Schneider Electric: services vital for installed base
Enlisting the help from an experienced and specialised installed base service provider levels the path for an organisation to achieve its overall business goals. This is the case for an organisation either preparing to install brand new equipment or looking to extend the life of an existing installation or planning to decommission an outdated facility.
Roland Bartle, business development manager for the Mining, Minerals and Metals industry at Schneider Electric South Africa, says that when it comes to electrical distribution infrastructure, the answer is straightforward: “Get professional expertise. Doing business in today’s economic environment is challenging enough. For peace of mind, it is advisable to outsource the management of an electrical distribution installation.”
He highlights that installed base services should be developed to assist companies increase productivity, reliability and safety; mitigate risk and limit downtime; keep equipment up to date and extend its lifespan; cut costs and increase savings; and improve return on investment.
“To achieve the above objectives, Schneider Electric has divided its installed base services into six focus areas, namely: technical training; on-demand maintenance; modernisation; end of life; installation assessment; maintenance, services and contracts,” explains Bartle.
Schneider Electric’s installation and commissioning services were created specifically to improve the launch phase of medium voltage/ low voltage electrical distribution installations.
Having well-trained employees is key to the long-term health of electrical distribution equipment. But training them, and keeping their knowledge current, can be challenging. “Schneider Electric has the experience, the highly skilled educators, and the capability to create training programmes flexible enough to fit your needs. Whether your employees need to acquire new skills or to refresh deepen existing competencies, we have an option to suit them,” states Bartle.
Keeping medium voltage/ low voltage equipment performing optimally is another challenge, he maintains, and adds that organisations need to adopt the right best practices and minimise downtime, while working with limited budgetary and maintenance resources. “Our on-demand maintenance services make your work simpler. Maintenance gives you access to experienced field-service engineers with proven procedures and tools to fix, prevent, and predict problems with your installations, reducing downtime and keeping your assets in top form. We offer diagnosis of current issues along with concise, easy-to-understand recommendations and solutions. There’s also a spare parts service with product guarantees, fast delivery of reliable replacement parts, and, upon request, stock recommendations,” says Bartle.
Installing new electrical distribution equipment generally involves a major financial commitment, so it makes sense to get the best use out of an installed base. According to Bartle, ageing, outdated equipment can be modernised, dramatically improving its performance and lifetime, as well as achieving compliance with current regulations.
“With the Ecofit solution from Schneider Electric, you get a cost-effective means of updating your installed base. Whether it requires retrofit, retrofill, or replacement of ageing equipment, we can help you save time and money.
As electrical distribution equipment approaches the end of its lifetime, you need to plan accordingly. Environmental regulations are increasingly stringent and it’s becoming increasingly important to dispose of outdated equipment in a way that’s both green and transparent. Bartle says that Schneider Electric offers a turnkey solution for processing your old electrical equipment and recovering toxic substances and persistent organic pollutants, such as SF6 gas and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs).
“Our installation assessment services combine in-depth analyses of the current state of your equipment with expert advice on how to optimise technical performance, safety, and maintenance,” says Bartle, elaborating that with MP4, customers get a site-wide electrical installation assessment, including an evaluation of energy needs and current capabilities, reliability analyses, and a rating of critical levels. A variety of technical studies are also available, including electromagnetic compatibility analyses, system dependability analyses, and power flow calculations. “We offer Arc Flash Analysis as well, to help you determine flash protection boundaries, hazard/ risk categories, and to implement low-cost arc flash reduction methods,” he says.
It has been shown that unexpected downtime can cause significant financial losses. Slow-to respond repair personnel often compound the problem or equipment that underperforms after it’s repaired. As such, Schneider Electric’s maintenance services contracts were created to prevent such issues.
By focusing on predictive and preventive maintenance that’s tailored specifically to a customer site and processes, customers can keep control over their budget and ensure a prompt response in the case of any failure.
“Schneider Electric’s installed base services provide total life cycle support for our customers’ automation installations, encompassing all of the products and solutions available from Schneider Electric. Building on the strengths of our brands we not only deliver global expertise and support but also peace of mind to customers at a local level,” concludes Bartle.