Tips to avoid an Emergency Outage: Iso phase systems require preventative maintenance

By February 20, 2014 March 8th, 2016 Blog, Services

There are few industries in which the phrase “time is money” is more applicable than in the power generation industry. When systems fail that do not have a redundant backup, exact OEM replacement parts can be impossible to locate in a timely manner. Your isolated phase bus duct system is a system critical component in your plant that has no redundancy and no ‘quick fix’ if it fails.

Failures of the IPB are frequently due to improper installation, failure of other connected equipment, inadequate design, lack of predictive assessment and/or improper inspection & maintenance. Every isolated phase bus manufacturer has a recommended maintenance schedule specific to their own system. Most often these failures occur after the bus system’s warranty has expired. If an emergency does occur, a turnkey approach to reverse engineering of your system, procurement of replacement parts and components with near immediate lead times is critical to getting your plant back on-line as safely, efficiently, cost effectively and quickly as possible. It takes a dedicated and experienced rapid response team of isolated phase bus and non-segregated bus system experts to do so.

Avoiding an emergency failure requires both predictive assessment and testing along with a preventative maintenance plan for your isolated phase bus and non-seg bus system. Studies and personal experience has shown bus duct failures are most commonly due to: cracked insulators, presence of moisture, debris in the bus duct enclosure, dirt from dust build up (which is an additional threat in force cooled systems), loosened hardware due to vibration and thermal cycling in the isophase bus conductor supports, and aluminum laminate expansion joint.
The 3 most valuable services to include in your electrical predictive and preventative maintenance plan include:

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  • 1. Online EMI Diagnostics Testing: Identifying compromised isolated phase bus and related components before an outage and emergency failure. Online EMI Diagnostic Testing allows you to develop a corrective action plan at your plant before you go offline, allowing you to be as efficient during your planned outage as possible. EMI diagnostic testing is an on-line non –invasive test that can detect a wide variety of issues in isolated phase bus, transformer, generator, motor and associated electrical system components that other theologies are unable to detect. Some of these include; loose or broken support insulators, loose or corroded hardware, defective insulation, and foreign material or objects inside the bus duct system.
  • 2. Isolated phase bus & non segregated bus internal video & visual inspection: Your connections should be inspected often to insure proper torque values and verify proper hardware is being used. . Establish a baseline of the health and condition of your system with an internal robotic video inspection when you go offline, before any isolated phase bus work is performed and after work is complete to ensure the system has not been contaminated by foreign material (FME). Internal isolated phase bus and non seg video inspection is able to locate any debris left from construction or leaks, the cleanliness of your system, loose or missing hardware, tracking, deteriorating systems, and broken/damage shunts and insulators. Loose connections can lead to arcing, overheating, and explosive damage.
  • 3.Isolated phase bus duct cryogenic cleaning: Isolated phase bus and insulators should be cleaned on an appropriate schedule. Environmentally friendly cryogenic cleaning is a superior cleaning to any hand cleaning process as it leaves no residue behind.


Contact Electrical Builders, Inc. to set-up your predictive assessment and preventative maintenance plan today!