop wax dripping and ensure that the candles burn the wax more efficiently.”

After the success of 2018, Hudson is looking forward to the what the upcoming year will bring. He says: “The Company’s mission is to reduce the number of electrical breakdowns and fires that are caused by high resistance electrical connections. These instances do have a devastating affect on businesses, property and life. I also have other new products launching into the market during 2019 and looking to expand into the European and US markets. I’m also looking into the possibility for the HCI to be specified for use by Insurance companies.”

For more information on the Hot Connection Indicator, please visit the company’s website: safe-connect.co.uk