Updated: Nov 26, 2018
An efficient and safe switchboard is vital for productivity. Eventually every switchboard will need to be upgraded or refurbished but knowing when the equipment is at “end of Life” can be tricky.
It’s tempting to put off an upgrade or refurbishment due to budget constraints, but in many cases, this turns out to be a false economy.
Here are the top three reasons to upgrade a switchboard.
When making the decision about whether to upgrade a switchboard, it’s important to factor in maintenance costs which can quickly add up if expensive repairs and modifications are needed. These costs will only continue to rise each year as the switchboard ages.
Downtime due to failure is another factor. How much is the cost of not being able to do business or continue production?
Finding faults in older models is both time consuming and expensive. Making modifications and additions to a congested switchboard can push costs up even further.
2. Energy Efficiency
To put it simply, older control equipment uses more energy. A switchboard with a history of changes will very likely have control and energy problems due to the outdated control methods, equipment and installation materials used. Loose wiring causes equipment to constantly restart, which in turn causes the lights, motors and electric heats to increase their current, pushing up energy use and costs.
Due to advances in technology, older equipment uses more energy to complete the same functions. Efficiencies have been gained through improvements in wiring, better and more secure terminations, larger core cables and better circuit design. Use of materials such as switching relays, contractors and controls have also led to more efficient energy use, saving money and time.
3. Health & Safety
Health and safety risks are a major reason to upgrade or refurbish a switchboard. Older switchboards can hide many hazards, including loose connections, brittle terminals, incorrect wiring or changes to wiring without correct documentation, and improper use of colour-coded cables.
Older boards are also more likely to be messier, making it harder for heat to escape. This increases the risk of fire. The back board may also contain asbestos, posing a serious health risk if not replaced. The best way to avoid these risks is to correctly maintain the switchboard and act promptly to upgrade or refurbishing the equipment when it has reached “end of Life.”
Upgrading or refurbishing a switchboard will reduce health and safety risks, while saving time, money and energy.