Some inexperienced facilities managers may design preventive maintenance plans mimicking the guidelines that are provided by the manufacturer of that power equipment. However, such preventive maintenance may not address the needs of your facility adequately because the local factors at your facility may not have been considered. This article discusses some of the local considerations that should influence the design of a preventive maintenance plan.
The preventive maintenance plan of your switchgear should put various environmental factors, such as chemical exposure and dust levels, into account. Switchgear in locations with high levels of these risk factors should be serviced more frequently than equipment in locations where the risk factors are minimal. Pay attention to the humidity levels at your facility. High levels of moisture can degrade power equipment within a short time. Frequent maintenance can prolong the life of that equipment so that premature failure is avoided.
Switching Duty Severity
Repeated operations of the switchgear wears out that equipment quickly. The preventive maintenance plan should be customised to cater for such accelerated wear. For instance, the oil in the switchgear components should be changed more frequently so that the equipment is adequately lubricated. Similarly, moving components should be frequently checked to ensure that they are still properly aligned.
Switchgear with a high current rating may require more frequent preventive maintenance when compared with switchgear that has a lower current rating. This is because that higher current imposes a big strain on that equipment. Without proper maintenance, the equipment will age long before its expected service life comes to an end. It is also helpful for you to put into account whether you use that switchgear at full capacity most of the time. Such operating duty calls for a more rigorous PM regime so that the equipment continues to do its work without a drop in efficiency.
As power equipment ages, its maintenance demands keep increasing. For instance, various components that are nearing the end of their service life need to be inspected frequently for signs of premature failure. Consequently, you may need to conduct PM more frequently than is recommended in the manual of that equipment.
As you can see, it may be a mistake to have an unchanging preventive maintenance plan. That plan should evolve in order to address the changing conditions under which the power equipment is being used. The manufacturer's guidelines should therefore be used as a starting point for you to design your own customised maintenance plan since the supplier cannot predict all the conditions at your facility.