In 1993, while working on a friction welder retrofit project at John Deere, Phil Allen was on the cusp of discovering the first of two new niches in the electrical safety business. The machine I/O was located in the front while the electrical panel with a 250 horsepower drive and a 400 amp main feed was inconveniently located at the rear of the machine. The only way to access the machine for maintenance was to open the doors, but the maintenance supervisor understood this caused a potential hazard. The supervisor insisted they “keep those doors closed!” He wanted them to put a PLC programming convenience interface or communication port on the operator console where “all the I/O were located.”
The engineers at Grace decided to accept the challenge and responded with a panel interface connector that contained a printed circuit board and cable solution. They housed it in a UL Type 4 rated, rectangular connector enclosure and the customer loved it! The local distributor loved it, too and it became obvious that Grace should offer this solution to all their customers. And so GracePorts® were born!
From there, the team at Grace Engineered Products has added SafeSide® Permanent Electrical Safety Devices, which help workers reduce risk of arc flash and increase productivity in lock-out, tag-out procedures.