18 February 2019
Quartzelec, a leading independent engineering service provider, was recently asked to tender against other, specialist electrical engineering companies, for an Arc Flash Assessment at Mexichem, Runcorn. With the same work also needed at its Mihara site, Hiroshima, Japan it was a proviso that both sites were assessed to secure the project.
“We’ve delivered robust and cost effective HV maintenance activities for Mexichem at its Runcorn facilities for several years but the only way we would win the new Arc Flash Analysis project was if we were able to support both Runcorn and Mihara,” explained John Dunning, Quartzelec’s Wrexham based HV Contracts Manager. “The client expected long‑term commitment and re‑assurances that we’d deliver ongoing support; and given our knowledge, experience and heritage, we were in a unique position to comply. Since our visit and assessment at the start of Q2-2018 we’ve been in continuous contact, assisting them in implementing the changes required as a result of the project.”
The usual method is as follows; Quartzelec surveys the customer’s fixed electrical assets, operating methods, type, ratings and overall condition. A fault and protection grading study is undertaken from which the arc flash calculations are completed to provide the potential arc flash energy. The report incorporates feedback from the HSE, top tier COMAH site customers and also benchmarking against competitors. A concise report is created that can be read and understood from all levels of the customers’ business.
In addition to the work at Runcorn, Quartzelec attended the Mihara site near Hiroshima, Japan to survey the installed equipment and provide an Arc Flash Study in accordance with American standards such as IEEE 1584. The resulting report provided the customer with; safer working methods, PPE requirements, recommendations for improved security of supply and assurances in the fault ratings of their equipment.
Quartzelec began to produce in-house Fault & Protection Grading studies in early 2017 and this has been a successful addition to our range of services. Reports have been delivered for a number of high level customers across the industrial, infrastructure and commercial and services area, with a number of additional high profile projects already scheduled for Q1-2 in 2019. A few of these customers have also requested Arc Flash Analysis to aid their PPE risk assessment process.
John Dunning concluded: “Fault & Grading studies are a legal requirement in the UK, particularly when there is a change to the customers’ network. Arc Flash Assessments are a legal requirement in the United States and whilst not currently a legal requirement here in the UK, the HSE are actively promoting it as an aid to PPE risk assessments. On this particular project we deployed a team for a week to Japan. Liaising with Japanese engineers did however add to the complexity as the language barrier meant we had to simplify a lot of non-translatable electrical terms. Drawing sketches to explain energy release and short circuits plus finding videos of arc flash incidents on YouTube ensured we spoke the same language and delivered the required outcomes. As part of the final report an educational leaflet was produced both in English and Japanese to aid their understanding of the theory behind the project.”