Saturday, 26 July 2008

Factory Acceptance Test (FAT)

Factory Acceptance Test (FAT) is one of the important processes in Mechanical and Electrical (M&E) System installation during the construction phase of a project. In every M&E works, FAT is carried out after the approval of Shop Drawings by the project M&E Consultant, signifying that the manufacturing process of the switchboard or equipment could be carried out based on the Approved Shop Drawings.
FAT must be witnessed by the Consultant (designer) and the Superintending Officer and often accompanied by the Client to ensure that the products are manufactured in accordance to the tender specification. The various tests which have been specified in the Tender Specifications are to be carried out and witnessed by theproject team. The tested values obtained during the FAT must be as specified by the contractor in the tender submission (with standard tolerances allowed for by IEC standards).
Last Tuesday, I had a chance to attend a FAT on Chiller Switchboard of one of our projects. The FAT was carried out at the Energy Commission-approved Switchboard Manufacturer in Serdang.

The following Factory Inspections/Checks were carried out :
1. Physical Inspection of the switchboard (Type of switchboard, thickness, Form of Segregation, etc.);
2. The specification of the accessories (MCCB sizes (normal rating, kA-rating, class), type and cable sizes, Ammeter, Voltmeter, Digital Power Meter (DPM), protection relays (OC, EF, ELR), CTs (ratios, class & burden), Voltage Surge Suppressor (VSS);
3. Grounding bar inside the switchboard (50mm x 3mm);
4. Size of Main Busbar (R, Y, B & N) where current density < 1.5A/sq. mm. 5. Functional Tests on the Circuit Breakers, Contactors, Relays, etc. 6. Dielectric Test on Busbars (Pressture Test using 2000Vdc for 1 minutes between Phase-Neutral, Phase-Earth).
5. Checking the operation of Power Factor Regulator and verify the sizes of capacitors installed;
6. Checking the Current Transformers (Ratio, Class, Burden);
7. Ensure that the labelling at each MCCB is correct

Upon completion of all tests, the test certificates were signed by parties witnessing the FAT.

Taman Serdang Baru, Serdang, Selangor.

Monday, 21 July 2008

Electrical Installation at Golf Resort - A Case Study

Golf and Holiday Resorts have grown quite considerably fast in the last 15 years. This may be due to the economic boom experienced by the country and the world as a whole during those period.

As many resorts have been opened, competition to obtain membership to sustain the operating costs of the resorts get stiffer. Subsequently, Resort Managers had been forced to keep the maintenance costs to a minimum to keep the business alive. As the competition continues, one of the the easiest way to keep the operating cost low is by reducing the maintenance budget. This ‘hidden cost’ is very subjective and always fell victim to the resort managers as it is only known to those people who are directly involved in the maintenance activities.

There have been cases whereby Resort Managers had reduced the maintenance budget so much that has resulted in the quality of services offered by the resorts had tumbled dramatically. This has brought bad reputation to the resort.

Kukup Golf Resort (KGR) was one of our clients for a year between 2005 to 2006. We had carried out monthly Electrical Safety Inspection on its 11-kV and 415V systems during the 1-year period which ended suddenly due to Management Take-Over.
KGR is one of the four golf resorts in the country where we had offered our Safety Inspection Services for the past 10 years. The other three golf resorts under our list are in Selangor (1), Terengganu (1) and in Johor (1).

In my opinion, I believe Resort Manager had not put much emphasis on the requirement of Malaysia Electricity Acts 1990 (Act 447) and Malaysia Electricity Regulations 1994 when managing their respective resorts. The management has been iformed by their respective ‘Competent Person’ that failing to comply with the Act and Regulations, they are liable to be charged (penalty) for RM10,000 and RM1,000 per day for every day of non-compliance. In a real term, if this was to be calculated, a resort which has been operating for the past 5 years without complying to the Act 447 shall be penalised to pay an amount equal to RM10,000.00 plus RM(5 x 365 x 1,000) = RM 1.835 million !!!!

Some of the most common non-compliances by the Golf Resort’s Management are :

1. Does not employ the right category of Competent Person;

2. The registration of installation (including Generator Set) has expired;

3. Protection Relays re-calibration was not carried out;

4. Illegal wiring carried out by non-Competent Person;

5. Switch Rooms have been converted to Temporary Stores;

6. No as-built drawings to be referred to during power failures or break-down;

7. Switch Rooms are not kept locked at all times;

8. House-keeping of switch rooms are hardly or never carried out at all;

9. No testing at a five-year interval has ever been carried out ;

10. Provision of tools to maintenance staff is inadequate.

The above general remarks are equally true to most of the golf resorts and other installations (factories, ware-houses, complexes, etc.) inspected monthly by our Competent Electrical Engineers. Those are similar remarks written monthly inside Form I which were sent to the Energy Commission of Malaysia for record and further action.

I sincerely hope that all managers of any premises (golf resorts, factories, installations, etc.) to take note and treat the requirement of the Act 447 is equally important to the provision of the best facilities to your clients. Please take note that all hard works done by your F&B and Marketing departments will render useless once the electrical installation at your premises experiences a major break-down or fault due to poor maintenance caused by very low maintenance budget.

Examples of electrical accidents happened to KGR two years ago (shown in the photographs below) should be a lesson to all other resorts.

The after-effects were :

1. Cancellation of functions (loss in revenue);

2. Bad reputation to the resorts

3. Damage to perishable food stuffs;

4. Penalty to be paid to the Energy Commission (Suruhanjaya Tenaga) for non-compliance of the Act 447 and Electricity Regulations 1994;

5. Injury to personnel/staff

So, since money is not everything in life or business, the quality of electrical installation must be taken care of by the right Competent Person required by the law to ensure that the facilities at the resorts is well-taken care off and are always in a good operational condition.

Further details on facilities available at KGF could be obtained from the following web-site :

Transformer Oil Dielectric Test

This is one of the tests carried out on oil-immersed transformer (Oil Natural or ON). The mineral oil used acts as a coolant and insulator to transformer windings.
The dielectric test is carried out to check whether the dielectric strength of the oil is still within telerable limit i.e more than 30-kV after six (6) times voltage injection across 2.5mm gap (as per IEC standard).
The procedures to carry out the tests are as follows :
1. make sure the transformer oil temperature is relatively cool (about room temperature);
2. identify the location of sampling valve;
3. open the outer protective valve cap;
4. loosen the screw (valve) slowly until droplet of oil appears to flow out;
5. wet the inside beaker with oil by letting the oil flow into the beaker (rotating the beaker);
6. after the flow of oil into the beaker is constant and the beaker is about 20% full; throw away the initial oil;
7. slowly start the oil sampling by letting small jet of oil to flow into the beaker through the side wall;
8. make sure that the flow is smooth and no bubble is collected;
9. collect enough volume of oil into the beaker (at least 50% full)
10. once the sampling oil is adequate, wipe the outside beaker with clean rug/cloth
11. insert the beaker into the test compartment of the Oil Test Set
12. switch on the oil test set
13. select the desired standart of oil test
14. press the start button

The oil test will be carried out automatically by the set. The test is carried out by :
a. stirring the oil inside the beaker for 5 minutes;
b. slowly increase the voltage across the gap until the flash-over occurs
c. the voltage at which flash-over occured is the dielectric break-down voltage
d. after the flash-over, voltage will be cut-off
e. the fan will stir up the oil again for 2 mintes;
f. after 2 minutes has been reached, the voltage will be increased again until flash-over ocuur again;
g. this will be the second break-down voltage;
h. the 2-minute stirring and voltage injection test is repeated for another four (4) times;
i. after a total of 6 tests have been carried out, the average value is taken.

If the average break-down or flash-over voltage value is > 30-kV, the Oil has PASSED the test and likewise if the average break-down voltage is less than 30-kV, the oil has FAILED the test.
If the oil test fail, the oil can still be saved by carrying out Oil Filtration process. This service could be engaged from Electrical Service Contractor who has an Oil Filtration Machine.

Saturday, 19 July 2008

Testing & Commisioning 11-kV Sub-station

Typical 11/0.433-kV sub-station building (attached)

11-kV sub-station building normally houses 11-kV switchgear (Circuit Breaker, High Fuse Unit (HFU) or Load Break Switch (LBS), 11/0.433-kV Distribution Transformer and 415-V Low Voltage Switchboard. This three-room building normally measures 35' x 15' (10.6m x 4.6m) by TNB Standard or 39' x 15' (11.9m x 4.6m) according to JKR Standard.

As this building is the source of electricity supply to a new project, there is always an urgency that all the equipment be installed and commissioned before the other Mechanical and Electrical (M & E) equipment in the building are tested and put into service.

Thus, it is very important in all projects which receive the 11-kV supply (whether from TNB or exisiting 11-kV Main Intake Sub-station (MISS) or Main Switching Swithing (MSS) or Stesen Suis Utama (SSU - in Bahasa Malaysia) to properly test and commission every equipment installed inside the 11/0.433-kV sub-station before energizing or switching on the 11-kV supply to the said sub-station. This is imperative to ensure that the 400-V stepped-down 3-phase Low Voltage (LV) supply to be used for the Testing and Commissioning (T&C) of M&E equipment in the project does not experience any disturbance or causing any danger or untoward accident to the contracting personnel.

According to the Malaysia Electricity Regulations 1994, before any electricity supply to be given to a new premises, Forms G and H must be submitted to the Supply Authority for record and approval.
Form G denotes that a Competent Person has duly verified that he or she has carried out the supervision of the installation works (and it has been done according to the safety rules and regulations) while Form H submitted by the Competent Person who had confirmed that all tests have been carried out on all equipment which are to be energised and he has confirmed that it is safe to switch on the electricity supply to the 11-kV switchgear, transformer and LV Board.

Some of the basic tests on the equipment housed in the 11-kV sub-station are :

A. 11-kV Switchgear (Circuit Breaker or RMU)
1. Insulation Test 1 : using 5-kV DC
2. AC Pressure Test for 1 minute (record leakage current)
3. Insulation Test 2 : using 5-kV DC
4. Vacuum Check (if Vacuum Circuit Breaker is used)
5. SF6 gas check (if SF6 CB is used)
6. Calibration of all out-going circuits protection relays
7. Calibration of protection relays according to settings approved by TNB or Consultant
8. Insulation, Ratio (and pressure test) on 11/0.110-kV Potential Transformer
9. Insulation Test on incoming 11-kV cable (5-kV DC)
10. Pressure Test on 11-kV XLPE Cable (Very Low Frequency (VLF) = 19-kV AC for
60 minutes/phase)
11. Tripping Test on Transformer Alarm and Trip Temperatures
12. Verify and Test Earth Resistance

11-kV SF6 Ring Main Unit, Vermin-proof netting,
Grounding Copper Tape & Ventilation Louvred Opening

B. Distribution Transformer
1. Insulation Test (P-E, P-S, S-E)
2. Ratio Test (at every tap, 1 to 5)
3. Insulation Test on Primary and Secondary Cables
4. Verify Star-pint Neutral earth point and pit

11/0.433-kV 1000KVA ONAN Transformer : Alarm
& Trip connection; trenching, cable support

C. Main Switch Board (MSB or LV Board)
1. Calibrate all protection relays
2. Insulation Test on all out-going cables
3. Insulation Test on the main busbar
4. Check Earth Resistance
5. Ensure Voltage Surge Supressor (VSS) is earthed accordingly.

1600A 415-V Main Switch Board : relay
calibration, as-built drwgs, label, panel opening

Once all the test results are produced and verified by the Consulting Engineer/Designer and all tests have been verified by the Service Engineer, then only the 11-kV electricity supply be switched on the incoming Circuit Breaker/LBS.

There are other basic and important requirement such as Danger and No-Entry signages, 11-Kv and 415-V Switch Boards labelling, Rubber Mat, CPR Intruction Manual, As-built Diagram, etc. must be installed before or once the switchboards are energised.

Photographs below show some of the defects or non-compliances to Electricity Regulations of an 11-kV installation which has been energised !!!
It is hope that immediate actions are taken by the Project manager to ensure that the 11-kV installation does not cause any danger to the operating personnel within the vicinity of the 11-kV sub-station.

Some of the defects observed at the energised 11-kV sub-station are :

A. 11-kV Switchgear (Circuit Breaker or RMU)
1. There is no label at Ring Main Unit - Danger sign, etc.
2. Incoming and outgoing 11-kV cables are not properly or firmly supported;
3. 11-kV trench is still littered with waste materials (paper, wood, plastic, etc.)
4. No as-built drawing framed at the wall of the room;
5. LV Board shares the same room with the HT equipmnt (problem of competency personnel)
6. Louvred windows to be fitted with SWG23 Mesh 10 vermin-proff wire netting
7. Earth pit for 11-kV RMU earthing is not found/could not be located (identified)
8. 11-kV Log Book is to be provided
9. Temperature Alarm & Trip facilities at the RMU - could not be verified
10. Trench cover must be provided and the trench shall be filled with clean river sand
11. To test and verify Earth Resistance connected to HT panel

B. Distribution Transformer
1. 11-kV Primary cable termination is a bit doubtful (saddled with wood)
2. Cable trenches are not properly constructed and covered
3. Secondary cables (415V) are not properly saddled/bracketed to the side walls of trench;
instead the cables are 'pulling-down' the bus-bar attached to cable termination flags
4. PVC/PVC green cable used as star-point neutral is not properly terminated/linked/welded
to the earth electrode at the earth pit;
5. To verify whether the Alarm and TRip contacts are linked to the Ring Main Unit (RMU)

C. Main Switch Board (MSB or LV Board)
1. All protection relays were not calibrated by Service Engineer
2. Some of front metal panels could not be closed due to misalignment;
3. MCCB panels must be correctly labelled;
3. Short-circuit Current Rating (Isc) of some MCCBs are not 43-kA minimum
4. Power Factor correction capacitor bank is to be tested and commissioned
5. Cable trenches c/w cover is not properly installed (debris still littered at the bottom of the
6. Log book is to be provided;
7. CPR instruction framed-poster is to be installed inside the LV Room.

11/0.433-kV Tx : grounding pit, cleaniness,
cable trench, trench cover

Note : It is not the intention of the Inspector to find fault on the project execution. As a Service Electrical Engineer, I would like to say that legally and for safety sake, the sub-station and its related components SHOULD NOT BE ENERGISED YET as there are still impending job such as relay calibration, labelling, trench works, etc which were not done yet but are VERY IMPORTANT to ensure safety to the equipment and personnel handling it.