WHEN FINLEY LEDBETTER founded CBS ArcSafe in 2008, he’d already spent a few decades saving the world from arc-flash dangers. Ledbetter, CEO and chief scientist of Group CBS, began designing his first remote racking solution in the 1980s at the request of a longtime customer. As part of his research and development, Ledbetter looked at arc-flash incident reports from around the U.S. He saw the need for remote racking across all industrial segments, not just at electrical field service companies and utilities.
Ledbetter started with the most common rotary-style switchgear and then expanded into the extractor style. “As time went on, our customers’ customers saw remote racking units and asked where they could get one,” recalls Greg Davis, manager of customer support and international sales. “Some were sold off the back of the service person’s truck at the end of a job. I know because I talked with a field service customer who did exactly that.”
Ledbetter selected his daughter, Ashley, to manage CBS ArcSafe. Prior to joining the company, where she serves as president, the younger Ledbetter worked as a certified paramedic. “You could say that people’s health and safety have always been part of my DNA, especially when you consider that our main goal at ArcSafe is to prevent arc-flash injury,” she says. “Having grown up in the electrical equipment business, I’ve seen the numerous innovative ways my father has helped customers meet their needs.”
Davis, who joined CBS ArcSafe in early 2009 as a field service representative, can attest to Finley Ledbetter’s creativity. “Whenever I returned to the shop, I’d tell Finley what the customer needed,” Davis says. “Then I would come back from the road and find out that Finley had engineered the solution to match the customer’s specific remote racking needs, along with a couple of improvements.”
Today, as CBS ArcSafe celebrates its 10th anniversary, the company manufactures approximately 1,000 products that work with some 600 types of breakers, switches, and other electrical equipment. It also develops dozens of new products each year. “Ten years later, we still get phone calls and emails on a regular basis asking for a remote racking, extraction, or switching solution for a new switchgear lineup or hard-to-find breaker,” Davis says.
In the past decade, CBS ArcSafe solutions have won 12 product of the year awards from a variety of industry publications. “CBS ArcSafe’s diverse, award-winning product range and superior equipment training services have positioned us as the electrical industry’s leader for remote racking and remote switching solutions,” says Ashley Ledbetter. “Our reach is increasingly global and varied as well, from offshore support vessels in the Middle East to mining operations in the Arctic Circle.”
The recent acquisition of MarTek Limited, manufacturer of the Chicken Switch remote switch/breaker operator, further strengthens ArcSafe’s commitment to electrical safety. And on-site demos show customers firsthand how CBS ArcSafe protects technicians from arc-flash danger when they are installing and removing breakers.
“None of these achievements would have been possible without Finley’s ingenuity and the incredibly talented team we’ve built since 2008,” Ashley Ledbetter says. “Our engineers, sales personnel, and support staff are all driven to develop arc-flash mitigation equipment using the latest technology and highest-quality components because at the end of the day, we want everyone to return home safely to their families.”