Turning off your power can be a great way to shine a spotlight on the health of your electrical equipment. National Field Services recently conducted large-scale testing during a planned outage at a major manufacturer in Arkansas. The process underlined the value of regular planned outages to identify and address issues. After all, it’s much better to have a planned outage – when you can schedule downtime that’s least interruptive to your operations – than it is to have an unplanned one due to a potentially catastrophic electrical equipment failure.
A Big Job
At one of its southern facilities, a major manufacturer of consumer products turned to us to handle electrical testing during a planned outage at the plant. It was a large-scale operation, lasting three full days with a crew of more than 50 technicians. Equipment tested included 15kv and 480V circuit breakers, oil-filled transformers and 15kV disconnect switches.
A Premium on Planning
Though the testing took place over three days, we carefully planned the job months in advance. Our senior technicians visited the plant weeks ahead of the operation to become familiar with the environment and all the equipment that would be tested. The project was managed by one of our NETA Level IV certified technicians, Operations Manager Eric Beckman.
Supplying the Manpower & Expertise
We mobilized a team of NETA-certified technicians from our Dallas-area headquarters and worked with a local electrical contractor partner with experience in the end customer’s industry for additional manpower. Multiple teams, each led by an expert NFS technician, conducted the extensive testing.
Completing a large-scale job on time and with the highest level of expertise is a challenge we are used to meeting. We understand no company wants an outage to last any longer than absolutely necessary. Unique challenges to this environment included addressing the results of chemicals present near the electrical equipment and operating safely and effectively in an atmosphere occupied by numerous other contractors – the outage was not exclusively to enable our electrical equipment testing, but for other, unrelated operations, as well. Due to expansion over decades in operation, another challenge was posed by the presence of numerous substations located in different parts of the plant.
Our testing revealed numerous issues. Much of the equipment was 40 to 50 years old and had not been tested in an outage situation for three years. Our efforts included repairing circuit breakers on site and replacing circuit breakers that did not function with spares our client had in reserve. We completed the testing on time and delivered a report within 30 days detailing all our findings and recommendations. The manufacturer was extremely satisfied with our work, commenting that it had not received such a high level of testing expertise in previous outages.
Time for an Outage?
It’s extremely important – for the safety of your people and the health of your enterprise – to know your electrical equipment will function as designed. A planned outage allows for the most thorough testing. To discuss outage testing at your facility, contact NFS today.
Return to Summer 2014 Field Notes