Engineering systems in manufacturing, industrial buildings: Electrical, power, and lighting systems

Manufacturing and industrial facilities have some unusual engineering requirements, including demanding power requirements.

06/24/2013


Jonathan Eisenberg, PE, Associate Manager, Rolf Jensen & Associates Inc., Boston. Courtesy: Rolf Jensen & AssociatesBrian P. Martin, PE, PDX Electrical Discipline Manager, CH2M Hill, Portland, Ore. Courtesy: CH2M HillPeter Pobjoy, PE, LEED AP, Chief Design Officer, Southland Industries, Los Angeles. Courtesy: Southland IndustriesPeter Zak, PE, Principal, GRAEF USA, Milwaukee. Courtesy: GRAEF USA

Participants

Jonathan Eisenberg, PE, Associate Manager, Rolf Jensen & Associates Inc., Boston

Brian P. Martin, PE, PDX Electrical Discipline Manager, CH2M Hill, Portland, Ore.

Peter Pobjoy, PE, LEED AP, Chief Design Officer, Southland Industries, Los Angeles

Peter Zak, PE, Principal, GRAEF USA, Milwaukee  


CSE: Describe some recent electrical/power system challenges you encountered when designing a new building or updating an existing building.

Manufacturing and industrial structures frequently include a significant level of computer and server equipment, adding to the complexity. Courtesy: CH2M HillMartin: With the newer facilities, the power demands and power density have increased quite a bit. Securing the capacity from the utility and designing the duct bank to dissipate the heat has been an interesting challenge. It has been common practice in the utility realm to understand the RHO of their duct bank backfill, but that hasn’t been as widely understood in the industrial market. On recent jobs, we have been requesting soil testing with a 28-day dry out. Where we are unable to do that, we’ve been specifying a concrete backfill with a controlled thermal characteristic. This helps mitigate the soil dry out and resulting thermal runaway. Even then, we have been requesting thermal resistivity testing of the concrete fill to confirm our assumptions. 

CSE: Describe a recent project in which you specified back-up, standby, or emergency power in such a facility. What challenges did you face, and how did you overcome them? 

Eisenberg: On our South American project, we sized the site fire water loop and fire pumps based on the largest hydraulic demand, which is an outdoor hazardous gas storage area. When the facility owner considered changing the gas storage container type, we needed to revisit our assumptions for fire pump sizing. Because the fire pumps are served by the emergency generator, the storage change caused us to verify if the generator is adequately sized to handle a larger fire pump.

Martin: On a recent project, we designed a greenfield facility with large backup power requirements. Only a small proportion of those loads were truly emergency loads. The difficulty was to distribute the emergency power to these loads that were widely dispersed throughout the site, using a set of paralleled generators and insuring that they received power within 10 seconds. The key was to be very judicious and work with the AHJ to properly classify loads that are emergency, coordinate our requirements with the generator vendor to make sure that we could sync multiple generators within 10 seconds, and then properly coordinate the restart of the equipment with the control system.

CSE: What high-voltage challenges have you encountered in these facilities, such high demand for power, demand response issues, etc.?

Eisenberg: On a hydrogen storage and fueling project, we observed high-voltage power lines that encroached on the required separation distance from the process equipment. In this case, the easiest solution was to relocate the power lines. 

Martin: Nearly all of the facilities we design have a medium voltage utility service (more than 600 Vac). As we’ve seen the loads increase, we’ve been increasing the serving voltage to the site, and thus to the primary of the distribution transformers. The main issues have been making sure that owners understand the extra maintenance requirements of medium-voltage equipment, making sure that a proper protection scheme is designed and implemented, and then coordinating this scheme with the utility. This requires close collaboration with the utility, and even then, utilities typically do not ramp capacity with the same speed that industrial clients desire. We often have to design an interim protection scheme that can be in place while the utility adds capacity.

CSE: What unique lighting systems have you specified into a manufacturing or industrial facility recently? What unique demands did you meet for your client?

Martin: We’ve designed zone-based lighting controls, daylighting, and areas with occupancy sensors and have gone as far as designing networked lighting systems that allow for individually controlled luminaires. The unique demands that we have seen are trying to meet clients’ expectations for light levels while still meeting energy codes. Some states no longer provide energy code exemptions for manufacturing spaces. We have also had quite a few interesting discussions for meeting LEED criteria for an industrial building.

Eisenberg: Our industrial/chemical work often includes a review of Article 500 of the National Electrical Code to determine the delineation of Class I and II, Division 1 and 2 areas. As part of this analysis, we can be asked to look at lighting for certain areas of a facility and determine if the enclosures meet the requirements for a hazardous location as defined by the NEC.



No comments
The Top Plant program honors outstanding manufacturing facilities in North America. View the 2013 Top Plant.
The Product of the Year program recognizes products newly released in the manufacturing industries.
The Engineering Leaders Under 40 program identifies and gives recognition to young engineers who...
The true cost of lubrication: Three keys to consider when evaluating oils; Plant Engineering Lubrication Guide; 11 ways to protect bearing assets; Is lubrication part of your KPIs?
Contract maintenance: 5 ways to keep things humming while keeping an eye on costs; Pneumatic systems; Energy monitoring; The sixth 'S' is safety
Transport your data: Supply chain information critical to operational excellence; High-voltage faults; Portable cooling; Safety automation isn't automatic
Case Study Database

Case Study Database

Get more exposure for your case study by uploading it to the Plant Engineering case study database, where end-users can identify relevant solutions and explore what the experts are doing to effectively implement a variety of technology and productivity related projects.

These case studies provide examples of how knowledgeable solution providers have used technology, processes and people to create effective and successful implementations in real-world situations. Case studies can be completed by filling out a simple online form where you can outline the project title, abstract, and full story in 1500 words or less; upload photos, videos and a logo.

Click here to visit the Case Study Database and upload your case study.

Maintaining low data center PUE; Using eco mode in UPS systems; Commissioning electrical and power systems; Exploring dc power distribution alternatives
Synchronizing industrial Ethernet networks; Selecting protocol conversion gateways; Integrating HMIs with PLCs and PACs
Why manufacturers need to see energy in a different light: Current approaches to energy management yield quick savings, but leave plant managers searching for ways of improving on those early gains.

Annual Salary Survey

Participate in the 2013 Salary Survey

In a year when manufacturing continued to lead the economic rebound, it makes sense that plant manager bonuses rebounded. Plant Engineering’s annual Salary Survey shows both wages and bonuses rose in 2012 after a retreat the year before.

Average salary across all job titles for plant floor management rose 3.5% to $95,446, and bonus compensation jumped to $15,162, a 4.2% increase from the 2010 level and double the 2011 total, which showed a sharp drop in bonus.

2012 Salary Survey Analysis

2012 Salary Survey Results

Maintenance and reliability tips and best practices from the maintenance and reliability coaches at Allied Reliability Group.
The One Voice for Manufacturing blog reports on federal public policy issues impacting the manufacturing sector. One Voice is a joint effort by the National Tooling and Machining...
The Society for Maintenance and Reliability Professionals an organization devoted...
Join this ongoing discussion of machine guarding topics, including solutions assessments, regulatory compliance, gap analysis...
IMS Research, recently acquired by IHS Inc., is a leading independent supplier of market research and consultancy to the global electronics industry.
Maintenance is not optional in manufacturing. It’s a profit center, driving productivity and uptime while reducing overall repair costs.
The Lachance on CMMS blog is about current maintenance topics. Blogger Paul Lachance is president and chief technology officer for Smartware Group.