Electrical power systems are the cornerstone of nearly every industrial facility. When a component isn’t properly maintained, the risk of failure increases exponentially. These failures, depending on the system, have the potential to completely shut down production and even endanger lives. This can lead to massive downtime as electricians have to track the problem down and come up with a solution which may not be as cost effective as taking the proper precautions and avoiding these scenarios.
Kerry Heid, president and CEO of Shermco Industries Canada Inc, has plenty of experience in the electrical business as founder of Magna Electric Corp. (an electrical projects group) in Saskatoon. He has sat as president of NETA, the InterNational Electrical Testing Association, and the chair of Electrical Maintenance Standards of the Canadian Standards Association (CSA). He has said this about the current state of electrical maintenance, “Many plants don’t manage their electrical maintenance program as well as they should to guarantee workplace safety. They do a few things well but lack an extensive reliability program for their electrical power system assets. The problem with electrical equipment performance is not realizing the equipment has failed until it’s needed to respond to a system disturbance.” Electrical equipment failure generally goes unnoticed, in many cases factories are able to operate just as effectively as they did before the equipment failed. Equipment that sits idle for long periods of time can seize up due to lack of lubrication and exercise, a common example of this is the circuit breaker.
In order to bring awareness to this critical aspect of Industrial maintenance, Canada has put new standards for electrical system maintenance into place. These new standards will help management determine key elements of electrical safety and will clear up any confusion over what methods should be used to avoid critical failures and potential loss of live or injury. Other associations such as NETA are jumping on the trend and are developing their own standards for maintenance testing specifications. Recently, NETA has released a document containing 250 pages of test procedures, test values and test results for every component in the electrical system.
“CSA’s Z 463 standard establishes a comprehensive and properly executed electrical maintenance program. Best practices are keeping equipment clean and systems dry, ensuring connections are tight, and moving parts are properly lubricated, and safety of personnel must be the guiding factor.”(S. Gabauer, 2017)