Daily CSR
Daily CSR

Daily CSR
Daily news about corporate social responsibility, ethics and sustainability

3M’s proven technology gaining traction in the US


Consider a heart surgeon who lacks the technology to monitor your heart.

A similar situation is currently unfolding in the United States' electrical grids: many grid operators have limited visibility into critical information about what's going on in their networks.

Fortunately, 3M developed a technology to aid in the resolution of this issue more than a decade ago. It first gained traction in Europe, but is now gaining traction in the United States, owing to an increase in extreme weather events and new energy demands.

The breakthrough is a simple sensor that can transmit real-time data about vital parameters in underground medium-voltage networks. "It's like a heart rate monitor for your electrical system," said Terry Collier, vice president of research and development for 3M's electrical markets.

Powering Chicago, an electrical industry labor-management partnership that featured the technology in a recent video, was drawn to 3M.

“Having this technology will show the customer that there might be some problems in their system, and they can repair that before a catastrophic failure,” said Jerry McGlynn, vice president of field operations for McWilliams Electric, in the video.

Elbert Walters III, executive director of Powering Chicago, visited 3M's innovation center in Austin, Texas, to see the product in person and speak with in-house experts.

“This technology has proven to be a difference maker for those clients that have been using it in Europe for years now,” he said in the video. “It will allow projects in the U.S. to maximize efficiency and safety.”

With the invention of electrical tape in the 1940s, 3M first entered the electrical industry, and it now has more than 75 years of experience providing proprietary technologies to the market segment.

“As we look to better manage our electrical infrastructure, the ideal business case for grid modernization is one that combines extending the life of current assets in a cost-effective manner, while preparing for future grid opportunities,” said Collier.