Avoid unplanned and costly downtime with electrical and oil testing

April 10, 2018

Helping our customers improve their bottom line is one of the services that Solomon Corp provides. Full-service electrical and oil testing on transformers, voltage regulators, and oil circuit reclosers ensures that your equipment is operating properly and can increase the longevity of it.

Solomon technicians attend industry training courses along with having experience working in the factory. Four of the Solomon locations – Solomon, Kansas; Decatur, Tennessee; Georgetown, Texas; Grand Junction, Colorado – offer complete in-house electrical testing. In addition, Solomon Corp Field Service crews can perform all electrical testing at the customer’s facility. Oil samples can be taken at any Solomon facility or in the field and shipped to a lab for analysis.

Solomon’s electrical and oil testing can help you:

  • Avoid unplanned outages
  • Reduce wear on equipment by recognizing issues early
  • Save money on replacing and repairing equipment

How often should testing be done?

As a rule, recommended oil testing intervals are once per year for general maintenance. However, for any equipment not operating properly (e.g., complete failure, improper voltage output, switches not opening properly or on time) or with previous electrical issues, more frequent testing is recommended to check for trends in the gasses in the oil.

Electrical testing intervals vary depending on the type of equipment and original equipment manufacturer, but most manufacturers recommend testing every three to five years.

Keep equipment running and avoid downtime

“Routine testing helps identify potential problems in electrical equipment prior to a complete failure of the equipment,” said Sam Caudill, Field Service Manager. “This allows the equipment to be repaired before it is rendered completely non-operational, thus avoiding expensive service interruptions and inflated emergency repair costs.”

In the event of a complete failure, equipment downtime can vary greatly depending on the equipment type and variables involved. With a failed transformer, for example, it could be weeks or months until a replacement transformer with particular sizing and electrical properties is available, Sam explained.

Compare that to how long will equipment be down to complete testing and routine maintenance. “Typically, it’s less than eight hours total,” Sam said, “and only a few hours in most cases.”

Save money and resources

Routine maintenance normally only runs a few thousand dollars depending on the exact nature of the maintenance; emergency repairs can be VERY expensive when considering after hours work, weekend work, holiday work, etc. “I would estimate emergency work can range between three to five times more in cost, with the potential for more,” Sam said.

Utilities aren’t the only organizations that benefit from routine electrical and oil testing. Industrial customers should schedule testing, too. “Many industrial customers have no back up power options or spare equipment, making the maintenance of their existing electrical equipment absolutely vital to their operations,” Sam said.

In addition to cost savings, one big advantage to scheduling testing is that you will know when equipment will be down and can plan accordingly. You can choose the date, time, and impact to operations versus having an unplanned equipment outage and with no plan in place.

The testing process

For oil testing, a trained Solomon technician draws a sample from the electrical equipment using exact procedures to limit any contaminants, air, or moisture. It is then sent to a laboratory for analysis and the results are forwarded to the customer, typically within 24 hours, with shorter lead times possible, if necessary.

For electrical testing, the equipment must be deenergized, disconnected, and grounded before the testing can be performed. Once completed, the technician connects factory-calibrated test equipment to the electrical equipment with test leads, and the results are electronically recorded on a laptop. After all testing is complete, Solomon employees evaluate the results for accuracy and look for any potential issues. All results and evaluations are forwarded to the customer in a report. The entire process typically takes less than eight hours, and only a few hours in most cases.

Having oil and electrical testing done on a regular basis can help you save money and avoid unplanned outages. To schedule oil or electrical testing, visit us at ww.solomon.com or call 800-234-2867.