Your electrical infrastructure is only as resilient as the frayed wires, ageing fuses or the piece of poorly serviced switchgear…are you confident you can keep the lights on?
I think we’d all agree, an advanced warning about most things provides an advantage. It can be anything from the weather, to the economy, to our friends’ and families’ health. Insight, foresight, call it what you will but there’s never been a time where Benjamin Franklin’s quote has been truer; ‘by failing to prepare, prepare to fail’. For businesses, risk is something that needs to be managed closely, every day.
At Siemens, we’re in the business of mitigating electrical risk for our customers to such an extent that it turns into an opportunity. But what do I mean by that? More often than not, electrical failure at a business is not because of ignorance or even negligence, but simply because of the large amount of time a company of any size can go between mandated audits. The current time for a large manufacturer or industrial site is three years. Your car’s MOT is every 12 months. Shouldn’t your organisation’s health check come sooner?
Whether they are hospitals, universities, manufacturers or utility providers, one commonality our customers all share is their electrical infrastructure. It’s a complex network which has evolved over time, and probably contains many decades’ worth of legacy equipment. For some organisations, it can be like owning a Wolseley from the 1920s and driving around in it 100 years later. However, instead of original equipment manufacturer (OEM) approved parts, it’s got some from Triumph (1885), Hillman (1907), Vanden Plas (1870), as well as a few from Tesla (2003), Polestar (1996) and Lexus (1989).
It’s oversimplifying the point, but your electrical infrastructure has been added to, adapted, modified and in most cases, we see a long tail of now defunct companies’ parts scattered throughout a facility.
The experts the experts call
Now imagine taking your Wolseley to your local Kwik-Fit. You’d get some pretty perplexed faces staring back at you. But what if you could take it to Wolseley themselves? I realise they went bust in 1975 but if you could then you would.
That’s where we come in. We’re not in the business of servicing Wolseley cars, but we’re also not just talking about Siemens’ electrical hardware, either. In 2005, we acquired the Reyrolle brand from VA Tech. Founded by Alphonse Reyrolle in 1886, it was a British engineering firm based in Hebburn, Tyne and Wear in the North East of England. For many years the company was one of the largest employers on Tyneside. The good news is that we still operate out of the original Reyrolle facility in Hebburn. We still own the technical drawings, we still manufacture spares but most importantly, we’re the original equipment manufacturer.
Our lab-like environment combines over 100 years’ of Reyrolle and Siemens’ expertise to offer a truly modern service for customers using legacy equipment. We’re extremely respectful of our heritage, but we’re never constrained by it. Our approach means that we can repair, service and maintain the complete Reyrolle and Siemens switchgear portfolio to OEM standard, and offer digitalised, connected solutions to retrofit ageing switchgear, or replace when required.
We’re not here to perpetuate the traditional ‘fit and forget’ mentality. This process all starts with a resilience audit from our expert technical team who have seen and solved almost every electrical infrastructure conundrum. But audits of your systems don’t just start and end with us being on site. We can partner with your business to ensure regular or live diagnostics are put in place, and that service schedules, expansion requirements and capacity challenges are all managed.
In days gone by, you’d know an electrical relay was going to fail because if might get very hot, or breakers would trip regularly. We can install software to monitor infrastructure performance and pre-emptive digitalised switchgear that can spot even the slightest indication of a failure. It’s the same with your car. Even though you service it every 12 months, a car is designed to give you live warnings of faults. Oil pressure, tyre pressures, fuel, it’s all there to help equip you with the information to act. Why should your facility be any different?
If your system is quite literally one extra light switch away from an overload, our experts will talk you through how to mitigate the risks associated with expansion, calling on our 170 years of expertise in the field of electricity generation and transmission.
The future is green
This holistic, broader understanding of your electrical resilience can result in opportunities, as I alluded to earlier. Since the announcement of the 10-point green recovery plan, companies have been in touch with us, using us for our consultative services. Questions have ranged from, ‘in 5 years’ time, will I be required to install column EV charging points for my employees?’ ‘Will our facility’s reliance on gas come under greater scrutiny in the next 10 years?’ And ‘how do we start electrifying our site and install on-site energy generation?’
These are the questions we hear every week and yes, electrification is our greatest weapon against rising carbon levels in our world. Electricity from renewables, on-site generation and greater grid resilience are all services offered by my team and my colleagues in Smart Infrastructure.
Worth the risk?
Resilience is a term all businesses are familiar with, and never more than in 2020 during the pandemic. For us, it means a resilience of people, processes and infrastructure. Your system is only as resilient as the frayed wires, ageing fuses, or the piece of poorly serviced switchgear. An unforeseen failure may, or may not, be minutes away and cost you anything from a few thousand pounds to the safety of your employees.
Do you have questions about your electrical infrastructure’s resilience? Find the answers or ask our tech experts on our energy resilience hub: siemens.co.uk/energy-resilience