Why did the chicken cross the road? He didn’t. He hopped on a private jet and flew to Texas for a 4,000-amp high pressure contact switch.
ON APRIL 1, 2014, a Southeast chicken processing plant wasn’t fooling around when they called their go-to electrical contractor, Caldwell Electrical Contractors (Gainesville, Ga.), to say their processing plant was down due to a faulty electrical switch manufactured from the late 1960s to the mid-1980s. This vertically integrated poultry producer operates multiple facilities throughout the Southeast, producing a billion pounds of poultry products each year, and employing thousands of individuals. Until a replacement switch could be found, more than 1,100 employees would have to stand down.
Caldwell’s owner, Daniel Caldwell, called long-time supplier Roland Munguia, sales manager at Astro Controls, Inc. (Irving, Texas), who said that Astro had the equipment and technicians to get the job done ASAP. The switch in need of replacement was a Square D Bolt-Loc Switch cat # BLO3440 3-pole, 480V 4,000 amps with a 120V AC shunt trip. “We got the call midday and immediately assigned several technicians to start reconditioning the switch, a process that typically would take two to four days,” Munguia recalls. “We completely reconditioned the switch, tested it, prepared full testing documentation, and were ready to go within three to four hours.”
Meanwhile, Caldwell Electrical Contractors chartered a private jet to fly to Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport to pick up the replacement. On finishing reconditioning around 6 p.m., the technicians drove the switch to the airport and personally loaded the part onto the jet. After some counterbalancing by the pilot to accommodate the more than 380-pound part, it was time for lift-off.
“We knew we had to have this switch as soon as possible as this stopped the night shift’s production and canceled the next day’s production for the entire plant,” said Daniel Caldwell. “After calling local distributors with no success in locating this Bolt Loc switch, we turned to Astro Controls based off our previous experience and their quick response time. What others didn’t have or couldn’t find, Astro had in stock, and they were able to rebuild a switch four states away. With a chartered jet, the switch was in our hands and in less than 12 hours. This type of customer service is what brings us back to them time and time again. Their inventory and customer service is second to none in the remanufactured electrical industry.”
Caldwell Electrical Contractors provides electrical services for large and small customers in a variety of industries, including manufacturers, packaging plants, schools, airports, retail shops, physician offices, hospitals, poultry industry feed mills, and more.
“Our technicians were all over this project, and we were glad to have helped a customer in need,” says Randy Roumillat, president of Astro Controls. “The plane left about 7 p.m. Central Time, and we got a text message from Caldwell around 3 a.m. that the plant was up and running.”