The Best Arc Protection in Existence

No hyperbole here: Arcteq's patented solutions are literally the best in the business. Now all that's left is to tell the world.

Whenever there's a power discharge between two conductors, there's risk of an arc fault that can trigger an electrical fire. But despite this danger, the solution in much of the world has been to rely on a fuse and hope for the best.

“Forgoing arc flash protection is like having a company car without seat belts or airbags,” says Juha Arvola, Arcteq's Managing Director, who notes that zero arc protection has been the norm in much of the world. But, given the evolution in both technology and safety culture, that is changing, and Arcteq solutions are having their day.

What Arcteq knows (that the competition doesn’t)AQ-1000.jpg

Arcteq, part of Ensto Group, has two product lines under the solutions umbrella of protecting power grids. The first is arc flash protection products for substations. The second is protection relays, intelligent electronic devices that protect the grid from faults, shutting down the smallest section of the grid possible, keeping humans safe and SAIDI and SAIFI numbers at their best.

The showcase product in the Arcteq arsenal may be the AQ 1000, an arc quenching device that takes four milliseconds to extinguish an arc. The speed is impressive, but what really sets it apart from competitors is that it's reusable and resettable. Arcteq's product is the only one on the market that can be tested and reset, while the competition’s products offer a Catch 22: If you test them, you must replace or refurbish them, meaning their components always remain untested. Arcteq's protection relay is also patented, and it is the most accurate of its kind in the world.

Don’t get distracted

Despite the fact he possesses the best technology, Arvola doesn't like to get distracted by it. "Technology has always been the starting point for us but it’s not our goal. We’re after solutions with a good base tech." He points out that Arcteq protection relay solutions are incredibly flexible, which means they make sense for a grid that is constantly changing. "We are ready for all the changes that are coming."

Well over 90 percent of Arcteq products are sold in export markets. Its biggest market is South Africa, with North America, Sweden, Malaysia, and Taiwan not far behind. Arcteq entered the US in 2016, and sees it becoming an important market, given the attention it is paying to its grid and its growing culture of electrical safety.

Complementary cultures

Arcteq got its start in 2010 with five founders, Arvola among them. "It was a private company from the start. Ensto was a customer from the early days, since Arcteq made smart controls for Ensto's Auguste.” (Arcteq puts the smart in Auguste’s smart recloser). In 2016, Ensto acquired a minority stake in Arcteq, and then in 2021 purchased 75 percent of the company.

"The companies are complementary in many ways," says Arvola. "We both are family- or privately owned. We both focus on DSOs [distribution system operators]. Arcteq is stronger in some areas and Ensto stronger in others. Also, Ensto is fully committed to smart technology, and there's nothing smarter than a protection relay.”

The dream

Like Ensto, Arcteq has ambitious growth plans for the next five years. Its goal is to double its turnover to 20 million euros. It currently employs 45 and sees its size as a key advantage. “We’re more flexible, and this size allows us to offer better customer service,” says Arvola.

In addition to its headquarters and manufacturing operation in Vaasa, Finland, Arcteq has offices in the United States and Dubai, plus sales representatives in 50 countries. “Our dream when we started,” says Arvola, “was to see the Arcteq lights and logo in all major countries, to be a competitive alternative in selected segments to huge players like ABB and Siemens. We don’t plan to grow tenfold, but we do want to contribute in a meaningful way to making electricity distribution safer.”


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Protection relays and arc flash protection