Technical News | Quad Plus Company Blog

A collection of news and articles

How often should switchgear be tested?

First, let's cut to the chase. Generally speaking, switchgear testing should be completed semi-annually with a visual inspection and infrared completed annually. There may be some factors that would warrant more frequent testing, such as equipment issues or deterioration, manufacturer defects, or high reliability requirements.

Your Schedule or the Machine's?

Preventive maintenance services are just good business. All machines will eventually need servicing, and all components will fail sooner or later. The decision isn't whether maintenance is necessary; but whether the service occurs on your schedule or the equipment's.

Emergency services from the unplanned maintenance demands of a run-to-failure maintenance program can be considerably more expensive than planned work. Plus, we must factor in long wait times for replacement parts and unhappy customers while you're waiting. Preventative maintenance services keep you in control of downtime, and including your switchgear in the rotation is critical.

Switchgear Prevents System Damage

Switchgear is a category of devices that includes switches, circuit breakers, and all associated equipment for controlling, regulating, and protecting the equipment. The purpose of properly maintained switchgear is to provide a means of local electrical distribution. Switchgear also provides isolation and protection of critical components in the event of a fault in the power system. 

When these faults occur, the switchgear disconnects that section to prevent further damage to the rest of the system using some of the same basic protective mechanisms used in household circuit breakers.

In other words, when properly maintained, switchgear protects people and electrical equipment when other equipment malfunctions. What happens when these disconnect switches fail? Regular switchgear testing helps prevent dangerous risks and hazardous conditions for your crews.

Classifying Switchgear

Low voltage switchgear is typically rated up to 600 volts. Medium voltage switchgear can be rated up to 38KV (sometimes higher depending on the insulator). Anything above 100KV is considered high voltage.

Switchgear may also be broadly classified into indoor and outdoor types. The type to use is based on the housing necessary to prevent damage to the switchgear and safeguard workers during normal operation and maintenance.

Because of the variety of needs and demands, the switchgear configuration is usually unique to the operation. Developing a maintenance schedule requires careful inspection and consideration of the devices and then balancing those with the operation's needs.

Everything Works Fine... Until it Doesn't.

Assigning a low priority to switchgear maintenance is an expensive mistake that puts the safety of your crews at risk. The increase in downtime and loss of production due to failure to maintain essential electrical equipment can quickly cost far more than the work to maintain it. 

An injury event can have a deep personal impact on the employees of a company. Not to mention the resulting legal and medical expenses, visits from OSHA, and potential further shutdowns that can be impossible for some companies to overcome.

Determining when and what to check isn't as complicated as it may seem. We have compiled a list of common equipment types, what maintenance procedures are necessary, which inspection processes to use, and, of course, how often each needs to be completed. You can print our easy-to-read Periodic Maintenance Schedule PDF to keep your equipment on track.

Thoughtful routine maintenance is less stressful and less costly. It creates a safer working environment for personnel and adds years of useful working life to expensive equipment. The key is to partner with an industry expert who understands your unique configuration and the demands on your equipment. That way, you can determine how often your switchgear should be tested and develop a plan that makes the most sense for your production schedule and budget. 

Are you struggling and need support? Our case study on switchgear testing shows how we've caught issues before they've caused major difficulties. We have the tools and knowledge to assist you.

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What is the Difference Between Standard and Safety PLCs?

Waiting for an accident to happen is no way to operate. Manufacturers around the world invest a considerable amount of resources into making the workplace safer for their crews while also protecting their equipment and products. Safety programmable logic controllers (PLCs) are a step in the right direction in terms of safety, yet some are hesitant to make the leap. While they may not be the perfect product for every situation, there are many reasons why they are the right choice for control systems in many environments. Read More

When is Lockout Tagout Required?

The purpose of lockout/tagout procedures is to control hazardous energy sources so that employees are not in danger when servicing and maintaining machines and equipment. Energy sources regulated by OSHA include electrical, chemical, pneumatic, mechanical, hydraulic, and more. OSHA standards also have requirements for when lockout/tagout is necessary for people working on electric circuits and other equipment. Read More

Improve Your Building Infrastructure or Rebuild?

From updating existing structures to comply with current building codes to improving the efficiency, sustainability, and profitability of operations, building and factory managers face a tall order when maintaining older structures. In most cases, regular repairs and improvement can postpone major building projects, but eventually, every construction will reach the end of its useful and intended life.

At this point, building managers must evaluate whether it makes the best business sense to renovate, repair, and rebuild a structure or demolish it and start again from the ground up. Read More

Increase Your Capacity With Expansion of Your Facilities

Whether it’s adding new lines of products or expanding your capabilities to deliver higher quantities of products, a focus on growth is ubiquitous across all industries. What happens, then, when the infrastructure of the building reaches capacity and prevents additional growth? The options include moving to a larger facility, building a new and larger building from the ground up, or expanding your current structure. Read More

What is a Machine Risk Assessment?

Industrial and manufacturing facilities can be dangerous places for workers and the public. To ensure the safety of work crews and the machinery they operate, systematically collecting information on necessary improvements is important. The task becomes critical when complex industrial machinery and sophisticated automation tools are used. Read More

Preventive Maintenance: VFD Repair vs. Replacement

Variable frequency drives (VFDs) have helped businesses and manufacturers in nearly every sector enjoy significant energy savings for decades. Their increased use during the last decade has been driven by both the demand for energy efficiency and regulations requiring such improvements. The result is that VFDs are considered the standard for modern motor control. Read More

Counterfeit Electronic Components an Overview

Almost all finished goods are produced by, contain, or manufactured with systems using electronic parts that manage operations. The semiconductor market alone continues to expand past the $425.96 billion mark measured in 2020. With high demand and constrained supply due to current economic factors, genuine product prices have increased along with the lead times to delivery. These factors have also re-energized another unfortunate side business in fraudulent and counterfeit electronic parts. By definition, other than genuine electronic parts fall into three categories:

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Why is machine safeguarding important?

The worst-case scenario for any manufacturer is an injury in the workplace. Protecting workers from machine-related injuries is always a priority. According to OSHA, workers who operate and maintain machinery experience as many as 18,000 injuries every year, including everything from bruising and scrapes to amputations, lacerations, blindness, and even death. Read More

What are the types of machine guards?

Protecting against the hazards created by mechanical motion is not only a priority for manufacturers; it’s also required by law. OSHA regulations state that at least one method of machine guarding must be supplied to protect workers in the machine area from hazards at the point of operation. Employers must also provide guards to protect operators and other employees from rotating parts, ingoing nip points, and flying debris.

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Semiconductor Failure and Replacement

What to Know About Semiconductor Failure and Replacement

Failures of power semiconductors in AC and DC drives can result in significant downtime for repair and recertification of affected equipment. These components are often subjected to substantial loads and stresses. The desire to avoid future issues as part of preventive maintenance has led to some myths and misconceptions about the accuracy of field tests.

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Reducing Failure Risk with Capacitor Reforming

Large aluminum electrolytic capacitors are important components in DC and AC inverter applications. Common practice is to keep equipment spares in the event of a failure. But when supporting a facility with equipment that includes banks of large aluminum electrolytic capacitors, simply having an unused spare unit is not enough to ensure rapid recovery in the event of a failure.

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Drive Retrofit Kit for Legacy Quad Plus Drive Systems

There may be some risks associated with newly or soon-to-be discontinued drives on your legacy Quad Plus drive system.
Here are some common questions many of our customers have asked, along with answers, solutions, and next steps for you to take.

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Understanding ANSI RIA R15.06:2012

The Robotics Industry Association (RIA) standard for robots and robot systems (ANSI / RIA R15.06:2012) created a significant impact on all businesses using robotic automation by comparison to the previous standard (R15.06:1999). Although it’s now more than six years after its effective date of January 1, 2015, these standards remain important to the safety of production workers using and working around robotic systems. While not legally mandated, they represent best practices in robotic safety and a significant step to minimize legal liability in the future.

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NETA Electrical Testing with a Certified Company

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.

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Industrial Manufacturing Retrofits: What You Need to Know

When talking about manufacturing equipment that can cost several hundred thousand dollars to purchase, an extended life for your machine is a must for any company that wants to stay ahead of the competition. However, making large capital investments in new machinery can have an extended payback period, making them not cost-effective in the immediate future. Still, many new technologies exist that can be strategically integrated into your existing machine, making it easier and safer to operate, more productive, and efficiently use energy. To make the most of these hefty equipment purchases, industrial manufacturing retrofits can be the key to accessing new features and prolonging the working life of a machine.

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How Continuous Thickness Measurement Improves Production Quality

What is an Online Thickness Gauge?

Automated production processes have allowed companies to manufacture items at high speeds and with fewer interventions from operators. Ensuring that a product’s quality remains within tolerance limits and that waste and defects are minimal requires a similarly automated quality inspection process.

An online thickness gauge is an ideal method for process control as it delivers not only speed, but also a high degree of accuracy. An online gauge is always scanning, as opposed to manual spot measurements with a handheld scanner or a lab sample. Non-contact displacement sensor methods are the optimal choices as no contact with materials are required allowing for the fastest speeds and fast adaptations to different materials or surface types being measured.

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How a Web Gauging System Improves Your Bottom Line

Manufacturers of every industry have a need to follow tight production controls and quality demands. Dispatching a worker to obtain samples of in-process material and finished goods that are then sent for lab measurement may help inform the process. However, a faster and more reliable method is necessary for modern production schedules. A web gauging system will provide real-time results and accuracy that manufacturers need to meet production and cost goals.

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Different Weight, Moisture, and Thickness Sensor Technology for Web Applications

Web gauging systems are the key to meeting tight customer specs while also reducing waste and the overall expense associated with a production line. Which sensor technology to use depends on the substrate being measured as gauges are used to measure everything from the adhesive applied to tape to roofing products to soup bowls. Use this guide to help understand some of the technology that is available and let a Quad Plus expert help you find the right one for your production line.

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What Are The Benefits of a Web Gauging System For Manufacturers

No matter what sector of manufacturing your company is in, from automotive to medical to consumer products, balancing quality control and manufacturing costs will always be a priority. Manually gauging or visually inspecting products or even small groups can be costly and inefficient. A web gauging system may provide the key to improving quality and productivity without sacrificing efficiency and expense.

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Preventive Maintenance Guidance for Industrial Circuit Breakers

Circuit breakers form the foundation of safety for any industrial electrical system as they protect both your equipment and your crew from harm caused by overloaded circuits, short circuits, and other electrical problems. All protective systems should have a routine maintenance system in place to make sure everything is working as it should, and preventive maintenance will help you avoid costly breakdowns and industrial circuit breaker repairs.

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Getting the Most from Your Industrial Circuit Breakers

Industrial circuit breakers are a necessary component of every electrical system to protect your crew and equipment from danger. When they become damaged or broken, an immediate replacement is required to prevent downtime. Still, the cost to replace industrial circuit breakers can range from several hundred to tens of thousands of dollars. In many cases, companies can save a considerable amount of cash over the lifetime of their equipment by reconditioning breakers for reuse rather than replacing and discarding.

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Industrial Circuit Breaker Repair Experts

Power distribution and switchgear equipment are critical to the operation of your business, and the heart of every power distribution system are circuit breakers. These devices are responsible for protecting your crew from injury and your equipment from damage, so it’s easy to see why spotting signs of trouble is critical.  Here are three signs it’s time to repair your industrial circuit breaker.
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Shredder System Off and Storage

If you need to disconnect power to your Quad Plus Auto Shredding system, this removes the heater logic from the motor. In such cases were power is to be isolated longer than one month, temporary 240v (or specified voltage) must be run to the point of termination at the motor.

For all other inquiries regarding storage and/or idling, please see the following Quad Plus Motor Storage Instructions.
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Why do I need special cables for VFDs

Choosing the right cable for your variable frequency drive is critical to the operation of your system and avoiding costly downtime. To better understand why special cables are necessary, we’ll take a look at both the immediate and long-term impact that improper cables and configurations can have on your equipment along with ways to minimize problems.

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Robotics and Engineering Competitive Team

The 2018/2019 robot season has begun for the Lincoln-Way Central Fighting Knights! With the help and support of Quad Plus, the team is in the final stage of prep for their first competition this weekend. Frantic robot modifications and program tweaks are keeping team members busy after school and on the weekends. Go Knights!

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SIEMENS K-Frame Rebuild

A complete teardown and rebuild of a SIEMENS MasterDrive K-Frame caused by an improperly placed IGBT within the U phase leading to a dangerous arc-flash event. Our in-house expert Scott, documents the steps that Quad Plus takes to rebuild from this costly issue. Make sure to always have your drives serviced and maintained.

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Siemens Masterdrive Servicing

I have received many notifications about the discontinuation of the Siemens Masterdrive. As an owner of this drive system, this is the type of communication that causes anxiety. Questions such as How am I going to get parts, repairs, and service immediately start swirling in your head. And the biggest question of all is, if I have to remove and replace these drives, how much will it cost, how long will it take, and are their implications to my automation system.

So, what exactly does this notice mean?

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Machine Safety Standards

With so many rules and regulations related to industrial safety, it can be confusing to figure them all out.

To help clear things up, we do our best to explain the ISO 12100:2010, ISO 14121-1:2007, ISO 13849-1:2006 Safety Standards

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