A Handy Checklist For Moving A Production Line

Mid Range Ultrasonic Level IRU-6429

automated chemical handling lineIf you’re moving a production line, there are some considerations for your control system that you shouldn’t leave up to your electrical contractor. After all, a contractor’s job is to provide a safe environment, not necessarily an optimized one.

With that in mind, Fluke created a useful application note titled, “Moving a production line, An electrical system checklist”.

The list points out that outsourcing electrical work, while often a great idea, is not a cure-all for making the move a successful one. Quoting the NEC, Article 90, Fluke reminds us that a, “contractor’s job is to provide an electrical installation ‘essentially free from hazards but not necessarily efficient, convenient, or adequate for good service or future expansion of electrical use.’”

Sticking points for an electrician typically involve things like voltage drops, harmonics, and EMI. The checklist serves to help you fill in the gaps so your move will go as smoothly as possible.

Without further ado, here is a summary of the nine steps. You can access the real deal here and filling out the very short form.

Establish benchmarks for existing production line.

Perform a power quality survey to identify problems and needed upgrades. Take critical voltage and current readings at key points to facilitate comparison, validation, and troubleshooting once the new system is installed.

Review proposed electrical plans and drawings for new production line.

Compare your findings from the power quality survey to the proposed plans. This is the time to make sure you won’t have any of the same problems and that everything will be up to code.

Calculate expected voltage drops.

You’ll need to know the voltage drops for any circuits that will increase in length or will get additional loads.

Ensure you have the correct cabling between VFDs and motors.

VFDs need special attention. Failure to follow best practices can land you in a dangerous and destructive situation of reflected waves and a lot of electrical noise. It’s a safety hazard and can cause motor and control system failure.

Evaluate equipment for upgrades and replacement.

You might be able to improve safety, increase production, reduce electrical vulnerabilities, and save energy (and money).

After the move is complete, check all safety circuits and emergency stops.

This one seems self-explanatory, but your safety systems need to be working. Don’t leave it up to chance. A little test is well worth it.

Verify grounding for safety, code compliance, and electrical noise reduction.

Improper grounding is another one of those things that can cause a safety hazard, sporadic operation issues, and make your system vulnerable to electrical noise. If the noise can’t make it to the ground, it’ll make it to the wire.

Complete a power quality survey after installation to identify potential problems and establish benchmark recordings for the electrical maintenance program.

Another power quality survey will complete the picture for your maintenance team and verify that everything is as it should be.

Test the line for correct operation.

Finally, thoroughly test the line to make sure you got what you paid for. This is a good time for final troubleshooting, adjustments, and for getting feedback from your line operators.

Make sure you download the full report from Fluke.

Contact us if you have any questions about best practices for installing level or pressure sensors.


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top photo credit: PEO ACWA via flickr cc

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