An Introduction to Bus Plugs

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For those of us who are not electricians, the products we sell are often a bit mysterious. What are these things and what do they do? Over the following months, we’ll do our best to give a general overview of each of our main product categories. Today, we’ll start with bus plugs – what they are, how they work, and what they are used for.


To understand the purpose of bus plugs, you have to first understand the difference in the ways buildings are powered. In most residential and commercial settings, power is distributed through hardwiring in the walls of the structure, connecting to all of the various electrical outlets in a room. In industrial settings, it’s not quite that simple.

By design, most industrial structures feature huge open floor plans designed to maximize the total square footage and to allow the freedom of layout for a wide array of uses. Think of a factory for instance. That factory will have various machinery scattered all around the facility, different areas of production and assembly. Since these environments are frequently far from any wall or permanent structure, just how do you get power to all of the machinery?


The answer lies in bus duct and bus plugs. We’ll cover bus duct later, but think of it as a big industrial extension cord. Sections of bus duct are connected together and can be run along the ceiling of the structure to all the areas needing power. But that’s only part of the equation for getting power to where it’s needed.

This is where the bus plug comes in. Bus plugs, as the name suggests are basically giant industrial electrical plugs, much like your standard everyday electrical plug found around the home. Each bus plug would connect to a particular section of busway overheard, and then feed that electricity down to whatever it is below that needs to be powered, from lighting systems to heavy equipment, whatever the case may be.


The great benefit of the busway and bus plug systems is their ease of flexibility. Since there is no physical hard wiring to the building, the entire system can be disconnected and rearranged to accommodate virtually any floor plan. As new equipment comes online or plant layouts shifted, there’s no question about how exactly power is going to be run to the new location.

We hope this has served to give a basic understanding of what exactly a bus plus is, how it works, and why it is used. If you’re looking for replacement bus plugs for your system, look no further! EMSCO stocks the largest selection of used and reconditioned bus plugs from all the major manufacturers (GE, Square D, and more) and from all vintages, from obsolete to modern systems. Simply browse our site or give us a call to find the model you need.

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Updated 2020