Thomas Edison2.jpg

GE Protective Relays - 120 Years of Experience

If you don't know the GE history of protective relays you've got 10% of the store.

The history of protective relays starts with Thomas Edison. While working on his many electrical inventions, Edison needed a way to control and predict where his electrical circuits were going to fail, preventing damage to the more delicate or costly circuit elements. Edison would intentionally create weak points in the circuit and later patented the earliest protection device, the common fuse. Two years later in 1892 Thomas Edison founded GE. It's hard to believe how far GE has taken the power industry since then. The dreams of Edison to make power inexpensive and widely available to everyone would not be possible without ensuring the health of critical investments like generators, transformers and power distribution. Protection devices have always made the crucial decision during faults, which happens much too fast for human intervention. Regardless, the attention and need to innovate was slow due to a business perspective aptly described by J. Lewis Blackburn,“protective relaying is a nonprofit, nonrevenue producing item that is not necessary in the normal operation of an electric power system...” This was the perspective for years until market forces changed and demand on the grid become more complex, less of a luxury and more of a necessity. From the fuse to the induction disk type overcurrent relay introduced in the 1920's, innovation was limited to variations of overcurrent protection until the 1950's with distance protection. 

The development of transistors in the 1970's showed great promise for a growing and ever more complex electric grid, but solid-state protective relays were disappointing and early adopters where burned by there short life expectancy. Meanwhile, GE continued innovations in electromagnetic relays understanding that transistor technology was not up to standards for the market. Electromechanical relays remained the protection device of choice for new installations well in to the 90's. Although microprocessor relays entered the market in the 1980's GE was not eager to enter into the new technology until Moore's law had reached a point where CPU power could surpass mechanical and solid state functionality many times over. GE's answer to issues like life expectancy and Moore's law was Modular and Draw-out design. a strategy that customers from the late 90's appreciate today as they take advantage of upgrade opportunities with little impact to there operations. The GE Multilin UR Relay has been through 7 major hardware revisions, hundreds of software updates and one chassis from its introduction in 1998. The UR platform remains more relevant and versatile as ever. GE Multilin continues to set the industry bar that started with the first true IED's (intelligent electronic devices) and continued through with the first relay family with IEC 61850, first with IEEE1588, PRP and NERC/CIP compliance. All of these innovations have been made and are available though upgrading the original UR Relay introduced in 1998. 

To Be Continued.....   

Let us show you why GE Multilin Protective Relay Systems are the easiest, most advance and economical to own. If you don't know GE Multilin relays, you don't know relays.


Matt Kneip
President - pnc POWER SOLUTIONS CO.  

IAC Time-overcurrent Relay

Matt Kneip,
Jan 1, 2016, 9:43 PM
Matt Kneip,
Jan 1, 2016, 9:41 PM