What are breakers?
Air Circuit Breakers (ACBs) are electrical devices used to provide overcurrent and short-circuit protection for electrical circuits. They open and close a three-phase circuit, either manually or automatically. During a fault, the circuit breaker automatically opens. Faults can be of various types, including under or over voltage, under or over frequency, short circuit, reverse power, earth fault, etc. The main feature of an air circuit breaker is that it dampens or quenches the arcing during overloading.
Why is the maintenance of breakers important?
Maintenance of your air breakers is important because it ensures that the breakers continue to support your critical loads and safely operate when required. Routinely conducted and properly executed maintenance by our technicians at IPE Canada can do the following:
- Extend the operating life of the breaker
- Catch potential issues before they cause failure
- Confirm proper functionality of the breaker’s trip relay, which captures faults and initiates the breaker’s automatic opening function
What are transformers?
Transformers are electrical devices consisting of two or more insulated windings and a common iron core. Transformers are used to economically increase or decrease alternating current (AC) or voltage from one level to another.
Why is the maintenance of transformers important?
Electrical transformers are expensive and vital parts of your machinery, and although they do not contain any moving parts which require intensive attention, they do require regular maintenance. Optimal performance can be achieved, and the lifespan of your transformer can be increased by conducting regular maintenance. The maintenance frequency of the transformer depends on the transformer’s condition, environment, and application. Regular maintenance can capture or prevent the following:
- Airflow restrictions due to dirt accumulation
- Loose connections
- Voltage creeping
What are substations?
A substation is a part of a system responsible for electrical generation, transmission, and distribution. The main purpose of a substation is to “step down” or decrease high voltage electricity from the transmission system to lower voltage electricity — this way, the electricity can be easily supplied to homes and businesses through distribution lines. Since substations are considered high-voltage systems, there are chances of corona discharge occurring. Corona discharge refers to an electrical discharge that results from the ionization of the air surrounding a conductor that is electrically charged. The corona discharge effect can occur spontaneously in these high-voltage systems unless the electrical field strength is monitored and limited.
Why is the maintenance of substations important?
Electrical substation maintenance involves regularly scheduled inspections, testing, and troubleshooting to ensure that all components are functioning and interacting correctly. Electrical substation maintenance, if planned and executed correctly, is essential for the:
- Reliable supply of power
- Early detection and the overall reduction of potential power failures
- Reduced risk of downtime and prevention of future problems
- Saving time and money required in the future to manage power failures
What are protective relays?
Protective relays are considered a key part of the electrical distribution and are continually monitoring the power system to detect unwanted conditions and correct them before it results in damage. Relays can be classified as:
- Protective relays
- Auxiliary (slave) relays
- Programming relays
- Verification relays
- Monitoring relays
Why is the maintenance of protective relays important?
Protective relays are essential decision-making elements that monitor circuit conditions and initiate protective action if required. A strong maintenance and testing program will ensure that the protective relay system:
- Is always in a state of readiness
- It will correctly respond when faced with normal and abnormal conditions
- It will help you avoid damage to your equipment and injury to employees
- Avoid prolonged downtime
What are retrofits?
Protective relays are considered the main part of the breaker. They constantly monitor the power system to detect unwanted conditions that can damage equipment damage, injury, or loss of life. As with all equipment, protective relays have a life expectancy where their components are no longer supported by the manufacturer or become old and obsolete. Equipment failure, in any of these circumstances, can result in extended downtime due to lack of access to parts, or equipment damage, and personnel injury due to malfunction. For these situations, we offer retrofit solutions that remove the old, obsolete, or failed relay and replace it with new, up to date relays which often have additional capabilities, such as the ones listed below:
- Monitoring/graphical user interface
- Event logs
- Sluggish breaker detection
- Arc flash reduction
Supported Breaker Brands:
- Square D
- Merlin Gerin
POWER SYSTEM GROUNDING TESTING
Power system grounding is a safety measure that intentionally connects an electrical device to the ground through a noncurrent carrying metal parts of the wiring system or equipment connected to the system. By making this connection, excess electricity is directed away from the individual operating the device, towards the ground. Grounding serves some critical purposes, including:
- Protecting individuals who come in contact with electrical devices from receiving electrical shocks
- Protecting against leaked electricity from malfunctioning devices that could cause fires if the electricity is not redirected safely and appropriately
- A good grounding path, with low impedance, can help clear faults in the electrical path quickly so as not to threaten the stability of the system
- Improving the efficiency and preventing damage to the device or system by directing the “electrical noise” towards the ground
Proper grounding requires the grounding system to maintain very low resistance values which we test through the methods listed below:
- Two-point testing
- Three-point testing
- Four-point testing
- Fall-of-potential testing
- Touch potential testing
- Clamp-on testing
- Ratio testing
COMMISSIONING AND START-UP
Commissioning refers to a systematic process that involves the testing and verification of a piece of equipment, a system, or a facility to determine its functions according to its intended design and the owner’s operational requirements. Commissioning on-site electrical systems has become more common because of the need for increased electrical system reliability and complexity. There are many benefits to commissioning, including:
- Decreasing the chances of downtime within the electrical system, resulting from power outages due to failure and/or utility loss
- Increasing confidence that the electrical system will operate correctly and according to the operational needs of the owner
- Ensuring that electrical systems remain coordinated, reliable, able to protect, and meet all the updated codes and standards of the facility
Commissioning is to be carried out on all installations to ensure that they are safe and meet all of the design requirements.
In order to maximize the commissioning’s success, it must be incorporated into each stage of the project, starting from pre-design, until the final verification at the very end of the project. IPE Canada’s commissioning at each phase of the project aims to achieve different goals, including:
- The owner’s requirements and expectations for the facility are clearly defined
- The design objectives and operational intent of the facility are understood
- The commissioning scope and budget for the project are determined
- The commissioning plan is developed, and the role of the commissioning agent is defined.
- The owner’s requirements defined in the pre-design phase are then translated into construction documentation
- The procedures involved in the commissioning process, the acceptance criteria, the contractor’s and the manufacturer’s expectations are identified and outlined.
- The construction phase involves the manufacturing, inspection, testing, and installation of the system, as defined by the construction documentation
- Revisions of the shop drawings are completed to ensure that the manufacturers are supplying the appropriate equipment and the system meets the intended design criteria
- The functional operation of the equipment is also tested to determine the proper functionality by the design team and the commissioning agent before it’s transported on-site
- Finalization of the on-site commissioning plan is done.
- All equipment which has been installed is now tested to ensure that it performs according to the design’s intent and the owner’s operation requirements
- The first commissioning tests each piece of equipment individually to ensure that each piece functions properly before the system is tested as a whole
- Once every piece of equipment has been tested successfully, the equipment will be tested as discrete systems
- The final step of the verification process involves an integrated system test in which the facility as a whole is tested.
The answer is yes. Commissioning, although it may appear like a lengthy and expensive process, is, in fact, a comprehensive inspection, testing, and verification process. A commissioning agent is responsible for testing all equipment and system functionality, starting from the pre-design phase through to operation. It ensures the proper functioning of all equipment according to the owner’s operational requirements. Commissioning is a cost-effective procedure because it allows any faults in the equipment or system as a whole to be detected and corrected before project finalization, which saves money and time needed in the future to correct faults once the operation has begun.