Eaton Warns of Dangers Posed by Improper Repair of Molded Case Mining Circuit Breakers

Date: July 20, 2010

PITTSBURGH … Diversified industrial manufacturer Eaton Corporation is raising awareness of the dangers posed by improperly reconditioned or refurbished mining circuit breakers. Improper modifications to circuit breakers could lead to application failure, unsafe conditions, unreliable operation, or personal injury. In recent testing, Eaton found that some breakers refurbished by unauthorized third parties were unable to provide dependable circuit protection. Eaton circuit breakers are best serviced by Eaton or authorized dealers and distributors, because they are designed, engineered and manufactured by Eaton and incorporate proprietary technology.

Eaton collaborates with trade associations, the supply channel and government agencies worldwide to raise awareness of counterfeit and fraudulent electrical products, and to help enhance enforcement efforts.

“The use of mining circuit breakers refurbished by unauthorized third parties can pose a serious risk to mine operators. Eaton is investing in anti-counterfeiting technologies and programs and striving to protect customers from unauthorized products that have dangerous implications for the industry and the public,” said Patricia Matwijec, product manager, Eaton. “In our testing of some unauthorized third-party reconditioned circuit breakers, we found the models tested to be substandard, unsafe and unreliable. A breaker failure means the loss of production, possible equipment damage, and the increased risk of worker injury at the time of failure or during maintenance.”

Circuit breakers are designed to provide circuit protection for power distribution systems, and to safeguard people and equipment. In the mining industry, it is common to refurbish and resell circuit breakers. It provides an economical means of maintaining critical equipment. Although modifications may not change the outward appearance of a circuit breaker, significant changes in the circuit breaker design and internal components may cause potential safety hazards.

Improper refurbishing techniques can compromise the internal and external components of the circuit breaker. Critical plating, special coatings and materials may be removed or modified, affecting the structural and dielectric integrity. In several samples, Eaton found improper lubrication, the use of used or non-conforming parts, and modifications in excess of factory specifications. All of these factors can contribute to poor performance in the field and an elevated risk of failure.

Customers can best protect themselves against dangerous and defective counterfeit electrical products by:

  • Using established vendors and authorized retailers
  • Exercising caution in online transactions
  • Checking for certification marks
  • Scrutinizing labels and packaging
  • Avoiding products that lack identifying branding label or affiliation
  • Avoiding “bargains” that seem too good to be true
  • Seeking information online about product recalls

For more information, visit .

Eaton’s electrical business is a global leader in power distribution, power quality, control and industrial automation products and services. Eaton’s global electrical product lines, including Cutler-Hammer®, Moeller®, Powerware®, Holec®, MEM®, Santak®, and MGE Office Protection Systems™, provide customer-driven PowerChain Management® solutions to serve the power system needs of the data center, industrial, institutional, government, utility, commercial, residential and OEM markets worldwide.

Eaton Corporation is a diversified power management company with 2009 sales of $11.9 billion. Eaton is a global technology leader in electrical components and systems for power quality, distribution and control; hydraulics components, systems and services for industrial and mobile equipment; aerospace fuel, hydraulics and pneumatic systems for commercial and military use; and truck and automotive drivetrain and powertrain systems for performance, fuel economy and safety. Eaton has approximately 70,000 employees and sells products to customers in more than 150 countries. For more information, visit .

Michelle Phillips
(414) 449-7523