The making of an innovation
The customer-oriented development of h3+
The making of an innovation
Simple and safe – the new h3+ circuit-breaker combines everything that is important in commercial construction today. The consistent Customer-oriented innovation is the result of more than six years of development work by an interdisciplinary team – and from the customer’s point of view, it is a real milestone.
Once all the project documentation has been cleared away, the teams have gone their separate ways, the production lines are up and running,... and after six intensive years of market research, development, project meetings, design studies, test cycles and preparation for production, we have a product that is one thing above all else: simple.
At first glance, the new solution from Hager Group is a circuit breaker that protects electrical installations in larger buildings from damage caused by power overloads and short circuits. Hager Group has been developing safety devices for almost 65 years, so this is part of the company’s core business. Yet everything was rather different this time around.
h3+, as the latest generation of circuit breakers is known, is a product range that is coherently designed, optimised and integrated into the product portfolio by effectively combining features that are important to installation engineers and users. Users include panel builders and installers, who view rapid installation and flexible configuration among the decisive factors. System integrators, facility managers and property owners also need products that they can integrate seamlessly into their energy management systems. The users of these properties, such as hotels, factories, hospitals, offices and similar buildings, require circuit breakers that protect facilities and occupants, while also ensuring that operation is uninterrupted and as efficient as possible. It is precisely these demands that the h3+ range meets.
Given the seemingly simple design, the development time of six years may come as a surprise. Yet we operate in the field of high-tech, where complexity reigns.
“A comprehensive, multifunctional solution of this nature that is simple to use has never been available at Hager on the market in this form before.” explains Laurent Likissas, product manager at Hager Group.
In order to develop a solution of this kind, it was essential to bring together a wide variety of technical disciplines. Market researchers, designers, mechanical, electronical & software engineers, production planners and many other experts had to work together on the details in order to precisely map customer demands. Over a period of more than six years from the first market research to the product launch, dozens of specialists from the most diverse departments and countries of Hager Group were involved in the development of h3+. It is thanks to their teamwork that the latest generation of circuit breakers is able to successfully respond to a wide variety of important questions in entirely new ways.
Modular circuit breaker
Modular control command
Moulded case circuit breaker
A comprehensive, multifunctional solution of this nature that is simple to use has never been available at Hager on the market in this form before.
In terms of performance
The larger the building, the greater its energy needs and the more demands are made on its circuit breakers. The new h3+ circuit breakers reach a breaking capacity of up to 110 kA, so are more than equipped to meet this need. This increases the availability of facilities without affecting operational safety.
In terms of configuration
With the configuration tool developed in house, h3+ energy circuit breakers fitted with an electronic trip unit can be conveniently configured via a PC, tablet or smartphone. Thanks to a built-in web server, there is no need to install any special software. In terms of practical details: The h3+ configuration tool has a magnet integrated into the back of the housing. This enables the installation engineer to conveniently attach the device to the cabinet door and have both hands free for configuration.
In terms of design
“Given the seemingly simple design of h3+, the development time of six years may come as a surprise,” says Daniel Spoenemann from the Hager Design Studio. “Yet we operate in the field of high-tech, where complexity reigns.” Seemingly trivial decisions on things like the contours of the moulded case circuit breaker housing have far-reaching implications for the construction of the device. By introducing what the team calls an ‘inclined plane’ on the front of h3+, the design team opted for a characteristic new form that will soon become representative of Hager’s custom solutions. At the same time, the design team and engineers were able to combine the comprehensive functionality and features of the circuit breaker into the most compact product on the market today.
The bottom line is that h3+ carries the circuit breaker into the era of intelligent building communications.
In terms of energy efficiency
The h3+ moulded case circuit breaker can be used as a multifunctional measuring device and connected to energy monitoring systems such as the data logger and server called agardio.manager. By doing so, retrieving all information from h3+ is possible both on site and remotely. How energy efficient is my property? What is the power consumption of my building and its facilities at any given time? Thanks to h3+, building operators and facility managers have this information at their fingertips around the clock.
In terms of reliability
“The worst that can happen to an operator of a commercial property such as a bakery, retirement home or hotel, is a complete loss of power,” says Laurent. “For this reason, we have equipped h3+ with a preventive alarm functionality to alert the operator in good time, before a power outage happens, a feature that can potentially save money and also prevent operational downtime.”
In short, the many monitoring, communications and measuring features of h3+ bring the moulded case circuit breaker into the age of the smart building. “This was only made possible as colleagues from a variety of disciplines were able to work together seamlessly on this extremely complex project,” explains Laurent. In total, the h3+ range comprises more than 2,000 models and countless additional accessories to meet the most diverse customer demands and needs. At the same time, the solution is simple for panel builders to mount, easy for installers to configure and straightforward for the user to operate. All things considered, the grey plastic housing that appears to contain a simple product at first glance is nothing short of ground breaking in terms of technology and customer focus. And all the signs suggest that our customers are in agreement. When the first h3+ components were introduced on the French market in autumn 2018, it was as if users had been waiting for a product like h3+ from Hager: sales performance since the initial market launch has been extremely positive.
Erwin van Handenhoven
is the Design Director of Hager Group since 2013. Together with his design team, he is responsible for the emotional and functional characteristics of our products and solutions and thus also for the DNA of our brands. Before joining Hager Group, Erwin ran an international design agency and taught design at various universities.
has been working for Hager Group for 14 years and has spent a good part of this time on the h3+ project. Originally a product manager for modular control command devices, he now leads a four-person product marketing team that markets protection solutions for the commercial segment.
h3+ in figures
25 to 630A
Moulded case circuit breaker ranging from 25A to 630A with fully integrated trip units and communications functions
Compliant with the
1 design philosophy
for the entire h3+ ecosystem
in the portfolio for all markets