One step to a better maintenance plan

Before adopting a proactive maintenance culture, conduct an electrical system analysis


Transitioning from a reactive “fix only what is broken” culture to creating a proactive routine preventive maintenance model is a long but sound business process. Before any maintenance program is initiated or contracted, it is strongly recommended that the facility’s management contract and commission the services of a licensed professional electrical engineer to perform short circuit analyses, a time/current coordination study, and an arc flash analysis, of the entire electrical power distribution system.


These studies will ensure that the existing electrical equipment is properly rated, set and labeled. There is wasted value in spending limited maintenance budget and resources to clean, maintain, and service electrical equipment that is later determined as needing to be replaced or removed from service.


In some circumstances, a Power System Risk Assessment is recommended prior to beginning a preventive maintenance program. The Risk Assessment can reveal safety concerns, poorly maintained equipment, as well as the negative affects of harsh environmental conditions as elevated temperature, moisture, dirt, polarized dust and other contaminates on electrical equipment.


A risk assessment provides valuable information concerning the “present state” of an electrical power distribution system and its associated equipment, its functionality, and reliability relative to the present needs of a facility’s operations. (Note: Business functions and operations change much faster than power distribution systems. A 20th century power distribution system might be inadequate to the needs and requirements of 21st century sensitive electronic loads.)


A key feature of a Power System Risk Assessment is the Hazard Vulnerability Analysis, which prioritizes the recommended corrective actions based upon safety and the criticality of a facility’s operations. A Power System Risk Assessment facilitates the development of a proposed maintenance schedule specific to a facility’s power distribution system. In addition, cost estimates are provided to help management develop a budget to carry-out the maintenance activities.




Fran Waterers full article on ‘Mintnance Contrats Can Improve Reliability, Safety' is one of the topics in Plant Engineering’s Forecast issue, which will be published in mid-February. To receive the digital edition of Plant Engineering in time for the Forecast issue, which also will feature the 2011 Plant Engineering Salary Survey, click here:

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