Compliance, safety, reliability, productivity, and more are all key to running an effcient electrical facility. If equipment is not in compliance with
industry standards, it could cost businesses signifcantly, both in terms of revenue and reputation. For
example, if equipment isn’t consistently monitored and
maintained, it could cost a business more than $27
billion each year during a power outage, according to
a recent E Source report.
When it comes to modern plant management, there
are a number of things to consider. Risk assessments,
equipment modernization and data analysis are a few
ways that facility managers and staff can ensure their
facilities are operating in tip top shape. Here’s how to
ensure you are monitoring your equipment for effective
plant management and that you’re maintaining and
modernizing equipment as needed.
1. Planning the risk assessment
There’s more that goes into a risk assessment than
walking the facility floor and finding what equipment
needs servicing or replacement. One of the first steps
a facility manager takes is identifying an experienced,
professional electrical engineer that is familiar with a
number of electrical distribution systems and compliance
codes and standards. In addition to identifying these engineers, facility managers should make the assessment
process simple and safe by clearing debris and giving
engineers access to equipment to make the assessment
as seamless as possible.
2. Conduct a risk assessment
The assessment itself will differ depending on the
equipment being inspected. Power class transformers,
distribution class transformers, service equipment, new
installations and more will have different considerations
for the engineers to look over.
To perform the most accurate assessment, engineers
should have the most recent one-line diagram demonstrating where to begin the assessment process. They should
also familiarize themselves with the physical location of
significant electrical equipment.
Additionally, they need a basic understanding the
normal electrical operations characteristics, building
construction and layout, and equipment limits as well as
electrical codes and compliance standards.
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3. Incorporating data-enabled technology
management tips to optimize electrical plants.
Most of today’s technology is centered around a critical
element: data. Data can indicate where certain equipment may cause a power disruption, having an effect on
a facility’s reliability.
In today’s facilities, electrical equipment can come
equipped with technology that offers communication and
power monitoring capabilities connected through the Io T.
Depending on where the equipment sits within the full
electrical system, it may benefit from having thermal sensors, partial discharge monitoring, humidity monitoring or
other services built in to alert facility managers and staff to
what may need servicing or upgrading. These capabilities
allow for remote monitoring that enables customers to
plan for maintenance and avoid safety related issues or
material degradation, and can even enhance the reliability
of aging equipment.
4. Upgrade with direct replacements
A direct replacement modernization solution is one of
several effective measures that can be taken to make
electrical systems more current. These upgrade solutions
work with both low and medium voltage circuit breakers and
are designed to fit into the existing equipment with little
to no modification to the switchgear itself.
Direct replacements are an ideal modernization solution
because it requires very little downtime on the equipment
bus during the installation process, allowing business to
continue as usual. In addition, they meet compliance as
all direct replacements are designed and tested to meet
or exceed IEEE/ANSI C37.59 standards.
5. Upgrade with retrofills
Retrofills are another option when direct replacement
breakers are not able to fit existing switchgear cells and
can be modified to accept the new circuit breaker. Unlike
using a direct replacement, installing a retrofill would require
a longer bus outage.
With retrofill solutions, the internal circuit breaker cells
need to be modified to accept the new circuit breaker. Retrofills are commonly used instead of direct replacements
for larger devices.
Gabriel Arce is the Consulting & Modernization Offer Manager,
Field Services, for Schneider Electric.