In some ways, the electric motor of 50 years ago was just like the original motor invented by General Electric for the first AC power station just up the valley from our facility. And it remains much the same since then, except for how we control motors. In the 1990’s, new computerized control systems gave us options on how we start, shut down, and change the speed of motors for specific uses.
In 1963, at the corner of Forth and N streets, we worked outside much of the time and repaired motors that ranged all the way back to the early days of the industry. At first it was a job for each of us, then a way to pay for college, and graduate school. Despite advanced degrees in mathematics, we ended up staying put in the family business. In 1971 the family built a new building in our current location.
Wallace and Zora Brithinee founded the company in 1963. We grew enough to purchase a parcel at 620 South Rancho Avenue in 1971 and constructed a new motor repair and sales facility there. The facility then measured 12,378 square feet on one acre. The building was expanded in 1978 to 19,178 square feet.
In 1992, Brithinee Electric expanded its motor sales and motor control operations at an additional facility acquired that year. This building added 14,500 square feet at 680 South Rancho Avenue to the operation. Housed in the new building was a large new motor inventory, and the new motor controls department. The computer chip had begun to impact the old electro-mechanical motor operation, and we began to build these new computerized controllers to increase efficiency and lower wear and tear on large motors.
Fifty years of Brithinee Quality
Our relentless pursuit of the perfect re-wind lead us to special partnerships with DuPont’s Advanced Fiber Systems’ through the first special marketing partnership in 2003. We found through over 20 years of use and testing that DuPont’s NOMEX insulation was more durable in tough operating environments. We made NOMEX our only insulator. Simultaneously, we began to test wire for toughness, flexibility, and electrical integrity over many years of use. This evolved to a special Quad-Build wire made by Essex. Large quantity orders required a large commitment, which we happily did because of the additional life added to the repaired motor. Adding specific high quality bearings and only the best resins, we created the four-step Brithinee Winding that today has a near zero failure rate when used together. All windings have left the shop with every critical component of the Brithinee Winding for some twenty years now. We are still waiting for our first failure.
New Facilities and Developments
While initial building plans began in 2004, actual construction for a major new addition waited until 2009 to add 19,910 square feet of premium workspace, for a total of 62,588 square feet.
– Mechanical engineer Bill Butek joined the staff in October 2003 to help innovate productivity improvements in the machines and fixtures for the motor remanufacturing process, as well as the controls department metal-working equipment.
2005 – Brithinee Electric began a relationship with UC Riverside’s Bourns College of Engineering, and, more specifically, with the Department of Mechanical Engineering. Our work was primarily with Professor V. Sundararajan and then-graduate student, Dr. Xin Xue (“Crystal”), who worked on wireless sensor technology for evaluating machinery condition. We also worked closely with senior undergraduate teams on their senior projects. Eventually, Wallace Brithinee joined the Board of Advisors for that department. In September of 2009, Dr. Xin Xue joined the firm to continue earlier wireless sensor research, plus partial discharge inception voltage testing.