Electrical & Mechanical Contractors

Electrical & mechanical contractors are hired to install electrical & mechanical equipment in customer facilities. Equipment is installed per electrical & mechanical designs created by facility design engineers. When building electrical systems, electrical / electronic equipment & mechanical equipment malfunctions, experiences damage or fails, customers often call their contractor for assistance. Customers call their contractors because they were the ones who installed the equipment. Because of this, customers think contractors can understand the behavior of equipment, identify the causes of equipment problems, determine the solutions to resolve the problems & figure out how to help avoid them in the future.

Contractors are trained & certified to install equipment. They are experts in installing equipment. In the electrical industry, contractors install equipment per the requirements listed in the National Electrical Code (NEC, or NFPA 70) published by the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA). The NEC provides requirements to help customers avoid fire & electrical shock from electrical systems & equipment that uses electricity. The requirements listed in the NEC are bare minimum requirements & don’t address the performance of electrical & electronic equipment or PQ. In other words, following the NEC isn’t enough to manage the risk of equipment suffering from malfunctions, damage & failure.

Customer BESs & equipment installed per the NEC can’t manage these risks, because higher performance wiring & grounding methods & additional electrical components are needed to lower these risks to manageable levels. Without making changes to the BES to improve its performance (i.e., help prevent electrical disturbances from causing BES & equipment problems) & then correctly installing the correct PQ protection devices on the BES & at the equipment, customers have a difficult time predicting BES & equipment performance. When the BES is not upgraded & PQ protection devices are not specified & installed correctly, customers experience unpredictable financial losses: incorrect parts manufacturing, altered process flow, lost labor, equipment repairs / replacements, delivery fines & low production yields among others.

When a customer power quality (PQ) problem occurs, customers need a well-trained & experienced PQ engineer to help them understand, identify, solve & help prevent such problems from occurring again. The good news is that contractors are often the ones customers call & are typically the front-facing people, since they already have a relationship with the customer.

PBE Engineers was set up to provide expert technical assistance to contractors to help their customers understand, identify, solve & help prevent PQ problems. PBE engineers have significant experience in working with contractors to address such problems for their customers. PBE Engineers can collaborate with contractors to help them & their customers understand the electrical behavior that’s causing the problems, identify the causes, specify the solutions & work to prevent PQ problems in the future. Once the causes of these problems are identified, the upgrades to the BES determined & what PQ protection equipment needs to be installed (& how) by PBE Engineers, we can work jointly with the contractor to have them carryout the upgrades & install the PQ protection equipment. PBE is engaged with the contractor to ensure the upgrades & protection equipment are installed per best PQ engineering practices. Once this is done, PBE reviews & documents the completed work to ensure the PQ problems are resolved & help to avoid them afterwards.

Some benefits of contractors working with PBE Engineers are:

  • Contractors can start learning the basics of PQ & why it’s important to them & their customers,
  • Contractors can learn how to determine that an on-going PQ problem is occurring, &
  • PBE Engineers can work with contractors to develop new work addressing customer PQ problems.

PBE Engineers engaging with contractors creates a win-win situation for them & their customers. PBE Engineers also need electrical & mechanical contractors to make upgrades to customer BES & install PQ protection equipment when customers don’t have an electrical contractor that knows their system.