Quality Switch to Build $1M Voltage Testing Center

NEWTON FALLS, Ohio — Quality Switch Inc. intends to break ground on a new high-voltage testing and research center that company principals say will help expand its product line and improve its competiveness in the international market.

“We’re being pressured to broaden our product scope,” says Larry Dix, Quality Switch president. “To do that requires more testing.”

A groundbreaking ceremony is scheduled for Aug. 4 at 10 a.m.

Quality Switch manufactures switches used in electrical transformers and on utility power grids, industrial power supplies, and in specialized applications. Its switches range from 100 to 3,000 amperes, and voltages from 600 to 345,000 volts depending on the use.

The new testing facility, to be named The Horace H. Sewell High Voltage Testing & Research Center, will consist of a 50-foot high bay that will house new equipment, including a lighting impulse generator rated at 1.2 million volts. The equipment simulates a lighting strike.

And, the center will house a high potential transformer rated at 700,000 volts that would allow the company to possess research and testing capabilities that few other companies have, the company president says.

“Typically, we’d have to find a lab to test this, which bogs things down,” Dix says. “If the tests don’t meet your expectations, then you’ve got to go out and do it again, which takes time. A lot of these labs are booked well in advance.”

The new lab, to named for the company’s founder, Horace Sewell, would give Quality Switch a much faster response time to its customers, Dix says. “If we get an idea, we can get the results quickly.”

Work on the building should be finished by the end of the year, and the first major piece of equipment should be moved in once construction is completed. A second piece of equipment should come in early 2016. “We can start testing during the first quarter of next year,” Dix says.

The project is expected to cost upwards of $1 million.

Quality Switch, a family-owned business that traces its roots to 1952, has emerged as a major supplier in the global market. This year, the company was the recipient of the Presidential “E” Award for growth in export sales.

About 40% of the company’s clients are outside the United States, a market that continues to grow. Quality Switch does business in Canada, Mexico, Australia and South Korea, and is pursuing opportunities in Colombia and Brazil. The company employs about 35.

In order to expand into the global market, Quality Switch is required to perform broader and more extensive testing on its designs and products, which is the purpose for the new lab.

“This new center will give us capabilities that just a handful of companies have worldwide,” Dix says.

Pictured: Workers at Quality Switch in Newton Falls, Ohio, manufacture switches used in electrical transformers.

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