Air and Vacuum Breaker Maintenance for Peak Reliability

     Modern air and vacuum circuit breakers are an integral part of all industrial and commercial electrical systems. Failure of just one of these breakers can have far reaching ramifications for both production and finances. Preventing these failures is the goal of any good maintenance program and consists of two basic layers:

1. Regular preventative mainteance (PM) programs not only add reliability to your system but can also point out potential problems so they can be proactively dealt with in a cost effective manner. Nobody wants "unscheduled" outages because a component has failed and as a result, damaged other equipment in the process and interrupted production. PM programs can be scheduled around production schedules (holidays, weekends, nights...) and include a basic clean and test work scope in which breakers are cleaned, lubed and tested for insulation and contact resistance, primary or secondary injection of the trip units. Frequency of these schedules is also dependent upon the ambient conditions that the switchgear and breakers are exposed to. There is a big difference between a paper mill and a hospital environment. This work may be able to be performed in the field, but it is best handled in the controlled conditions of a quality shop that specializes in this work.

2. Remanufacture and or retrofit offers significant life extension and reliability of your air and vacuum circuit breakers. It differentiates itself from a PM program in several ways. The primary difference is work scope. A remanufacturing program like NPE's "Class One" program includes a full disassembly and inspection of each individual component, right down to the last spring and washer. Once inspected, the components are cleaned and plated according to the components use. Current carrying parts are silver plated and mechanism parts are generally zinc plated, although there are a few minor exceptions like phosphate plating. Painted parts are stripped to the base metal, primed and painted, the wiring is replaced with fresh SIS wiring customized to the existing prints. Replacement parts are available from our inventory if used and aftermarket parts with little or no delays to the rebuild. Also, now is the time to replace solenoid coils and rewind motors as needed and upgrade low voltage breakers to a modern solid state overcurrent trip system like Utility Relay's AC Pro or AC Pro II. This type of work scope cannot be done in the field and typically involves shipping to a facility like NPE for a 4-6 week turnaround. Any good remanufacturing program will provide you with test reports indicating that the breaker is ready for service and a warranty. NPE is so confident in its rebuild program that it has extended the industry standard one year warranty to two years.

 

     

     Having an integral part of your infrastructure out of service for four to six weeks can be a major hurdle to overcome for many facilities. Ideally, a spare breaker should be on hand for each application and swapped out as needed for remanufacture and upgrade, but many facilities may not have adequate spares on hand. That is where a stocking distribultor like NPE can be a beneficial partner. NPE has the inventory to either provide spares for your swap out program or we can rebuild breakers out of our inventory and swap them for yours during the change out.

     Still not sure what to do? As someone once said, you always have three choices..."the right choice, the wrong choice and no choice; and the last two are the same thing", of the three options, which do you choose? If you choose the first one, give us a call or drop us an email, we'll be happy to discuss your issues and provide a long or short term solution. Otherwise, we'll probably be hearing from you after choice two or three kicks in!

NPE - The right choice, the right price, right now! 

 

 

 

Used Switchgear Market Growth Forecast

 

Traditionally, the used equipment industry and especially the market for used switchgear has been thought of as being counter recessionary. The common wisdom being, customers will spend money to maintain and upgrade old equipment rather than buy new to save money and to avoid the long lead times associated with purchasing and installing new switchgear.

Recent growth in manufacturing and our economy has changed this dynamic and now used switchgear, circuit breakers and parts have seen a surge in sales that looks to continue well into the future. We see the driving forces behind the growth as:

  • Increased demand for products pushes manufacturers to restart old production lines and push them to new limits.
  • Much of the switchgear that powers these lines are no longer supported by the original manufacturer because of the planned obsolescence. This creates increased demand for used and aftermarket solutions. NPE AFTERMARKET PARTS
  • Used and aftermarket solutions are typically 40-60% less expensive than purchasing new equipment, and they are available much faster and generally carry the same or better warranty as new. To add to this, the fact that personnel are already familiar with how this switchgear operates and you have a win-win scenario.
  • Increased cash flow from the economic upturn allows for maintenance and upgrades that had been previously deferred.
  • Regular maintenance and testing of switchgear and breakers will increase the life span of the equipment by decades. Older technology can be easily upgraded with options like arc flash protection, ground fault and communications. All these factors will reduce down-time and unscheduled outages.
  • For Field Service Specialist - servicing switchgear that has been obsoleted by the manufacturer will also serve as an opportunity for companies to provide other equipment and other services that field engineers can alert them to. Having your people in a plant, actively promoting your products is the best advertising you can get. 
  • Older switchgear can be repaired and upgraded to meet new demand. Many of the new products are sealed and unable to be repaired. As a result, repairs or upgrades that would cost a few hundred or few thousand dollars, and cannot be performed and users are forced to discard equipment and purchase new replacements for tens of thousands of dollars and potentially long lead times. 
  • Many customers are realizing that planned obsolescence will also render new installations of the latest whizz-bang technology obsolete, the same way their current equipment has been treated. Maintaining and upgrading current equipment just makes sense.

The bottom line is that just as a rising tide raises all boats, as the economy grows and thrives, so will the demand for used equipment dealers like National Power Equipment, where our motto is, "The right equipment, at the right price, right now!" Whether you are an end user, in the repair industry or a dealer, we strongly recommend you prepare for double digit growth in 2021 and the years that follow.

News from NPE's Product Improvement Center: General Electric Powervac

GENERAL ELECTRIC POWERVAC CELL SIDE SECONDARY MOUNTING KIT

OEM #: 0209B4052G002

 

Today in our spotlight, is the GE Powervac Cell Side Secondary Mounting Kit. When replacing the cell side secondary mounting block, the metal bracket that it's mounted to, often needs to be replaced at the same time because one of the mounting tabs has to bent out of the way. This can cause misalignment and even strength issues in the final product.

NPE has a solution for that with our secondary block assembly kit NPE P/N 100003494. The kit comes with a brand new zinc plated bracket, springs, clips and washers. The locking tab is prealigned to minimize the amount of stress applie to it during installation. 

 


 

Why go through the effort of scheduling an outage just to replace part of the assembly? Do it right the first time with our hardware kit, secondary and new pins (sold separately). We also sell the pin removal tool. 

Powervac Secondary Disconnects have become an itrem that is becoming more and more of a regular maintenance item. As mentioned in previous blogs, NPE has a solution for that with its fiber reinforced secondary block.

This part and all of NPE's New Aftermarket Parts are available online at https://www.npeinc.com/aftermarket-parts or through your normal purchasing channels. We have "The right part, at the right price, right now!" 

Part number used to reference original OEM's for identification purposes only. The are not manufactured, endorsed or warrantied by OEM.

 

"Don't Sweat the Small Stuff"

 "DON'T SWEAT THE SMALL STUFF"

We've all heard that saying, the problem is it's usually the small stuff that gets in the way of getting a job done. The truth is, the devil really is in the details. Small stuff and details are what NPE specializes in. Whether it's a small detail that keeps something from working, or those small parts that you just can't find when you need them, that's what we are here for.

Small details like why a breaker or part, from way back when, will or will not work even though they have the same nameplate data. Big details, like how to get a two thousand breaker to you by tomorrow and be sure it's going to fit and work properly. In the real world, when time matters, it either works or it doesn't, and if it doesn't - you're up the proverbial tributary.

Fortunately, we have a paddle! We have the knowledge and experience to get you through it. We've honestly been doing this longer than we care to admit!

Our solutions are big and small and just the right size for you! After all, they are only big problems if you don't have a solution. Give us a call, text, email or even a fax -we still have one of those, too! 

As we like to say...NPE for the right equipment, at the right price, right now!

 

                                          

 

 

                                                                 

AM Pin Crimp Connectors                               AM ML-13 Bushing Kit                         HK/K-Line/MB Horseshoe

                                                                                                                                                  Retainer

Making the Most of your Downtime

    While production has come to a halt due to COVID-19 shutdowns, the demand for most products has not. It's simply building up like a balloon that is ready to burst when we get the green light to return to work. Make the most of this downtime and take advantage of this great opportunity to do some unscheduled maintenance on your equipment.

     Many production lines shut down during the holidays when employees are not there. If your production has halted, now is a good time to call in contractors to test and provide preventative maintenance (PM). This will assure you that, when you are able to go back to work, everything will run flawlessly and you will be able to meet the pent-up demand that is building right now. In addition, many contractors are slow right now, so this a good time to negotiate lower labor rates!

     While NPE does not provide field service, we do work closely with contractors and maintenance departments nationwide and we stand ready to supply whatever is needed.

CUSTOMERS ALREADY KNOW NPE FOR:

 

                                                                

 

     After all, our motto is - The right equipment, at the right price, right now!

 

      (click for catalog)