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March 06, 2013

Early morning Doom - commercial "indicator species" and the economy [Purp]

Indicator Species

1. a species whose presence indicates the presence of a set of other species and whose absence indicates the lack of that entire set of species;

Vacuum Interrupters, a sort of high voltage, high amperage switch/breaker are a key element of industrial/commercial power distribution and manufacturing. When VI sales decline, the economy is in deep shit. VI's are not tech fad, they're core bedrock commercial/manufacturing infrastructure stuff. You can't replace them with computers, or any other crap. When you need them, you need them. Period. Without them factories and buildings shutdown.

Everyone has heard about the power "grid". Vacuum Interrupters are found in the places where you've stepped off the national "grid" onto large enterprises that get medium voltage (thousands of volts) fed into them...places that have their own substations. Not the "small" stuff where you'd get 480V 3-phase or less fed in from the power company.

So what's up with the vacuum interrupters? Well, Eaton, a major player in the power/electrical business is laying off 33 of 275 people working at vacuum interrupter plant in NY. You may not have heard of Eaton, but there's a good chance you've seen some of their smaller scale products at Home Depot -- they make the Cutler-Hammer brand of electrical stuff.

There's other VI vendors of course. ABB, Siemens, GE, and Schneider all sell them too...and they've all suffered layoffs in the past too.

If the Vacuum Interrupter business is faltering, America is faltering. These 33 people losing their jobs at Eaton says more about what's going on in the street than all of the hot air coming out of Washington.

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posted by Open Blogger at 04:05 AM

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