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SPD Technologies Rolls With The Changes, Targets Civilian Specialty Market

SPD Technologies, a noted Philadelphia- based firm with roots going back to 1890 which builds, repairs, overhauls and services switchgears, is now targeting various commercial projects as a direct result of declining Navy work.

"We love specialty work," said Dan Schuster, SPD's vice president of marketing. "That is our niche. That is what we sink our teeth into because practically every Navy contract we worked on is what you could call a specialty job. And Navy contracts nearly always have very tough specifications and schedules to meet." According to Mr. Schuster, the company is still "95 percent Navy," but the transition to commercial work, in the maritime and other markets, is well in motion.

SPD is currently in the process of talking with other manufacturers to discuss strategic alliances, in order to form an unbeatable team to attack commercial markets. With Navy work declining, SPD is increasingly focused on the world's non-military markets, and the company's "big gun" is its long and successful experience in specialty circuit-breaker work for the Navy. Beyond that, SPD brings a formidable array of weapons to tackle the new markets. SPD was reportedly the first to develop an automatic battery monitoring system for submarines, and was involved in the breakthrough development of the first electronically-controlled 100 ampere military-spec circuit breaker. A recent example of SPD's work is exemplified by its work on the Seawolf-class submarines.

What Seawolf needed was switchgear that could pack more power distribution circuits into a smaller space, while at the same time lowering allowable temperature rise. This had to be accomplished without forced ventilation, or even ventilation openings in the rear of the enclosure.

SPD approached this specialty job with innovation—engineering a shock-resistant unit easily accessible for installation and maintenance with a special fault detection system and single-weld structure that reduced parts and the unit's overall weight by 30 percent.

Founded in 1890 as Cutter Electrical Manufacturing Company, and later called I-T-E Imperial Corp., SPD Technologies is known worldwide for its innovative approach to the manufacture of switchgear, and for the repair, overhaul and service of circuit breakers.

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