Southern Electrical Equipment Company (SEECO) was founded in 1920 as a supplier to the electrical utility industry. The company was originally organized and managed by several individuals who had held key engineering and procurement positions with Duke Power, an investor-owned electrical utility based in the Carolinas. Frequently challenged and sometimes frustrated by the difficulty in locating and procuring electrical products that met their utility specifications, these individuals determined to start their own company and supply the very items they had been looking for. Out of that desire to design and manufacture a better product, SEECO was born.
The product focus of the company was initially directed toward substation applications. In these early years, SEECO developed a complete line of hook-stick disconnect switches and mechanical connectors; the company also fabricated specialized copper bus bar assemblies, and designed and manufactured substation packages.
Located in Charlotte, N.C., the company's geographical market was originally in the southeast United States, and included regional investor-owned utilities, rural electric cooperatives, and municipal systems. In this time period (1920's, 1930's, and 1940's), many rural areas in the southeast were still without electric power or were served by newly developed cooperative and municipal systems. Due to its' geographic location, products, and engineering capabilities, SEECO was a major supplier of substation apparatus to many of the newly developed electrical systems in rural North and South Carolina, northern Georgia, eastern Tennessee, and southern Virginia. From the 1920's through the 1960's, SEECO was also heavily represented in the electrification of the southern textile industry; many industrial substations erected or expanded in those years were SEECO "projects."
A Major Acquisition
In 1980, SEECO acquired the transmission and substation switch product lines of the A.B. Chance Company. Included in this acquisition were the commercially popular one-way, two-way, and three-way phase-over-phase GOABS® which are used in transmission switching applications, and the MONORUPTR® vacuum interrupter which adds full load-break capabilities to air-break switches.
The acquisition of an established and respected line of group operated switches, with an existing nationwide customer base, was a major turning point for the company. By virtue of this acquisition, SEECO was transformed from a supplier with a regional (southeastern U.S.) market focus to a manufacturer with both national and international customers. Within 3-5 years of the acquisition, the company was recording sales in virtually all 50 states, Canada, Central America, Southeast Asia, and the Middle East.
The new product lines also necessitated major changes in the manufacturing capabilities of the company. At acquisition, SEECO took receipt of ten trailers of equipment, tooling, and fixturing, all of which required inspection and repair or reconditioning for active manufacturing service. New manufacturing personnel were hired and trained for 6 months prior to shipment of the first complete switch. Major expansions to our foundry, machining, and fabrication departments occurred soon thereafter.
Product Development Drives Growth
In response to industry initiatives in automation, SEECO made the decision in 1995 to develop new products that would complement and support the automation of group operated switches. Particular emphasis was placed on products that would facilitate the rapid identification and isolation of faults, and restoration of service.
The first major new product was introduced in 1996, a family of motor operators for switching applications in distribution, substation, and transmission. Product configurations include motor operators for both torsional and reciprocating switch operation.
In 2000, the company began production of our next major new product, SEECO SENSE® line post sensors (monitoring insulators) for monitoring and reporting line status and condition. Line post sensors replace conventional oil-filled CT and PT devices in relaying applications. They are ultra-light weight and utilize no oil or SF6 as a dielectric, making them an environmentally preferred alternative to traditional oil-filled instrument transformers. When used in conjunction with group operated switches and SEECO motor operators, they provide advanced capabilities for remote line sectionalizing, including fault isolation. The product design employs next generation technology and is patented.
In 2004, SEECO developed local logic devices for use with our SEECO SENSE® line post sensors and motor operators. These devices provide local processing of the current and voltage outputs of the line post sensors and enable independent automatic sectionalizing of switches, allowing restoration of service to un-faulted sections of a line within seconds of the initial operation of station breakers.
In 2008, SEECO successfully tested and began commercial production on our new 3000 amp family of live parts and vacuum interrupter devices. Switch and interrupter current ratings are now available in 600, 1200, 2000 and 3000 amp.
Also, in 2008, SEECO developed, manufactured and installed our first 230 kV phase-over-phase GOABS® switch. Additional 230 kV phase-over-phase switches were manufactured and shipped in 2009 and 2010.
In 2009 and 2010, SEECO began expansion of our vacuum interrupter product line to allow retro-fit to other brands of group operated switches, such as Pascor Atlantic, USCO and Royal. Retro-fit kits are available in both single and multi bottle interrupter configurations for center Vee and vertical break switches. Retro-fit kits for other brands are currently under development.
Also, in 2009, SEECO introduced a remote I/O device that allows for RF and optical fiber communication between devices. This can be used in both substation and transmission applications and provides a convenient means for communication of status and relay control without the time and expense of traditional trenching and multi wire cabling.
In 2010, SEECO acquired the vertical break product line of the Johnson Switch Company. This rugged, reliable switch design is an excellent complement to our existing lineup of group operated switches. The voltage range is 15-345 kV with current ratings of 600, 1200, 2000 and 3000 amp. Customers can now receive a properly integrated pairing of vertical break switch, single or multi bottle interrupter and motor operator from a single manufacturer with the assurance that all devices will operate properly together.
These new products and SEECO's commitment to new product development have been favorably received by the industry. As a result, SEECO has experienced significant sales growth and industry recognition. More new products are scheduled for introduction and we invite you to visit our website periodically to view information when it is updated.