29 April 2021
During the run-up to Christmas 2020, a scheduled maintenance inspection by the in-house team at an Industrial Gas Manufacturing plant in South Wales identified an exceptionally low insulation resistance (IR) on one phase of a critical 11kV compressor motor. Quartzelec, a leading independent engineering service provider with a local presence, attended at very short notice on Christmas Eve to assess, and endeavour to rectify the problem.
Upon inspection, heaters were placed around this vital motor in an attempt to quickly improve the IR, with only marginal improvement. Following consultation, the client made the decision to have Quartzelec remove and undertake a major overhaul on the 1188kW Parsons Peebles built compressor motor whose duty helps provide a range of critical gases to major industries and medical facilities across the UK.
“Having agreed on the plan of action with the customer we promptly returned in January to remove the 16 tonnes motor for a fully detailed inspection and overhaul in our workshop,” stated Simon O’Leary, Quartzelec’s Swansea Business Unit manager. “An issue with the overhead on-site crane and position of the motor saw us bring in additional specialist lifting equipment to avoid delay, enabling us to get the motor back to our workshop to commence stripping it down.”
Working extended hours and weekends, the first task for the Quartzelec engineering team was to completely dismantle the motor prior to thoroughly steam cleaning the stator windings. It was then placed in a temperature-controlled oven to help improve the IR. New insulated cable clamps were manufactured and replacement 11kV heat shrink fitted to all cables. The motor was transported to Quartzelec’s Rugby facility where a full Baker Test and Partial Discharge tests were carried out to quantify and record the IR improvements achieved before it was transported back to the site and re‑installed.
Quartzelec ensure the project turnaround was kept to a tight schedule of under a month, minimising downtime at the plant and at a fraction of the time and cost of having a new motor specified and commissioned, to the client’s complete satisfaction.
With a network of workshop facilities strategically located across the UK and teams of highly experienced engineers, Quartzelec can quickly respond to and rectify engineering issues with rotating machines and associated static plant. Having invested heavily in providing diagnostic analysis that helps identify potential problems before they occur, it can deliver cost effective support to legacy systems, manufacture replacement components, plus instigate maintenance schedules and upgrades that allow customers to optimise electrical plant performance and invariably avoid critical failures.