ITH AN ESTIMATED MAR-
ket size of more than $1 billion, fuses are ther- mally responsive devices designed to protect against harmful overcurrents (short circuits and over- loads) within an electrical system. Available in a wide variety of sizes and physical configura- tions, fuses are used in numerous applica- tions, from high-power distribution equipment to devices consumers use on a daily basis, such as vehicles and appliances. Evolving based on the current demands for enhanced safety, lower-profile designs, and the growing mar- ket for renewable en- ergy projects and energy storage capa- bilities, the fuse market is poised for continued strengthening. Here, man- ufacturers offer their insights into cur- rent drivers, market trends, and sales opportunities for distributors.
Experts confirm that the energy and power industries currently represent some of the biggest opportunities for overcurrent circuit protection devices. “With the resurgence in the oil and gas sector as well as sustainable growth in the power industry—due in large part to today’s demands for greater efficiency, alternative energy sources such as solar and wind, and the availability of financial incentive
programs driving all of these—the fuse market is poised to see signifi- cant growth,” said Ledum Nordee, medium-voltage product manager at Mersen ( mersen.com). “Over the next five years, Littel- fuse [ littelfuse.com] projects modest growth in the fuse industry, with some markets growing more quickly,” said Dave Scheuerman, technical training manager for the com- pany’s industrial business unit. Among those, “the energy storage market is expanding rapidly, driven largely by the need to store power generated from re- newable sources,” he said, “while growth in the power conversion market, along with the fuses required to protect power conversion equipment, is being driven by a desire to utilize power as efficiently as possible.” Scheuerman noted that one sub- set of the power conversion market that’s growing particularly rapidly is EV charging stations, which will be required across the transportation grid as EVs become more widely ac- cepted by consumers. “Fuses have many applications, and as each of these evolve to sup- port our ever-changing environment, circuit protective devices such as fuses will be needed to protect equipment and personnel,” explained Kristine Stoll, product line manager for Buss-
FOCUS ON FUSES
Safety, space considerations, and an increase in renewable
energy projects are all driving the market for fuses.
mann series products by Eaton ( eaton.com). “For example, as re- newable energy projects increase, so too will the need for the associated fusible solutions.”
Among the industry trends driving evolution in the fuse category is the demand for lower-profile designs. “Space savings is becoming more critical as OEMs are being required to provide more components and functionality inside of their equip- ment while maintaining the neces- sary level of protection for their cus- tomers,” said Stoll. Industry responses to this need include innovations that enable more compact technology, such as a fused disconnect switch solution that requires one-third the footprint of a traditional fusible disconnect switch while still featuring a 200kA short-circuit current rating. Other innovations combine a traditional fuse block with a power distribu- tion block, reducing the number of components required and using significantly less space than earlier designs. As DC power requirements be- come more prevalent and the mag- nitude and scale of systems continue to grow, Scheuerman said that the industry is offering expanded and enhanced high-speed fuses incorpo- rating increased DC voltage and in- terrupt rating capabilities.
Tips for the Trade
According to Stoll, actions taken to improve availability and minimize stockouts to ensure that distributors “have the right SKUs at the right time” are key to their success. She also recommends that distributors take advantage of the many re- sources that manufacturers make available, from fault current calcula- tors to hands-on training and tech- nical support from local application engineers.
Replacing a fuse is much quicker and less expensive than replacing a motor, transformer, or piece of switchgear, so it’s vitally important to help users select the proper fuse for their applications.
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