In 1993, while working on a friction welder retrofit project at John Deere, Phil Allen was on the cusp of discovering the first of two new niches in the electrical safety business. The machine I/O was located in the front while the electrical panel - with a 250 horsepower drive and a 400 amp main feed - was inconveniently located at the rear of the machine. The only way to access the machine for maintenance was to open the doors, but the maintenance supervisor understood this caused a potential hazard. The supervisor insisted they "keep those doors closed!" He wanted them to put a PLC programming convenience interface or panel interface connector on the operator consol where "all the I/O were located."
The engineers at Grace decided to accept the challenge and responded with a panel interface connector that contained a printed circuit board and cable solution. They housed it in a NEMA 12/4 rated, rectangular connector enclosure and the customer loved it! The local distributor loved it! It became obvious that Grace should offer this solution to all their customers. Putting convenience interface inserts into standard rectangular enclosures (supplied by Harting USA) was a spectacular idea.
Over the next couple of years other variations of the original panel-mounted interface emerged, but were met with lackluster success. It became clear that even if Grace designed and stocked a thousand different varieties customers would require something different. Customers needed the exact connector, the exact cable, and the exact outlet configuration for their application - no more, no less.
Understanding this second piece of information gave Phil Allen the winning recipe. He put his resources in place to build convenience interfaces and panel interface connectors according the customers' precise specifications. The motto quickly emerged, "Any Cable, Any Connector, Any Combination!"
Sales increased while maintenance electricians started calling and saying they needed, "one of those Grace ports." Soon the product was officially named GracePort®.
Currently, Grace Engineered Products has designed and sold tens of thousands of GracePorts®. The number of uniquely designed components grows daily... there are an infinite number of possibilities. Remarkably, nearly all orders ship within 3-4 business days from receipt of the order, and Grace will put the customer's own logo on the interface for only $20 more.