Your questions answered: How to design power control system modernization projects

When renewing power control systems, understanding how it is specified reduces disruption to the electrical system. Review responses to several questions from this webcast

By Consulting-Specifying Engineer January 3, 2024

Electrical engineers often must update a building’s power systems to meet new power needs, to replace obsolete components or to account for unplanned equipment additions. Renewing rather than replacing power control systems can allow the engineer to minimize disruptions, to expedite project completion and to lower costs.

Questions left unanswered during the Dec. 11, 2023, webcast titled, “How to design power control system modernization projects” are addressed here.

ASCO Power Services experts:

  • Dominic Magni, Business Development Manager, ASCO Power Services
  • Aaron Samuels, Regional Project Manager, ASCO Power Services

What IoT platforms can integrate their data to computerized maintenance management system (CMMS)?

Dominic Magni: Schneider Electric has many options available when it comes to software and systems integration under our EcoStruxure product line. EcoStruxure is Schneider Electric’s IoT-enabled, plug-and-play, open, interoperable architecture and platform, in Homes, Buildings, Data Centers, Infrastructure and Industries. Innovation at Every Level from Connected Products to Edge Control and Apps, Analytics and Services. Please contact us directly to further discuss this topic as we would like the opportunity to invite one of our Subject Matter Experts to join the discussion.

With a reactive load bank, I assume you can change the power factor at a given load?

Aaron Samuels: Yes, the reactivity of these style of load banks can be adjusted by adjusting the power factor. The VARs then increase and decrease with apparent power (KW) adjustments.

For older Veterans Affairs hospitals, is there a logic involved with temporary gensets serving 200 kW?

Aaron Samuels: At a minimum, we always need to provide a remote start scheme for temporary generators. How we accomplish those changes from site to site, but we usually need to parallel engine starts contacts from all involved ATS.

Older breakers are a concern I have, especially older facilities and FPE or Zinsco obsolete components.

Dominic Magni: Obsolete breakers are a shared concern, and their modernization should be included in these types of upgrades when they are present in the system. The local ASCO Power Services Account Representative should point them out and recommend replacement while performing a site survey at the onset of these types of modernization projects.

Were gen sections separated by floor levels and how was safety maintained that manpower could not get caught between separate gen sets

Aaron Samuels: Temporary generators are typically housed in mobile enclosures that are trucked to the site. These can be installed pretty much anywhere that can support their weight, but Occupational Safety and Health Administration approved safety measures must be always followed.

What is the time difference in labor hours to do a component replacement vs whole ATS replacement?

Aaron Samuels: Time frames for completion vary from site to site, but a Component Level modernization typically takes about half the time of a Pan and Door modernization from start to finish. The Pan and Door modernization also opens new levels of complexity that can extend the difference further.

Do the enclosures match the new component for mounting requirements?

Dominic Magni: For a component level modernization, the programmable logic controller (PLC) backplanes mounting footprints are identical. Other component mounting does require the installing technicians to modify the existing backplanes and doors to attach the replacement components.

Do you have an identical PLC/device or does it depend on system availability or you can produce it as required?

Dominic Magni: Depending on the type of upgrade being performed, a different type of PLC upgrade/ replacement will be utilized. A component level upgrade uses an updated GE Fanuc PLC and the existing program just needs to be converted using the latest CPU/PLC interface program. A pan and door or segregated controls solution will utilize Schneider Electric Modicon type PLCSs, which will contain the standard ASCO logic, plus any additional custom programming that may be required. These types of mods will go through a startup and commissioning project more like new equipment.