Every Group CBS client sees power challenges from their own unique point of view. Whether it’s extending the life of electrical components for decades, retrofitting old systems with something completely new or something in between, our success comes from balancing the right solution for each customer’s power needs and preferences.

A November 2020 Group CBS $1.2 million contract to provide (49) 15-DST-750, 1200A Roll-in replacements to the Massachusetts Bay Transit Authority (MBTA) is a perfect example of delivering a safe, reliable solution that satisfied the client on every level.

The MBTA is the public agency responsible for operating public transportation services in the greater Boston area. They first inquired about assistance in 2016. That original request involved establishing a remanufacturing program for over one hundred FPE Model DST-2 air circuit breakers. Equipment reliability was continually faltering from both mechanical and electrical issues. Even though both the client and Group CBS had adequate system spares to enable a remanufacturing life extension program, the MBTA was not interested in keeping the 50-year-old breakers in service. In addition to the problems from ongoing failures, MBTA was not comfortable with the extraction style racking mechanism the original design employed. We originally suggested use of a CBS ArcSafe RRS-2 remote racking device to improve safety, but the client remained unsure.

After literally years of multiple in-person and virtual meetings, demonstrations and conference calls, the MBTA concluded that regardless of the tools provided, they were not confident that their operators would use the remote racking devices or that the breakers would provide the reliability riders required. MBTA simply wanted new breakers. They specified a turn-key solution that included new vacuum circuit breakers incorporating rotary style racking mechanisms, with no modifications to the existing cubicles. Essentially, the client wanted a roll-in design, with no modifications – allowing the work to be reversible should the need arise to reinstall the original DST-2 circuit breakers.

Downtime was also a major concern. The Authority was required to limit the impact the installation would have on their system and, in-turn, travelers throughout Boston. With this new information, Group CBS went back to the drawing board. The new project would go out to public bid and the new specification would allow new competition, including offers from Schneider or Powell Industries. Our expertise needed to shine.

Circuit Breakers Sales NE partnered with the engineering team in Gainesville to come up with a concept for a roll-in replacement breaker with rotary style racking. The novel cubicle-in-cubicle retrofill design exceeded all the criteria that MBTA had specified, even allowing for through-door racking.

After four years of pursuing this opportunity, the contract award in late 2020 was extremely gratifying. This project is a great example of the importance of working with clients to understand their challenges and modifying your proposed solution as the scope changes. Ultimately, the MBTA awarded the project to the group they felt most comfortable with – the group that continued working with them to propose the best solution as the project matured. The breadth of our expertise and resources were key. Having multiple facilities within the territory, including in-house field service crews for installation – rather than using subcontractors – was another very well received competitive advantage. As a result, we’re keeping travelers happy, safe and on-time as they move in and out of Boston.

Please give John Benson credit in the article as author