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ELECTRICAL ENGINEERING FEASIBILITY STUDIES FOR MANUFACTURERS

As an electrical contractor, you are hired by the owner of a manufacturing facility left vacant by its previous occupant. You are tasked to ensure that all existing electrical equipment/service can be re-used by the new occupant. Feasibility studies need to be conducted in the facility. What are these electrical engineering feasibility studies? What preparations do they require? What will be their content?

 

Electrical engineering feasibility studies are an essential part of the planning process for any project. They help determine if the existing electrical equipment and service in the vacant manufacturing facility can be re-used by the new occupant. They typically assess technical, financial, and operational aspects to determine the viability of the project.

1. Reusing Electrical Equipment/Service

In this context, the feasibility studies will focus on three main areas: Technical, Financial, Operational.

a. Technical Feasibility:

Our feasibility studies evaluate the condition, age, and compatibility of the existing electrical equipment and infrastructure, as well as their ability to meet the new occupant's requirements. They also consider any necessary upgrades or modifications.

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b. Financial Feasibility:

As electrical contractors, we can estimate the costs associated with reusing, upgrading, or replacing existing electrical equipment and service, as well as any potential savings from reusing existing assets. We help our clients understand the financial implications and make informed decisions. 

c. Operational Feasibility:

 

Our feasibility studies examine the potential impact on the manufacturing facility's operations, including factors such as safety, reliability, and regulatory compliance.

2. Preparing Electrical Engineering Feasibility Studies

To prepare these feasibility studies, Blanco Electric Ltd. takes the following steps:

a. We collect and review existing documentation:

We obtain any available documentation on the electrical equipment and service, including equipment manuals, maintenance records, and previous inspection reports.

b. We conduct site visits and assessments:

We visit the facility to inspect visually the equipment and gather additional information. We perform assessments to determine the condition of the equipment and identify any potential issues.

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c. We consult with stakeholders:

We engage with the new occupant to understand their specific needs and requirements. This includes production capacity, power quality, and energy efficiency considerations.

d. We research and analyze options:

We investigate the costs, benefits, and potential risks associated with various options for reusing, upgrading, or replacing the equipment.

e. We engage with external experts

We consult with specialists, as needed, to obtain expert advice on specific aspects of the electrical equipment and service.

3. Content of Electrical Engineering Feasibility Studies

In their final format, feasibility studies provide a comprehensive analysis and clear recommendations to our clients. They include:

a. Executive summary:

A brief overview of the findings and recommendations.

b. Technical assessment:

A detailed analysis of the condition and compatibility of the existing electrical equipment and service, along with any necessary upgrades or modifications.

By way of example, let’s consider a manufacturing facility located in Houston, TX, previously used for producing plastic products. The new occupant intends to use the facility for metal fabrication. The technical assessment will focus on the condition and compatibility of the existing electrical equipment and infrastructure, including power distribution systems, transformers, switchgear, motor control centers (MCCs), and lighting systems.

1. Power distribution systems:

a. We assess the facility's main electrical service entrance, including the incoming utility service capacity, transformers, and switchgear. We compare the existing capacity with the anticipated load requirements for the new occupant's metal fabrication processes.

b. We inspect and test the condition of cables, conduits, and other distribution components. We identify any signs of wear, corrosion, or other damage that could impact reliability or safety.

c. We evaluate the grounding and bonding system to ensure it meets current code requirements and is suitable for the new occupant's operations.

2. Transformers:

a. We review the specifications, age, and maintenance history of the existing transformers.

b. We determine if the transformers' capacities and voltage ratings match the new occupant's requirements.

c. We perform inspections and tests, such as winding resistance, insulation resistance, and dissolved gas analysis, to assess the condition of the transformers.

3. Switchgear and MCCs:

a. We inspect the condition of the switchgear and MCCs, including the physical condition of the enclosures, the integrity of insulation, and the functionality of the protective devices (e.g., circuit breakers and relays).

b. We check for any signs of overheating, arcing, or other damage.

c. We verify if the existing switchgear and MCCs can accommodate the new occupant's equipment, such as welding machines, CNC machines, and metal cutting equipment.

4. Lighting systems:

a. We assess the condition, efficiency, and suitability of the existing lighting systems for the new occupant's operations. This includes evaluating the illumination levels and potential for glare or other visual discomfort.

b. We verify if the lighting systems meet current energy efficiency and safety standards.

5. Compatibility analysis:

a. We identify any unique power quality requirements for the new occupant's equipment, such as harmonics mitigation, power factor correction, or voltage regulation.

b. We evaluate the compatibility of the existing electrical infrastructure with the new occupant's production equipment and processes, including any necessary modifications to accommodate different voltage levels, frequencies, or control systems.

Based on the detailed analysis, our technical assessment report provides recommendations for any necessary upgrades or modifications to ensure that the existing electrical equipment meets the new occupant's requirements. This may include replacing undersized transformers, upgrading switchgear, retrofitting MCCs, or installing new lighting systems. Our report also addresses any safety or code compliance concerns identified during the assessment.

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c. Financial analysis:

We provide a breakdown of the costs and potential savings associated with various options for reusing, upgrading, or replacing the equipment, including a comparison of the options.

Our financial analysis aims to provide our client with a clear understanding of the costs and potential savings associated with each of these: (a) Re-using existing electrical equipment; (b) Upgrading electrical equipment; (c) Replacing electrical equipment.

Here is a detailed example of a financial analysis for each option in the context of a metal fabrication facility in Houston, TX:

a) Re-using existing electrical equipment:

Costs:

Inspection, testing, and commissioning costs: This includes the cost of verifying the condition and functionality of the existing electrical equipment before reusing it.

Minor repairs and maintenance: Include any costs related to fixing minor issues discovered during the inspection and testing phase.

Potential savings:

Capital expenditure savings: Re-using existing equipment can lead to significant savings in initial capital expenditure compared to upgrading or replacing equipment.

Operational expenditure savings: If the existing equipment is energy-efficient and in good condition, there could be savings in energy costs and maintenance expenses.

b) Upgrading electrical equipment:

Costs:

  • Upgrade costs: This includes the costs of materials and labor for upgrading existing equipment, such as retrofitting switchgear or modifying MCCs.

  • Inspection, testing, and commissioning costs: Include the costs associated with verifying the upgraded equipment's functionality and safety.

Potential savings:

  • Reduced capital expenditure: Upgrading equipment can be more cost-effective than complete replacement, leading to savings in initial capital expenditure.

  • Improved operational efficiency: Upgraded equipment may have improved energy efficiency, resulting in reduced energy costs over time.

  • Decreased maintenance costs: Upgraded equipment might require less maintenance, leading to lower operational costs.

c) Replacing electrical equipment:

Costs:

  • Equipment purchase costs: Include the costs of purchasing new electrical equipment such as transformers, switchgear, MCCs, and lighting systems.

  • Installation and commissioning costs: Factor in the costs related to the removal of existing equipment, installation of new equipment, and testing and commissioning.

  • Disposal costs: Consider any costs associated with the disposal or recycling of the old equipment.

Potential savings:

  • Increased energy efficiency: New electrical equipment often has better energy efficiency, leading to reduced energy costs over time.

  • Lower maintenance costs: New equipment may require less maintenance and have fewer unexpected failures, resulting in lower operational expenses.

  • Enhanced safety and compliance: New equipment will likely comply with the latest safety standards and codes, reducing the risk of accidents or penalties due to non-compliance.

After evaluating the costs and potential savings for each option, our financial analysis presents a comparison of the options, taking into account factors such as the payback period, net present value (NPV), and return on investment (ROI). This information helps our clients make informed decisions about the most cost-effective approach for their facilities.

d. Operational impact:

We conduct an evaluation of the potential effects on the facility's operations, including safety, reliability, and regulatory compliance.

e. Recommendations

We produce clear and well-supported recommendations for the most feasible and cost-effective option(s) for our clients, based on the technical, financial, and operational analyses.

f. Appendices:

They include any relevant supporting documentation, such as equipment specifications, maintenance records, or expert opinions.

 

By conducting thorough feasibility studies as electrical contractors in Houston, we help our clients make informed decisions regarding the reuse of the existing electrical equipment and service in their manufacturing facility.

This accelerates the timetable of the move-in of a new tenant, and therefore helps our clients generate a positive cash-flow on their manufacturing facility sooner. This also helps our clients negotiate leasing conditions with any new tenant from a better position, and possibly lower their insurance premiums on the facility.

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