How to Maximize Your Electrical Infrastructure Investments
Project Cost & Schedule Savings
Start planning with your contractor and engineer early. One hour of planning can save 17 hours on the job site. Early collaboration with your electrical contractor and engineer allows time to consider options such as underground raceway, modular electric rooms, and prefabrication. These options often minimize installation costs and site congestion.
Select a partner who can leverage the benefits of BIM (3D CAD). The partner can model electric rooms and major raceway routes to coordinate well with other disciplines to coordinate well with other disciplines to effectively use your building and maximize prefabrication.
Do not discredit modern alloys making aluminum conductors a viable option. There are substantive cost savings by using them on 480V feeders 800A and larger and by evaluating them for feeders of 200-800A.
Consider alternative motor starters. If your facility has many motors less than 30hp, IEC Motor Cabinets can replace NEMA Motor Control Centers saving 10-15% on motor starter costs.
Understand your electric utility’s energy incentive programs. Many utilities offer substantial incentives to install high efficiency lighting and motors, and variable frequency drives (VFDs).
Plan for expansion. Often, clients are “landlocked” with small electric rooms or with electrical infrastructure that can’t expand for additional loads. By assessing your long-term needs and investing a little more into extra electric room space and switch-gear expandability, you will be able to accommodate an extra MCC five years from now.
Use Power Factor Correction. This reduces or eliminates a power factor penalty on your electric utility bill. Investing in capacitor banks is a simple installation that typically costs $20-30k per electrical service and a typical payback is often 18-24 months.
Purchase High Efficiency Motors. These motors can save 2%-8% on energy costs and soon pay for itself. On variable torque load applications (e.g., conveyors, pumps and fans), replacing valve or damper type controls with a VFD can significantly reduce energy consumption.
Invest in equipment, gear, and clothing that reduces arc flash hazard levels. Many modern technologies limit arc flash risks and protect your personnel. Doing the right thing – the safe thing – is relatively inexpensive when addressed during the project design phase.
Consider a high resistance grounding system rather than solid grounding. At a cost of only $10-20k per switch-gear, a high resistance grounding system allows your process to keep running safely and without interruption if a motor faults. If there is an issue in your plant, the plant will keep running, an alarm will notify you of the issue, and you can correct the fault on your time.
Process Automation & Electrical Power