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Working Together to Protect Equipment, People and Personnel

This is an eight-acre plaza with 400 trees that surround two of the largest manmade waterfalls in North America and two recessed reflecting pools. Each pool is almost an acre in size and covers the former physical footprints of the original Twin Towers. Each of the two pools holds 600,000 gallons of water.


The Memorial project needed massive plumbing, pumps, filters, water chemistry tanks and precision controls to keep it all running smoothly 24x7 all year round through New York City’s four seasons. As visitors from around the world would be coming to the Memorial daily and at all times of the day and night, it was critical that there be no equipment failure resulting in downtime.


The 16 water pump motors on each fountain pump 30,000 gallons of water every minute. The contractor chosen by the architects, Delta Fountains, was faced with the problem of remote starting these pump motors from thousands of miles away in Jacksonville, Florida, where their headquarters is located. They needed to know if the motors were safe to start before sending the remote signal to start. They could not afford to have a failure or any unscheduled downtime of the motors.


To accomplish their goals, Delta Fountain’s engineers worked with MegAlert, Inc., and installed 32 automatic insulation resistance testers to continuously test and monitor the motors while they were offline. The information was sent via a Siemens automation system to the Delta operators’ computers in Florida so they would know if a motor was safe to start or if it first needed maintenance.

“Protecting the motors from failure is just one important feature at the fountains. The sensor units have also provided human safety by warning the operators of any electrical grounds that could result in someone being injured,” says inventor Rick Zelm at MegAlert, proud of this important and patriotic application of this new technology.


Rick Zelm owned a motor and generator repair business in New Orleans, repairing equipment primarily for the utilities industry and the oil and gas industry on oil platforms in the Gulf of Mexico. After a fatal arc flash accident at a power generation plant, a major utility company approached him and asked if he could develop a product that would automatically and continuously test and monitor the winding insulation in their medium voltage motors and generators, thus protecting the equipment as well as their personnel. It was then that he developed the medium voltage MegAlert models. These units monitor critical duty motors and generators and alert personnel if there is a problem, thus preventing failures on start-up of the equipment. This system is the only product of its kind that has the technology to perform a “true dielectric” test of the insulation in motors and generators in order to predict the life left in that piece of equipment and provide an early warning of impending failures before they occur. The technology saves money, prevents downtimes and helps ensure the safety of electricians, who would otherwise have to manually test this equipment and expose themselves to the dangers of an arc flash.

The systems are installed at the MCC panels or generator control panel and continuously test and monitor the power cables, connection boxes, and all three phases of the motor or generator windings from the starter or breaker all the way to the motor or generator and back when the equipment is offline. Furthermore, there is no limit on distance. This allows customers to detect any insulation breakdown in the entire circuit as soon as it occurs and correct the problem before the operating voltage is applied and the result is a failure.

MegAlert has assisted Delta Fountains in saving man-hours, as well as equipment over the time of installation. Applications for this technology include utility power plants, petro-chemical plants, refineries, ships, food production facilities, wind turbine generators, hospitals, universities, airports, offshore drilling platforms, etc. MegAlert is also approved by the American Bureau of Shipping (ABS). It has been installed on 26 U.S. Navy and U.S. Coast Guard ships.

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