SEAM Group Achieves Asset Reliability through Preventative Maintenance Programs
Low voltage switchboards (600V) begin their natural process of deterioration as soon as the circuit breakers are installed. If unchecked, this deterioration can cause malfunctions or failures that a properly designed electrical preventative maintenance and testing program can identify, providing a means for correction.
A well planned Low Voltage Switchboard Preventive Maintenance (LVPM) Program can minimize unwanted incidents, reduce unplanned shutdowns and lengthen the mean time between failure (MTFB) of electrical equipment. In order to assure electrical distribution system reliability, the overcurrent protective devices must function properly during overcurrent conditions throughout the life of the system. Without a well designed LVPM program in place, the operating and interrupting capability protecting system components may be compromised as well as the electrical safety of the system.
A ticking time bomb scenario is created when installing electrical distribution systems with circuit breakers while ignoring the required testing and maintenance. Low-voltage circuit breakers operating at 600 volts alternating current and below should be inspected and maintained every 1 to 3 years depending on their criticality, service and operating conditions. Variable conditions impacting the frequency of an LVPM program include:
High humidity and high ambient conditions
Dusty or dirty atmosphere
Frequent switching operations
Frequent fault operations
In addition to our own experience and recommendations, several standards and manufacturers’ recommendations exist that detail the requirements for maintenance and testing of circuit breakers. These standards include the "International Electrical Testing Association (NETA) guidelines", NFPA 70B – "Recommended Practice for Electrical Equipment Maintenance" and NEMA AB4 – "Guidelines for Inspection and Preventative Maintenance of Molded Case Circuit Breakers used in Commercial and Industrial Applications". These nationally recognized standards recommend periodic maintenance and testing of circuit breakers.
Air circuit breaker problems are the cause of nearly 20% of electrical power system failures, according to a survey conducted by the Hartford Insurance Company. Test results on circuit breakers show greater than 15% circuit breaker failure rates. These failures cause property damage, personal injury, not to mention lost revenues from unscheduled downtime. The only way to verify if a circuit breaker will operate properly under fault or overload conditions is by testing, preferably through a primary injection test (per NEMA Standard AB4).
During your next planned outage, consider SEAM Group's team of professionals as your switchgear and substation maintenance partner to prevent potential dangerous faults on this critical equipment. When properly de-energized and isolated, Predictive Service offers a detailed inspection and testing of your low voltage (600V) bus and cable systems.
Our services include a pre-outage electrical infrared inspection of your entire system to identify issues in which our team can address or repair during the planned shutdown. Once the outage has commenced, our LVPM services includes; cleaning of all conductors and connections, lubricating all movable parts contained in or on the switchboard, exercising all mechanical and active components, testing to ensure proper ground isolation and insulation resistance, inspections for signs of overheating or weak spots in the insulation, and proper re-torque of bolted connections with a calibrated torque wrench, when infrared inspections cannot be conducted. Performing current injection tests of trip devices and visual inspections of each mechanism enables our techs to locate potential failures before a circuit breaker needs to perform a critical action.
Our comprehensive service offerings ensures that SEAM Group can satisfy all of your power maintenance needs.