PLC being programmed by an industrial electrician from a PLC programming company in Knoxville

How Do Industrial Control Systems Use Data?

As industrial control systems handle bigger and more complex tasks, there is a growing need for IT data management and support to help coordinate the industrial control system, and secure it as well. As a result, industrial control systems depend more and more on Big Data to help plan, optimize and improve operations at your industrial company.

PLC being programmed by an industrial electrician from a PLC programming company in Knoxville

This can take many forms, such as enhanced automation of your industrial processes to improve accuracy and efficiency, detailed reporting that measures every aspect of the production process looking for ways to improve the overall process, or helping managers and engineers identify and resolve problems before they result in a production slowdown, or worse yet, a complete work stoppage.

What Kind of Data Does Industrial Control Systems Handle?

Industrial control systems collect and use many different types of data. This can be the primary data that runs and controls the equipment or enhanced functions such as coordinating the operation of multiple systems, managing production speed, and also delivering data gathered by sophisticated sensors installed within the system. Because of these enhancements, the industrial control systems require software with customizable configuration and reporting to manage the production process. The industrial control system communicates via a wired or wireless signal that updates the data constantly. This interconnectivity between the industrial control system and the equipment that it runs makes it vulnerable to threats both outside and within the business.

Why is Data Security Important?

Cyberattacks on industrial companies are becoming more and more commonplace in today’s world. The tight-knit interconnectivity between the industrial control system, the equipment that performs tasks, and the networks and data architecture that support them make it vulnerable to outside attacks from hackers. But internal issues such as equipment failure, employees bypassing the system’s operation, or external factors that prevent peak efficiencies such as temperature, humidity, or other environmental conditions.

Luckily, the tight integration between today’s industrial control systems and Big Data makes it easier than ever to spot problems, whether caused by internal conditions or an outside cyberattack, can be configured to detect these issues before they can cause production problems.

Let Tri-State Electrical Contractors Help with Your Industrial Control System Installation and Maintenance

At Tri-State Electrical, we can handle every aspect of your industrial control systems. From providing the industrial electrical work to supply your equipment with power, to providing the PLC programming needed to run your system. in the Southeastern US? For more information, give us a call at (423) 800-2134, fill out our simple online form, or email us at today.

Solar storage system Chattanooga

What is Solar Storage?

Solar storage (AKA solar battery storage) is a technology that allows you to use solar power in your home or business even after the sun has set. Because solar panels only generate energy during the day, there needs to be a way to use power at night. This is where solar storage comes in. Solar storage is a set of solar backup batteries that store solar energy until it needs to be used either at night or during outages.

Solar storage system Chattanooga

What Are the Benefits of Solar Storage?

Energy independence is the biggest benefit of using a solar storage system. Previously solar energy could only be used during the day, and solar storage changes everything. Solar battery systems allow solar energy to be used at night, during outages, or whenever power is needed.

Lower energy bills is another massive benefit to using solar storage. Being able to supply all of your energy from the sun can significantly reduce your energy bills. In fact, you might be able to sell excess power back to your electricity supplier in some cases.

Secure Source of Power

As residents of Texas discovered last year, a big storm has the potential to damage electrical infrastructure severely, and people might end up without power for many hours or even days. A solar storage system is independent of the electrical grid and can be self-sustaining during an emergency. Even if the rest of the electrical grid is down in your area or neighborhood, a solar storage system allows you to live normally and help others during trying times.

Environmentally Friendly

The source of solar energy is free and reduces the amount of energy needing to be produced by fossil fuels such as coal and natural gas for the world as a whole. You can significantly reduce or even eliminate your need for energy from energy companies with solar battery systems.

Increase the Value of Your Home or Business

Adding solar panels and a solar battery storage system is highly sought after in many areas within the country. Energy-independent buildings can raise the value anywhere from 4 to 6%, a significant amount. When adding this to the energy savings you get, the value of a solar energy system is clear.

If you now see the value of a solar storage system, why not the best solar storage system electrical contractors in the Southeastern US? Tri-State Electrical Contractors’ industrial and commercial electricians are licensed in Tennessee, Alabama, Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, and (soon) Florida. We can handle solar storage systems or any commercial or industrial electrical project you need to be completed quickly and competently. For more information, give us a call at (423) 800-2134, fill out our simple online form, or email us at today.

Power Distribution Center electrical contractor Atlanta

What is a Power Distribution Center?

Power distribution systems are a critical part of any electrical power system. To transfer electrical power from its source to where it is used, requires a power distribution center.

Power Distribution Center electrical contractor Atlanta

A power distribution center (PDC) regulates the distribution of electrical power to equipment at an industrial plant, homes in your neighborhood, or systems on your car.  Typically, a switchgear supplies power to the PDC.

How Do Commercial and Industrial Electricians Use PDCs

For commercial or industrial electrical work, power distribution centers tend to be large enclosures of electrical equipment housed in an electrical room, on the roof of a building, or even a separate dedicated building somewhere on the company’s property. Commercial and industrial electricians use power distribution centers to manage the raw current coming from the electrical source and feeding it to all of the systems that require it within the building or property.

Components of a Power Distribution Center

No PDCs will be exactly alike. The components within the PDC depends on the amount of energy needed, location, how the energy is being used, etc. But most PDCs have the following components:

  • Housing – Most electrical equipment is delicate and requires protection from extreme weather (high-winds, torrential rain, severe heat and cold, and much more). Housings protect the equipment within the PDC, as well as keep the weather, temperature extremes, vermin, and other annoyances out.
  • Transformer – Transformers convert incoming high-voltage electricity to a lower voltage to be distributed throughout the building or property. loads such as motor control centers (MCC’s). Feeder breakers for these loads will be located on the PDC. PDC’s will often contain additional protective relays, monitoring equipment, fuses, terminal points, etc.
  • Motor Control Center – This component controls some or all electric motors from a central location. These can be mini-PDCs themselves using a shared power bus for each section. These may include a motor starter, fuses or circuit breaker, and power disconnect. Each section may also include push buttons, indicator lights, variable-frequency drives, programmable logic controllers, and metering equipment.
  • Safety Equipment – Such as fuses and circuit breakers.

Power distribution centers are a common feature for commercial and industrial electrical projects, so it is critical to have PDC experts handling your installation. So why not hire the best commercial and industrial electrical contractors in the Southeastern US? Tri-State Electrical Contractors’ industrial and commercial electricians are licensed in Tennessee, Alabama, Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, and (soon) Florida. We can handle any commercial or industrial electrical project you need to be completed quickly and competently. For more information, give us a call at (423) 800-2134, fill out our simple online form, or email us at today.

Industrial electrical services Birmingham

How to Secure Your Industrial Control Systems

Cyberattacks appear in headline news daily, and industrial control systems are high-value targets because they are vulnerable and can cause great turmoil if disrupted. Because of this, many hackers have shifted their attention to industrial control systems over traditional IT systems.

Industrial electrical services Birmingham

Why Industrial Control Systems Are Vulnerable

There are many reasons why industrial control systems are particularly vulnerable to hacker attacks:

  • Industrial control systems now rely more on connectivity than ever before for basic operations and keep things running smoothly.
  • Because these systems often are comprised of equipment from many different vendors, each part within the system has different security measures in place, meaning that one software vulnerability can allow hackers into the entire industrial control system.
  • Industrial control systems do not have the same security oversight as traditional IT systems.
  • Equipment within these systems often includes software that cannot be updated or patched.
  • Industrial control systems equipment is typically used by manufacturing personnel, who don’t often have IT experience, especially with cybersecurity

Industrial control systems consist of operational technology such as sensors, programmable logic controllers, actuators, and even robots that manage, monitor, and maintain the systems—the more interconnected the systems, the greater the damage that can be done overall.

Damage that Hackers Can Do Through Industrial Control Systems

So you might think hackers can’t do any damage if they can access the conveyor belt system used in shipping and receiving, but you would be completely wrong. Here are some of the ways hackers can do damage to your company by hacking industrial control systems:

  • Access primary IT systems or more critical systems by moving into these systems laterally.
  • Steal trade secrets and intellectual property.
  • Obtain confidential information such as customer lists, marketing plans, policies and procedures, etc.
  • Secretly monitor internal traffic and other data such as email.
  • Take control of manufacturing, operations, or infrastructure equipment and cause damage, sabotage operations, or even hold it hostage.

Tips for Keeping Your Industrial Control System Safe

So what can you do to protect yourself from this damage? Take these actions:

  • Create security policies for the industrial control system equipment specifically and ensure that everyone follows them.
  • When purchasing new equipment for your industrial control system, be sure that it has a means to update the software and/or hardware for the system so that newly discovered vulnerabilities can be addressed.
  • Assign an individual or team that works with IT to maintain the control system equipment and make sure that hackers cannot get into the system through industrial control system equipment.
  • Hire an industrial control system specialist who understands the importance of security and designs these systems to maximize operational security.

The moral of the story is that don’t allow the security of industrial control system equipment to be forgotten or fall through the cracks. Create awareness of security vulnerabilities and ensure the key individuals know how to address them. Don’t put your whole organization at risk by allowing a security breach to occur via your industrial control systems.

Hire the Best Industrial Control System Specialists in the Southeastern US

Tri-State Electrical Contractors do not only install electrical equipment for commercial and industrial customers all over the Southeastern United States but also can help you install and configure industrial control systems for your operations securely. For more information, give us a call at (423) 800-2134, fill out our simple online form, or email us at today.

Industrial electrical services Atlanta

What is Industrial Electrical Maintenance?

Because most modern industrial electrical systems are well constructed and durable, facilities managers and owners of an industrial business may be lulled into a false sense of security about their electrical systems. As a result, they might overlook issues until it is too late. Unfortunately, this usually results in a costly repair or replacement of electrical components or, worse yet, brings production down.

Industrial electrical services Atlanta

For these reasons, industrial electrical maintenance is essential for uninterrupted and efficient operations for all industrial businesses.

What is Industrial Electrical Maintenance?

Because of the complexity of modern industrial equipment, industrial electricians need to be familiar with many different types of equipment and the theory and technology behind it. In addition, industrial electrical maintenance involves a general understanding of monitoring, testing, diagnosing, repairing, and replacing elements of an industrial electrical system. This includes being knowledgeable about the National Electric Code and local zoning and regulations surrounding electrical work.

Areas Industrial Electrical Maintenance Cover

In addition to the general knowledge of electrical systems, today’s industrial electricians need to be familiar with the standard technology used within industrial electrical systems such as:

  • Generators
  • Transformers
  • Hydraulics
  • Pneumatics
  • Lighting Systems
  • Surge Protection
  • Battery Backup Systems

Industrial electricians need to be familiar with computerized control systems integrated with the electrical equipment and high-tech diagnostic equipment to help identify and resolve problems before resulting in an expensive repair or downtime.

This means that industrial electricians need to use and thoroughly understand the software that drives these integrated solutions and how to use it to ensure stability and detect problems before they become serious issues. They do this by implementing preventive maintenance for these systems.

Preventative Industrial Electrical Maintenance

Downtime and data loss keep industrial business owners awake at night. Problems that are minor issues early on can become huge issues at critical moments. For example, the company’s backup generators need to be ready to fire up as soon as there is a power outage. If those generators have not been inspected or tested, they might not start at a crucial moment. Preventative industrial maintenance can help avoid these issues. Some of these issues include:

  • Overloaded or old wiring
  • Inadequate lubrication for industrial equipment
  • Excess vibration
  • Worn out parts

Industrial electricians need to be experts at many different types of equipment and have a clear understanding of the system’s vulnerable areas and how to prevent problems before they occur.

Hire the Best Industrial Electrical Contractors in the Southeastern US

Tri-State Electrical Contractors’ industrial electricians are licensed in Tennessee, Alabama, Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, and (soon) Florida. We can handle any industrial electrical project you need to be completed quickly and competently. For more information, give us a call at (423) 800-2134, fill out our simple online form, or email us at today.

Industrial electrical services Columbia, SC

5 Warning Signs of a Poor Industrial Electrical Services Provider?

There are many different industrial electrical companies out there, so how do you know which one is good for you? What are some red flags that indicate problems if you encounter them during an interaction with an industrial electrical services provider? Here are a few to look out for.

1 – Poor Communication

In industrial electrical services, poor communication leads to expensive downtime, worker injury, or even death. Therefore, an excellent industrial electrical company must provide clear information to the customer, the workers, vendors, other contractors, and each other to ensure that every industrial electrical project is completed correctly, safely, and under budget.

Industrial electrical services Columbia, SC

2 – Shows Up Late

An industrial electrical company that is OK with their workers showing up late—or not at all indicates that there will be problems when it comes to completing your project on time. Although occasionally things happen that make tardiness unavoidable, an excellent electrical services company prides itself on having work crews show up on time for every customer meeting—big or small—from the initial quote to the final clean up at the end of a project.

3 – Poor Attention to Detail

Poor attention to detail is another red flag that cannot be ignored. Because industrial equipment tends to deal with high voltages, dangerous machinery, or processes, poor attention to detail can lead to severe problems down the line. Poor attention to detail leads to expensive rework (to fix the problem right in the first place), work stoppages to make repairs or even accidents that may injure or kill a worker. A superior industrial electrical services company goes the extra mile to ensure that no small detail is overlooked when completing a project.

4 – Bad Attitude

Suppose an industrial electrician avoids answering customer questions. He ignores information that the business owners or company staff provide or gets argumentative with the customer about the type of equipment to install or electrical services to provide is a huge red flag. These traits damage the customer relationship, jeopardize the possibility of future work from that client, and possibly hurt the industrial electrical company’s reputation with the public.

5 – Inconsistent with Pricing and Safety Issues

If an electrical services company cannot provide definitive information for estimating the cost of work or addressing safety concerns, the customer’s trust quickly erodes. While project pricing may change slightly with the current economic conditions or if the scope of the project changes, the company generally has to earn the customer’s trust by providing in-depth answers and explanations for all pricing and safety issues.

Hire the Best Industrial Electrical Contractors in the Southeastern US

Tri-State Electrical Contractors’ industrial electricans are licensed in Tennessee, Alabama, Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, and (soon) Florida. We can handle any industrial electrical project you need completed quickly and competently. For more information, give us a call at (423) 800-2134, fill out our simple online form, or email us at today.

●On the job with a commercial electrical contractor in Nashville

How Is a Commercial Electrician Different from an Industrial Electrician?

While a commercial electrician and an industrial electrician sound like they do the same thing, nothing can be further from the truth. However, there are some similarities between the two.

●On the job with a commercial electrical contractor in Nashville

Similarities Between Commercial and Industrial Electricians

Both commercial and industrial electricians start with basic electrical knowledge, but there are several other similarities. Both positions require that you have:

  • Earned your high school diploma
  • Participated in an electrician apprenticeship
  • Attended  industry-specific training and classes
  • Completed 8,000 t0 10,000 hours of on-the-job training
  • Passed a certification exam

The foundation of their skill set might be in basic electrical knowledge, but the application of their extended training is what truly defines the two.

Work Experience of Commercial Electricians

Most commercial electricians work in apartment buildings, retail establishments, offices, and sometimes food service businesses. They typically perform the following tasks:

  • Running three-wire systems through conduit
  • Ensuring that the electrical components and wiring function efficiently and safely
  • Performing common electrical repairs and installation of specific equipment
  • Wiring breaker panels, transformers, and lighting systems
  • Occasionally installing HVAC systems and backup generators

Work Experience of Industrial Electricians

Industrial electricians typically perform all of the tasks that a commercial electrician handles but require additional education and training to perform specific industrial tasks. This additional training depends on the industry that the industrial electrician work in. This training determines what types of jobs and projects the electrician can work on.  This training is critical to ensure the accuracy and thorough knowledge of this field. For example, manufacturing facilities have power requirements that are far different from those encountered within commercial businesses. Some of the issues industrial electricians need to be ready to perform include:

  • Handling high-voltage electrical systems commonly associated with industrial processes
  • Installing electrical systems and components for industry-specific equipment.
  • Troubleshooting issues with controls and electronics within the industrial electrical systems
  • Inspecting on machinery and equipment in industrial structures
  • Installing power conductors to reduce interference with the control systems and other electronic devices
  • Ensuring the proper grounding of manufacturing systems and equipment
  • Maintaining and repairing electrical systems and components to reduce potential work stoppage due to electrical or equipment failure.

Another important thing that both industrial and commercial electricians have in common is that the businesses and industries that they serve rely on their dependability and competence. A mistake in wiring or installing electrical equipment can lead to costly equipment repairs or replacement or work stoppages, both of which cost the company lots of money.

Hire the Best Commercial and Industrial Electrical Contractors in the Southeastern US

Tri-State Electrical Contractors’ commercial and industrial electricans are licensed in Tennessee, Alabama, Georgia, Texas, North Carolina, South Carolina, and (soon) Florida. We can handle any commercial or industrial electrical work you need completed quickly and competently. For more information, give us a call at (423) 800-2134, fill out our simple online form, or email us at today.

Storm damage requiring industrial electrical repairs in Greensboro

What Are Some of the Common Electrical Repairs Needed After a Storm?

Storms are the arch-enemy of your electrical service. The combination of wind, rain, and (sometimes) snow and ice can be devastating to the electrical grid.

Falling Trees

The rain saturates the ground making it less stable for trees, and when combined with strong winds, they fall, taking out power lines and the occasional transformer. To lessen the impact of power loss during storms, you should look at hiring a commercial or industrial electrical company to install a backup generator to keep your business going when everything else comes to a standstill.

Storm damage requiring industrial electrical repairs in Greensboro

Lightning Strikes

Lightning is one of the most potent forces on the planet. If it strikes anywhere near your business, the resulting power surge can damage all electronic devices connected to your wiring and sometimes non-electronic appliances that are simply plugged in at the time of the strike. Therefore, all businesses should protect themselves from lightning and surges by having a commercial electrical contractor install a lightning arrester to route the electricity away from your company and into the ground. These strikes can also damage breakers in your electrical system.


Although the occasional flooded basement may occur during a severe downpour, a more common problem occurs when water seeps into your building during heavy rain and comes into contact with your wiring, it may short circuit, causing power loss or possibly starting a fire. When this happens, get a reliable commercial and industrial electrical services provider to fix the issue to keep your business safe from further damage. Unfortunately, short circuits can be difficult to track down and needs expert help to make the repairs.

Tri-State Electrical Contractors Provides Electrical Repairs After Storms

Our industrial and commercial electricians know how what to look for and how to fix it after a damaging storm. Tri-State Electrical Contractor has you covered whether it is tracking down a hard-to-find short circuit or installing a new generator for your industrial or commercial business. We are licensed in Tennessee, Alabama, Georgia, Texas, North Carolina, South Carolina, and (soon) Florida. To learn more about how Tri-State Electrical can help you with your commercial electrical project, give us a call at (423) 800-2134, fill out our simple online form, or email us at today.

Backup generators installed by industrial electrical contractors in Atlanta

How Do You Size a Generator for an Industrial Company?

Figuring out the correct size when installing a generator for a commercial or industrial customer is not a one-size-fits-all type of project. You need expert help from experienced industrial/commercial electrical contractors to ensure the job is done right.

Why Do Industrial and Commercial Companies Need Backup Generators?

Power outages happen everywhere and everyone has experienced them. At home, this is an inconvenience. For commercial and industrial businesses, a power outage can cripple them. For manufacturing companies, a power outage shuts down production which costs them while the equipment and workers are not working. For restaurants and grocery stores, a long power outage can result in thousands of dollars in food spoilage, as well as losses in sales because customers cannot shop there. These generators prevent losses associated with outages, keep businesses operating, and allow important building services to continue.

Backup generators installed by industrial electrical contractors in Atlanta

Square Footage of Location

Using the square footage of your location is a great starting point to help calculate the backup generator size you need. There are equations within the industry used for this purpose.

  • For Retail applications such as grocery stores, convenience stores, restaurants, and most other retail establishments, the formula for calculating power needs is 50 kilowatts + 10 watts per square foot.
  • For most other commercial applications, the formula is 50 kilowatts + 5 watts per square foot.

Full Load Capacity of the Site

Calculating the full-load capacity of a site requires a little more legwork and research to come up with an accurate number. Here are the steps to follow to help calculate this number.

  1. Look at your service panel and take full-load current measurements during peak usage.
  2. Clamp on an ammeter for each leg of the electrical service, and add these measurements together. This will provide you with the total amps used.
  3. Divide the total amps by three for three-phase current, or by two for single-phase current.
  4. Multiply the total amps divided by phase current number by the supply voltage and multiply it again by 1000 for the Kilowatts (kW) required.
  5. Next, add the power in kilowatts used by each emergency safety standby system following articles 700, 701, 702 and 708 of the National Electric Code (NEC) to the kilowatts. This provides you with the full load kilowatts number.

The formulas to calculate this size are:

  • Total Amps × Supply Voltage / 1000 = Full Load Kilowatts
  • Full Load Kilowatts × 0.25 = Reserve Capacity
  • To determine the proper generator size at 100% power is Full Load Kilowatts + Reserve Capacity = Generator Size

Other Factors to Consider When Sizing a Generator

The square footage of a location and the full load capacity of the site are good indicators to estimate the size of the generator you might need, but here are some other factors to keep in mind:

  • Number of customers/employees onsite
  • Operating hours of the business – Does it have regularly scheduled hours each day? Different hours on different days? Or online 24/7?
  • Voltage sag – This is a temporary drop that occurs when there is a short circuit or overload of electric motors. Some industries need to meet specific tolerances so this is a factor in some installations.
  • Environment – Humidity, temperature, and the altitude of the building may impact how to size the generator.

In conclusion, sizing a backup generator for a commercial or industrial business is a complex process that can be extremely expensive if you make a mistake. At Tri-State Electrical Contractors, we have the experience to make the process smooth and trouble-free. To learn more, give us a call at (423) 800-2134, fill out our simple online form, or email us at today.

Industrial electrician at an electrical substation installation

What is an Electrical Substation Installation?


The word substation originates from the early days of power generation and transmission before the power distribution system became a grid. When central power generation stations grew larger, smaller power generation stations were converted to distribution stations. That stations simply received and distributed the energy from the “main” power plant and didn’t use their own generators.

Most substations are owned and operated by electric utility companies, but large industrial or commercial customers often install their own substations. These customers use a great deal of power and need to manage it effectively.

Industrial electrician at an electrical substation installation

Tasks Electrical Substations Perform

A substation is a critical component of an electrical generation, transmission, and distribution system. Substations on today’s power grid can perform many different tasks based on their specific design. Here are some of them:

  • Transfer power from the transmission system to the distribution system in an area
  • Transform voltage from high to low
  • Transform voltage from low to high
  • Change the frequency of the current
  • Convert current from alternating current (AC) to direct current (DC) and vice versa
  • Switch current to back-up lines in case of failure

Most of these substations are automated, relying on Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA) systems to control and monitor the transmission of electricity and other commercial and industrial processes.

Common Electrical Substation Components

Substations designs depend on the electrical needs of an area or a specific customer and will have the appropriate equipment and infrastructure based on these needs. Most substations use the following components to manage their electrical needs:

  • Switches
  • Protection and Control Equipment
  • Transformers
  • Circuit Breakers and/or Fuses
  • Capacitors
  • Voltage regulators
  • Reactors

Electrical Substation Installation Infrastructure

Substations also require space and infrastructure to support them. Many substations are constructed in more remote areas within fenced enclosures to ensure proper clearances, access to sensitive equipment, and room for expansion in growing areas. Other substations might be constructed in special-purpose buildings to reduce transformer noise, protect the equipment from extreme temperatures, keep people out, or prevent an eyesore. In areas where land is costly, substations might be designed within high-rise buildings or underground. Substations in coastal areas need to be constructed or located in elevated structures to avoid flooding and storm damage.

Tri-State Electrical Contractors Installs Industrial Electrical Substations in Most Southeastern States

We provide a wide variety of industrial electric services, including electrical substation installations, repairs, and retrofits. We are licensed in Tennessee, Alabama, Georgia, Texas, North Carolina, South Carolina, and (soon) Florida. To learn more about how Tri-State Electrical can help you with your commercial electrical project, give us a call at (423) 800-2134, fill out our simple online form, or email us at today.