Cutsforth, Inc.

Using Data for Reliable Power Generation 

IoT, data and sensors take the guesswork out of generator brush health and maintenance

IoT Meets the Power Plant

Cutsforth™ Inc. makes aftermarket brush holders for generators and exciters. Carbon brushes provide essential electrical contact and current to the generator, and worn-down brushes pose a danger if not replaced in time. Cutsforth serves some of the world’s largest power companies. Its flagship “EasyChange Brush Holder®” product enables the replacement of worn consumable carbon brushes simultaneously while a generator is running.  

Cutsforth saw an opportunity to go further, bringing predictive maintenance services to its clients and sought unique expertise in IoT to help invent an ultra-low power measurement sensor, design a wireless system to aggregate the information from hundreds of sensors across a plant and generate real-time automated maintenance alerts. They needed a team under one roof. They needed a global team of experienced disruption experts spanning business strategy, experience and design, sensing and wireless engineering and data analytics. 

Our project required quite a few things...mechanical, wireless, software for interaction, and ultra-low power working with this team, we found all of the disciplines we needed in one outfit.

Rob Cutsforth, CEO, Cutsforth, Inc.

  • New boss at the power plant: data

    Project highlights

  • Challenge

    Saying no to complexity

    Brush replacement involved intricate inspection to assess key features which, if missed, could lead to fires, offline generators or slowed electricity flow. This meant locating and inspecting as many as 200+ brushes per generator.   

  • Solution

    Engineering that solves

    Our experts invented a novel sensor that understands and communicates details like brush length, in real time, to a custom hub, alerting when brushes need to be changed. Now, there’s no longer a need for manual inspections. Setting sights on sensors The sensor measures many other data points of the generator’s operation, alerting users to out-of-range parameters. This helps teams manage generator performance and address issues before they become catastrophic.

  • Outcomes

    Near and long-term benefits

    Today, Cutsforth’s customers can remotely monitor brush and generator health, enabling maintenance teams to proactively manage service and resource needs.  

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We worked with Cutsforth to develop a sensor to monitor the condition of carbon brushes. 

Our partnership with Cutsforth has resulted in the installation of over 40,000 brush holder sensors on generators across North America.

A result of our partnership with Cutsforth: brush maintenance is performed based on brush condition, instead of dates.

We worked with Cutsforth to deliver a remotely-monitored brush health platform that can help scale across additional generator sizes and facilities.

We helped the experts solve one of the most problematic maintenance issues: brush excitation maintenance.

We helped the experts solve one of the most problematic maintenance issues: brush excitation maintenance.

Cutsforth’s wireless brush health sensor resulted from our partnership. 

Breakthroughs start small

Now, power generation facilities using the Cutsforth system are modernizing their operations, achieving operational excellence and providing more reliable and consistent power to customers’ demand for the energy needed to support their modern lifestyles.   

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