RCD innovation promises electrical safety improvements

RCD innovation promises electrical safety improvements

A new residual current device (RCD) technology promises to reduce fire and arc flash risk and eliminate active to earth short circuits, according to Hunter-based developer World Wide Electrical Safety Technology (WWEST).

The technology has been fully tested by a NATA-approved testing agency and is compliant to Australian Standards. WWEST says it is a world first and is ready to be integrated into commercial and consumer electrical products, mitigating the electrical safety risk and preventing injury and potential loss of thousands of lives.

RCDs were developed some 45 years ago and are globally recognised as an important form of electrical protection. As huge as that advance was, an RCD is dependent on the effective functioning of other elements in order to offer protection, including the earthing system itself.

There are many electrical products that operate in situations where a conventional RCD does not provide electrical protection.

Associate Professor Trevor Blackburn (retired of UNSW) said that up to 90% of electrical fault conditions are earth-related.

“Many of these earth-related issues are beyond our control and not easily remedied, such as dealing with difficult soil types such as sandy or hard rocky soil types or corrosion-impacted connections etc. Electrical protection within an earthed environment is often problematic,” he said.

In late 2020, WWEST announced the release of the Class II RCD, the RCD Ultra-safe. The company says the technology will advance electrical safety to the next level and represents the most significant breakthrough since the introduction of the RCD itself.

“The RCD Ultra-safe device changes the functionality of a traditional RCD and provides an unprecedented level of safety to electrical applications. The RVT-VMD when coupled with an RCD enables it to work in all earthed and, importantly, unearthed systems, creating a world-first Class II Rated RCD,” said Wayne Callen, WWEST co-founder and director.

The RCD Ultra-safe utilises the RVT (residual voltage technology) incorporating voltage monitoring to complement existing capabilities and to enable additional safety features:

  • Protection against reverse polarity.
  • Protection against loss of supply neutral.
  • Protection against loss of main earth.
  • Enables protection for isolated/unearthed supplies.
  • Enables electrical protection for supply voltages as low as 110 V.

Breaking with convention, the RCD Ultra-safe utilises a ‘functional earth’, meaning that downstream equipment has no connection to the ‘mass of earth’. This change delivers significant safety benefits:

  • Electrical surge issues are eliminated.
  • Risk of fire is dramatically reduced.
  • Risk of Arc Flash is dramatically reduced.
  • Active to Earth short circuit faults are eliminated.
  • The need for different types of RCD’s is eliminated.

Image: The WWEST team — Robert Zullo (Director), Wayne Callen (Co-Founder, Director and R&D Technical Manager) and Allan Edwards (Director, Operations and Finance).

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