The wastewater plant called Friday morning, needing an emergency repair on a fire damaged control panel. The thing had gone up in flames. Click on the photos below for more of the gory details.
This customer is about two hours away. I scrambled to get together parts I thought I might need and hit the road. On the way out there, my network of co-workers put together an email containing drawings and DC drive settings from when we had modified the system (more than 10 years earlier). I also had a parts list and an explanation of how the machine, which the panel controlled, was supposed to operate.
When I arrived onsite I was told again how critical this fire damaged control panel was to the operation. The panel controlled a centrifuge at a municipal wastewater treatment plant. A speedy repair was critical.
Opening the panel revealed charred components top to bottom. Most of the insulation had burned off the wires, and no labels were to be found. I started pulling out the destroyed and damaged parts and wires.
By Friday evening, I had most of the panel empty, a new Bardac drive ordered for Saturday delivery, and a list of necessary parts. I returned to Houston, collected the relays, timers, contactors, and wires that I would need to rebuild the panel.
Saturday, I returned to the wastewater site and worked all day cleaning out the panel and installing all the parts. There were three sets of drawings for this machine because it had been modified a several times. Much of the new wiring had to be done based on how they wanted it to work, rather than following the drawings. I had to again call in for some backup help from colleagues to get the old drive settings in to the new unit. By Saturday night (around 11 p.m.), the centrifuge system was again operational.
I returned a couple of times the next week to clean up the panel, install new Delta-wye start contactors, and build and install the necessary mounting brackets. The customer was excited to have the system working again.
Jon McPherson is an Innovative-IDM field service technician based in Houston. You can contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.