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There are many reasons to consider retrofitting — and the primary reason is safety. Modernizing equipment provides enhanced and integrated protective functions, with options such as arc-flash reduction modes and other technologies not available on older units. Recently, Bell, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Textron, Inc., needed to replace a 4000 A Square D Bolt-Loc switch and integrate remote operations. The company, which makes military and commercial aircraft, has some of the strictest manufacturing regulations in the industry. Advanced Electrical & Motor Controls Inc. (AEAMC), collaborating with Shermco Industries, took on the job.

AEAMC’s Thomas Adams, the mechanical engineer who led the project, visited the Bell’s plant in Fort Worth, TX. He arrived at three o’clock in the morning, well before the facility opened, to avoid disturbing daily operations. He took pictures and measurements, documented existing controls within the switchboard, and did everything else needed to begin the design phase of the project. He also discovered an additional concern.

“During the site visit, we discovered that the switchboard had already undergone some modifications since the time it was originally installed. It was a perfect example of why these site visits can prove valuable in any retrofit process,” Adams noted.

After the initial data collection, Bell, Shermco, and AEAMC engineers considered solutions that would best fit Bell’s requirements and meet the company’s manufacturing regulations. Taking the previous switchboard modifications into account, the engineering team decided that the best solution was a new fixed-mount Square D MasterPact NW, which would meet the plant’s interrupt and protective requirements and allow for remote operation.

Over the following six weeks, AEAMC designed and developed a plug-and-play solution for replacing the outdated Bolt-Loc switch. The design work included renderings, elevation drawings, and sign-offs along the way, so the customer was kept informed and involved throughout the process. By the time the retrofit was completed, the Shermco engineers who will be performing the install later this year already knew the product they would be working with and had a detailed manual of the installation procedure in hand.  Bell is now set to seamlessly integrate a new circuit breaker overnight, with no downtime to its daytime operations.

This is one example of the numerous retrofits the engineering team at AEAMC has completed. Each retrofit presents unique mechanical and electrical challenges, but retrofits keep downtime and costs to a minimum and bring old equipment up to date and into compliance with current safety regulations.

AEAMC works with all major brands, including GE, ABB, Siemens, Square D, and Eaton. If you need to update old equipment within your electrical infrastructure, reach out to AEAMC and speak with one of our engineers to see what solutions we can provide for you.