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How and Why Find Root Causes of Electrical Failures in a Facility

Levi Zeigler February 03, 2018
  1. Have an open discussion with all departments about all electrical equipment issues not just equipment failures and any downtime associated with that equipment failure. Some other examples:
    1. Flickering lights
    2. LED displays missing partial digits
    3. Premature motor life
    4. Nuisance tripping of circuit breakers
    5. Problems during a lightning storm
    6. Excessive scrap from a CNC machine
    7. CNC and other computer-controlled equipment requiring frequent rebooting
  2. Have an open discussion with all departments regarding repair or maintenance cost from these electrical issues. Make sure all costs are discussed in this regard. Some examples:
    1. Length of downtime
    2. Cost of equipment
    3. Amount of personnel affected from downtime
    4. Amount of cost associated with getting back on schedule
    5. Cost of any outside sources
  3. Have an open discussion on exactly what methods are used when these electrical issues happen. Some examples:
    1.  Do what ever it takes to get back on line ASAP and forget it
      1. Repair equipment
      2. Replace equipment
      3. Restore equipment
    2. Get back on-line ASAP and discuss the root cause of the failure
      1. It this failure isolated to just this one piece of equipment
      2. Do similar problems randomly occur in other areas
      3. What can we do to eliminate these failures the root cause of these failures
      4. Do we have the manpower, knowledge and tools to find the root cause of these failures
    3.    Create a log and track all equipment failures. Make sure these items are included in the log.
      1. Date
      2. Weather
      3. Duration
      4. Number of people effected
      5. All cost involved including any overtime to make up production losses
      6. Keep in mind that if nothing is done to correct the problem that these losses will continue forever
  4. Do not point fingers or lay the blame on different departments for these failures. More than likely these failures have been going on at the facility forever. Some typical excuses for not finding the root causes of these failures.
    1. Not knowing where to start
    2. That’s not my decision to make
    3. No manpower to do dedicate
    4. No money
    5. No time
    6. What happens to me if we spend the time and money and not find the reason
  1. If in-house personnel are not available that seek out subject matter experts on power quality to locate the root causes of these electrical issues. 80% of all power quality issues are caused by the facility’s equipment and electrical wiring.

    Depending of the severity of the power quality issues at your facility the average losses during a 10-year period could be as low as 0.05% to a high of 6.0% of total income.

    For a 10-million-dollar company this means every year the possibility of $50,000 to $600,000 loss. This includes downtime from the electrical utility delivering power to the facility. Across the entire United States, the electrical utilities average time for delivering power to a facility is 99.5% of the time.

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