The Reliability Files

3 Low-Cost Ways To Cut Downtime By Using Fuse Indication

EP Editorial Staff | January 11, 2011


Every minute of downtime is costly, so open fuses must be found and replaced quickly. The process includes tracing down the open circuit, donning PPE (personal protective equipment) and testing to pinpoint the open fuse.

Workers might well wish an open fuse could talk and tell them where it is located. Well, now it can.

Fuses and fuse holders are now available that can tell operators that they have opened, increasing safety and reducing downtime—which in some industries can cost more than $50,000 per minute. Fuse indication is accomplished in three different ways: on the body of the fuse, on the fuse holder
and remotely by communicating with other systems.

#1. Indicating fuses…
The simplest way to know which fuse is open is to use indicating fuses on which a darkened indicator window on the side of the fuse provides instant visual identification of a down circuit. By clearly showing whether the fuse is open or not, indicator fuses minimize the hazards of poking around an energized circuit panel to locate the open fuse. Operators can test the circuit, replace the fuse and get equipment running quickly and safely.

#2. Indicating fuse holders…
Indicating fuse holders that indicate an open fuse with a light have been recently introduced. In a dark electrical panel, a bright red neon light on the fuse holder provides an obvious reminder that power is still on, as well as a time-saving notification of which fuse is open. An indicating fuse holder may be used with indicating fuses that will confirm which fuse needs to be replaced.


#3. Remote indication technology…
The third way for you to begin a dialog with your fuses is through remote indication fuse holders. Far simpler than systems that require proprietary network protocols, a remote indicating fuse holder communicates fuse status with a signal that may be wired into any existing PLC or plant monitoring system. A PLC or system may be programmed to alarm in various ways, such as a stack light, audible alarm or text message. If the user programs the PLC with specifics about the fuse, additional information such as fuse type, part number, necessary PPE and where replacement fuses are located can be communicated.

In this way, the maintenance worker has all the information he/she needs to handle the problem in one trip. There’s no need to walk around the plant just to find the problem—workers can bring new fuses and correct PPE with them, thus avoiding extra costly trips back to the storeroom.

Estimates are that remote indication can cut a 52-minute process down to 16 minutes. Remote monitoring throughout the manufacturing environment saves time for lean staffs and improves the uptime of official loads via immediate detection and notification of problems.

Return On Investment
In this economy, the focus has shifted from expensive, time-consuming pro-jects to finding low-cost ways to cut downtime. Indicating fuses and fuse holders provide three easy ways to achieve this goal. Don’t look at them as mere components. Think of them as important partners on your journey to electrical safety and uptime.

For more information on indicating fuses and fuse holders, please visit

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