Green Bay Innovation Group

Quad Plus | Industrial Circuit Breakers: Preventing Costly Downtime

Quad Plus | Industrial Circuit Breakers: Preventing Costly Downtime

Quad Plus

A number of electrical problems can create hazardous conditions for your crew and machinery, including  short circuits, overloaded circuits, and more. Circuit breakers are the primary method of protecting people  and equipment from these dangers. As in all aspects of workplace safety, regular maintenance systems and  preventive maintenance will help keep workers safe while avoiding expensive breakdowns and costly  repairs. 

The Cost of Avoiding Maintenance 

One leading factor of industrial circuit breaker deterioration is the fact that they are rarely in operation and  spend most of their time idle. While most machinery makes it obvious when a breakdown occurs, you may  be unaware of a problem until a breaker fails and brings your production to a halt. 

Dirty circuit breakers can also fail to operate correctly; grime and debris must be prevented from  accumulating in the breakers. Over time, the lubrication used in circuit breakers can also break down and prevent the components from operating correctly and safely.

Common Routine Tests 

The easiest way to ensure that industrial circuit breakers are functioning correctly is through routine testing.  This can usually be completed without stopping production lines. To ensure a thorough test for your  breakers, NETA specifications should be used to ensure that the devices adhere to NETA-certified  acceptance standards.  

While the exact testing protocols will vary depending on your specific operations, there are standard  procedures that are likely to be performed to assess industrial circuit breakers. For example, all key  components such as contacts, connections, and arc chutes, should be examined. Low-voltage breakers  should undergo primary and secondary injection testing to ensure fault trip and overload protection. 

A circuit breaker analyzer is a device used to test the timing of the open and close functions of a circuit  breaker and ensure the synchronism of the poles in different operations. A micro-ohmmeter is used to  perform resistance testing to prevent hot spots in the breaker and look for potential problems. Lastly, an  infrared inspection may be done to search for hot spots resulting from defective components or connections  that lead to component failure.

Routine Breaker Maintenance 

Some types of industrial circuit breakers will require more maintenance than others. For example, a molded  case breaker needs very little attention, while others should be included in a periodic maintenance program. 

The frequency of routine maintenance should be determined based on the environment of your operations  and your specific equipment.  

One crucial routine task is to clean the breakers. The accumulation of debris in a breaker can prevent the  breaker from tripping, cause deviations in the power supply, and more. Cleaning a breaker can be  completed by taking off the cover and removing any buildup using vacuum tools, lint-free swabs, and  isopropyl alcohol. 

Industrial circuit breakers also require lubrication to function properly. A number of items should be  inspected for adequate lubrication, including operating mechanisms, pivot points, the main contacts, and  primary and auxiliary connections. 

Lastly, many types of industrial circuit breakers require regular tightening and retorquing. The breaker’s  manufacturer will list the recommended values for specific breakers, and these figures should be confirmed  on a regular basis.

Schedules to Avoid Downtime 

Rather than an unexpected shutdown, planned interruption to production schedules will always be better for  virtually all industrial situations. Regular maintenance and testing according to a set schedule are critical  factors in ensuring that maintenance is completed when it is convenient for your operation. 

What this routine looks like will depend on the type of breaker as well as the environment in which machines  are running. A relatively clean environment, such as those found in the manufacturing of electronics, will  likely require less maintenance than one with a great deal of dirt or debris.  

A testing schedule should also be created to ensure that all circuit breakers are in working order. This  schedule will also be determined by the type of breakers being used. For example, high-voltage breakers  should be tested every six months, at minimum, whereas low-voltage breakers can go a maximum of three  years between tests. Molded-case breakers need very little maintenance at all.  The most critical factors for routine maintenance and testing for industrial circuit breakers are not only  creating a schedule that is appropriate for the environment and the equipment, but also ensuring adherence  to this schedule. If you’re not sure how frequently to test and inspect your electrical equipment or what type  of routine maintenance is necessary, Quad Plus can help. Please contact Jim Woulf at (920) 515-4155 or  via email at Routine maintenance and testing are far easier to work into your  production schedule than unexpected downtime.

Green Bay Innovation Group

Bringing Green Bay Companies Together. Green Bay Innovation Group is committed to building an authentic networking experience where innovation can thrive.

Contact Information

Phone: 608-698-3333
Subscribe to Newsletter

© 2021 Green Bay Innovation Group