HINGHAM, Mass. — Automatic transfer switches serve to transfer electrical loads from a preferred power source to an alternate source when the preferred source’s voltage and/or frequency varies from preset limits. The switches also retransfer loads when optimal voltage and frequency in the preferred source is restored. Long used in mission-critical, life safety applications — like health care facilities — to ensure continuous power supply, the switches can also provide an important function in commercial applications during outages. Commercial-duty switches understandably deliver fewer features than mission-critical ones; however, the commercial-duty switches are not always built to the same standards of quality and reliability. Russelectric, a Siemens Business, a designer manufacturer, and supporter of mission-critical automatic transfer switches, has responded to this need within the industry by developing a commercial duty ATS. Russelectric’s RTSCD offers the company’s quality and factory support in a simpler, easier to maintain, and more affordable package.


Basics of automatic transfer switches

An ATS is put in place to sense for a loss of normal power from the usual power source, typically utility power supplied through power distribution equipment. When this loss of power is sensed, the ATS switches the building’s electrical loads to a secondary source, typically a generator. The ATS awaits the return of normal power, at which point it transitions the electrical loads back. All of this is done with little to no input from technicians, particularly in simpler commercial applications.

However, light industrial, commercial, and residential applications for automatic transfer switches, such as multifamily housing units, schools, office buildings, and other campus environments, do not require the same sophisticated features that are found in a mission-critical ATS design. Nonetheless, they must still be reliable, easy to operate, and supported by technical experts for maintenance and repair. 

These applications also tend to call for a small footprint as the pressure grows in several industries to use that same space to drive revenue. The market for commercial automatic transfer switches is currently growing faster than that of mission-critical systems; and the widespread demand for a low up-front cost alternative to mission-critical equipment has driven lower quality engineering and design in the market.


Developing a commercial-grade option with mission-critical quality

Recognizing both the growing demand for commercial-duty ATS systems and the lack of reliability in a number of low-cost options on the market, Russelectric decided to adapt its industry standard, mission-critical ATS technology to meet the differing needs of these commercial applications. The resulting RTSCD ATS was designed with similar design features to existing mission-critical ATS systems, ensuring consistency across the company’s overall product offerings. 

Rated for applications with current of 400 amps or less, the RTSCD delivers a lower price point than seen in the mission-critical space. The RTSCD features a smaller footprint, fewer individual part scripts within the product for simpler manufacturing and maintenance and a simpler overall design. It is available in open- and delayed-transition formats and offers a manual transfer option with rapid arc interruption.

“Throughout the industry, we kept hearing from end users who wanted the same kind of quality of design that they have come to expect in mission-critical technology, but for lower amperages and at a lower price,” said Randy Adleman, vice president of commercial operations at Russelectric. “Responding to that demand, we have introduced the RTSCD. Its design represents the same quality and performance that contractors, consultants, and technicians have come to rely upon from Russelectric.”


Safety and maintenance

The RTSCD, like other Russelectric ATS designs, features operation from the front of the system for increased safety as well as contacts that are also easily accessible and inspectable from the front of the unit. Furthermore, with fewer components and moving parts than noncommercial ATS, the chance of failure is significantly reduced with the RTSCD design.  

Even more so than other heavier-duty and higher-amperage designs, the RTSCD is engineered for ease of startup and operation to avoid the possibility of operator error. The RTSCD can be started up by users themselves without the need for an OEM technician. Its simplified design also benefits end users in terms of maintenance. 



The need for more commercial-duty automatic transfer switches continues to grow as commercial, residential, and light industrial buildings begin to incorporate these products in their infrastructure designs to address the threat of power interruption. It has also become clear that the increase in demand for these products has created a push for lower priced options, in-turn introducing often unreliable products into the marketplace. Responding to the need for reliable ATS technology at a reduced price point, Russelectric developed its modestly priced RTSCD automatic transfer switch, offering the same quality and performance that contractors, consultants, and technicians have come to reply upon from Russelectric since 1955. For more information, visit www.russelectric.com.