When electrical equipment is put into service for the first time, it is a unique experience for the equipment. To avoid costly downtime, it is necessary to ensure that components and systems are ready to get to work. Electrical acceptance testing is designed to test equipment in conditions that closely resemble actual processes. The goal is to reduce the possibility of failure and ensure workers are safe and protected.
What is Acceptance & Maintenance Testing?
Acceptance testing is performed immediately after construction and before the owner accepts the system as a whole. Electrical acceptance testing, adjustments, and calibration are necessary to ensure that new equipment meets all required specifications and quality standards before it is energized.
The first time any newly installed system is energized, many potential problems may arise. Some problems may include installation errors, improper wiring methods, or manufacturing defects in the materials used in the project. Some of these manufacturing defects are not noticeable to the naked eye and remain undetected until it poses a problem to the system.
Acceptance testing also provides an important record of baseline data for future maintenance. Many equipment manufacturers will require evidence of successful acceptance testing to validate their warranties. Plus, some insurance companies may also require electrical acceptance testing for liability purposes.
Why is Maintenance Testing Important?
Maintenance testing is performed at regular intervals after a system has been online and in production. To achieve a long working life from your equipment, a preventive maintenance program that includes regular testing, inspection, and corrective service is necessary. By uncovering problems before they result in shutdowns, manufacturers can minimize costly interruptions.
Routine maintenance and inspections will also help identify weak spots in the system and help manufacturers plan for the eventual retirement of aging structures. Lastly, regular preventive maintenance practices can correct mechanical and control problems, incorrect settings, and other areas that will improve the system’s reliability and productivity.
Who is NETA?
The InterNational Testing Association (NETA) is an association of electrical testing companies. Their goal is to ensure the highest levels of electrical reliability and safety. NETA provides accreditation for third-party electrical testing firms, certification for testing technicians, and more.
Along with establishing guidelines for testing technicians to follow, NETA also provides standards that manufacturers can follow when literature is not available. Because they are an independent organization and their board consists of volunteers, they remain unbiased toward either customers or manufacturers. NETA exists to ensure that equipment is safe and functional and that technicians are adequately trained to make the industry better for everyone.
NETA Test Standards
NETA standards are developed separately from other standards such as the IEEE, NECA, and UL, but will reference these standards when applicable. In 2017, the American National Standards Institute approved NETA’s Acceptance Testing Specifications for Electrical Power Equipment and Systems as an American National Standard.
NETA Accredited Acceptance Testing.
Required for all installations, acceptance testing is completed before commissioning to confirm that the system is installed according to the engineering design. Both the equipment and the overall system must demonstrate readiness for commissioning and energizing. Technicians will look for problems such as equipment defects, damage that may have occurred during shipping, and improper installation.
NETA Accredited Maintenance Testing.
For existing infrastructure, NETA mandates maintenance testing every three years, and recommends this testing to be done in conjunction with a condition-based maintenance program. The standard specifications provide for the suggested field tests and inspections to assess the reliability of electrical distribution equipment, emergency energy sources, and related power systems. This testing aims to maximize the life expectancy of equipment while also establishing priorities for repair and replacement.
Electrical System Assessments
The ANSI and NETA standards require a licensed technician to perform acceptance assessments. NETA also requires the technician to be employed by a NETA-certified organization. Both also require a compiled test report to be created. This report will include information such as the technician’s name, the conditions on the testing day, and the calibration of the testing instruments. The report must also include a summary of the project, a description of the equipment, and an explanation of the tests performed. Lastly, all results, data, and recommendations for improvement are included. The purpose of these lengthy report requirements is to ensure that all testing is completed in the same way and contains the necessary information.
There are a number of tests that technicians can deploy to determine the overall capabilities and quality of a device. A visual inspection is included in NETA requirements, and technicians will look at all aspects of machinery to ensure everything is in good condition. High current testing is used to determine the reliability of devices to see how much energy they can withstand. Infrared scanning can identify high operating temperatures in an electrical system, which can be caused by loose wire connections or improperly torqued lugs.
Relay testing will check the response times and the highest functional frequencies of a relay. A power factor test will check the integrity of a component’s insulation and how it will hold up over time. These are just a few of the most common tests. However, the technician will employ certain types of tests depending on the class and type of electrical equipment being evaluated.
Quad Plus is an all-inclusive power systems service provider for a wide variety of industries. Our team of NETA-certified technicians is ready to perform acceptance testing and commissioning for your new equipment. Or, we will work with you to develop a maintenance program that’s designed to keep you up and running for longer. To learn more or to get started, contact us today.