Eaton Invests More Than $500M in Manufacturing for Grid Modernization
Eaton will invest over $500 million in manufacturing capacity for electrical solutions in utility, commercial, healthcare, industrial, and residential markets.
To meet growing demand for its electrical solutions, Eaton will make significant investments in its North American manufacturing and operations to support customers in utility, commercial, healthcare, industrial, and residential markets.
Commercial EV fleet charging via busway. Image used courtesy of Eaton
Most of the more than $500 million in capital investments will be deployed through 2024 and 2025 and include manufacturing expansion projects at facilities in Texas, Wisconsin, and South Carolina.
The investments will support a more robust and resilient supply chain for Eaton’s electrical solutions, including voltage regulators and transformers for grid modernization, along with its busway power distribution technology for commercial, industrial, and fleet electrical vehicle (EV) charging applications.
EV Busway Production Expansion
As part of the investment package, Eaton will increase production of its EV busway product at its South Carolina facility. The new production capacity will support increasing demand for this essential piece of EV charging infrastructure.
EV busway for commercial fleets. Image used courtesy of Eaton
In EV fleet charging systems, the busway plays an essential role, safely conducting electricity for charging from a centralized power source to individual vehicle charging plugs. Eaton’s EV busway can handle voltages up to 600 V and currents up to 500 A with the ability to scale as needed to meet the charging requirements of the fleet.
EV busway supports 19.2 kW, Level 2 AC (single-phase, 208-240 VAC) charging and is designed to simplify the installation of fleet charging infrastructure. As a scalable solution, it allows a facility’s charging infrastructure to easily expand alongside the fleet, without the need for extensive infrastructure modifications.
The overhead configuration integrates seamlessly with existing parking schemes to avoid wasted facility space. EV busway is currently available for indoor installations only.
Utility and Commercial Solution Investments
Facilities in Texas and Wisconsin will receive investment dollars to expand production of grid utility solutions like voltage regulators and transformers. These solutions are essential to utility customers to help them modernize grids and enhance reliability.
Eaton’s Nacogdoches, Texas, facility will more than double in size with the addition of 200,000 square feet. This will allow for a nearly two-fold increase in production capacity for voltage regulators.
Three-phase commercial critical load transformer (CLT). Image used courtesy of Eaton
The expanded voltage regulator production in Texas will free up capacity at Eaton’s Waukesha, Wisconsin, facility, where new equipment investments will allow the facility to expand production of its three-phase transformers for utility, data center, large commercial, and industrial applications.
The Nacogdoches facility will continue to manufacture single-phase pole-mount and pad-mount transformers.
Grid-Scale Voltage Regulators
In utility grid power distribution systems, a voltage regulator conditions the output voltage by stepping down, limiting, or otherwise modifying it as needed. This is achieved through selectable taps across internal series and shunt windings that are positioned between the power source and load.
Single-phase, pad-mounted voltage regulator. Image used courtesy of Eaton
Eaton’s Cooper Power series, single-phase, pad-mounted voltage regulator provides +/-10% of output voltage regulation in 32-step increments, with models rated up to 34,500 V, 900 A for 50 Hz and 60 Hz systems.
Series and shunt windings in a utility voltage regulator. Image used courtesy of Eaton
Other Power Projects
Additional investment projects will include expanded manufacturing capacity for circuit breakers and metering solutions for homes and commercial facilities.
Production will also be expanded for basic power distribution equipment like switchgear and switchboards, along with increased distribution capacity for Eaton’s power quality and connectivity solutions.
Power Xpert revenue grade power meter. Image used courtesy of Eaton
Supporting the Energy Transition
In a press release, Mike Yelton, president of the Americas Region, Electrical Sector at Eaton, emphasized the company’s focus on supporting efforts to accelerate the adoption of non-carbon energy sources and the electrification of global production and transportation.
Eaton’s manufacturing investments appear to reflect these corporate goals.