Constellation PowerLabs Calibration Services Expands into New High Voltage Testing Facility
April 13, 2022
All facets of modern manufacturing involve high voltage and high-current electrical equipment. These components and modules are important company assets, and maintaining their safe, efficient operation is crucial to a company’s bottom line. This is accomplished through a set of routine testing, troubleshooting and diagnostics protocols designed to mitigate the delicate nature of electrical equipment and its premium importance to manufacturing and other high-tech industries.
Electrical components are often subject to power impulses resulting from lightning, electrostatic discharge or poor grounding. Also, over time, deterioration of power cables can occur due to partial discharges within the wiring insulation. These and numerous other conditions can lead to the failure of single modules, configurations of multiple components and entire systems.
Calibration services tailored to high-voltage gear are designed to measure and detect potential problem areas in cables, wiring, switchgear, transformers, bushings, insulators and circuitry before they become safety hazards and/or repair issues which interrupt production.
A Major Stateside Event
Until recently, high voltage testing and calibration services were limited in the Western Hemisphere — forcing many leading companies to ship delicate, high-voltage equipment overseas for testing. This incurred exorbitant costs and involved lengthy turnaround times. Since Constellation PowerLabs developed a partnership with Phenix Technologies, it has established the opportunity to perform full-scale, unmatched, accredited high voltage testing capabilities for companies in North and South America.
Constellation PowerLabs opened a new high voltage laboratory in the Pittsburgh area this spring, affording customers the opportunity to send in high voltage equipment for calibration. While PowerLabs continues to advance in various high voltage testing capabilities through its new Pittsburgh lab, on-site calibrations services are also provided to customers so equipment downtime can be reduced. This improved level of service saves time and money without disabling equipment or interrupting production.
Accredited for Quality Assurance
The new high voltage facility is certified at the highest levels of industry-recognized testing standards. This includes A2LA Accreditation — which assures laboratory proficiency and technical competency to ISO 17025 standards. This advanced level of certification involves a rigorous protocol of education, training, analysis, documentation, implementation, and auditing — a valuable degree of expertise which is applicable to most quality-sensitive and highly regulated industries.
AC and DC High Voltage Testing
Our lab’s AC voltage testing capabilities include 50/60 Hz, 1,000 kV RMS & Pk/√2. 17025. Constellation PowerLabs is also accredited up to 800 kV for DC voltage testing.
Impulse Voltage Testing
Voltage impulse systems can be calibrated up to 2.5 MV. These impulse systems are used to test the ability of equipment to withstand lightning type impulses. The calibration of the test equipment verifies the accuracy of producing similar voltages that would be generated by a bolt of lightning.
These pieces of equipment can include circuit breakers, surge protection devices, insulation materials, motors, coils, switches and cables among many other components. Testing helps avoid system shutdown due to impulses and surges which are common in many facilities.
Partial Discharge Testing
PowerLabs’ high voltage calibration services are 17025 accredited to perform partial discharge testing up to 10,000 pC. This phenomenon is common in medium and high voltage testing electronics.
When an air pocket within the wiring insulation experiences an electrical breakdown — a partial discharge occurs. The culmination of these discharges can eventually cause insulation failure, which can result in the malfunction of cables transformers and switchgear. Testing ensures that wiring assemblies are not approaching failure, and those that are can be systematically replaced.
Electrical components which are designed to collect and store energy in the form of an electric charge are known as capacitors, and can deteriorate over time due to aging, mechanical damage, extreme temperatures and power surges — which can cause any number of voltage interferences and frequency fluctuations.
Tan Delta Testing
Insulation on medium- and high-voltage wires and cables can deteriorate over time. This accredited testing service determines the degree to which this may or may not have occurred on a particular component, indicating whether replacement is warranted. This prevents equipment malfunction due to failed conductivity.
High Current Testing
Calibration services also offer high current testing that is ISO 17025 accredited up to 5,000 Amps and testing of NMI traceable current up to 20,000 Amps. This procedure tests the thermal stability of electrical equipment — specifically cables, switching cells and generator stats. This practice ensures that current-carrying components meet industry standards.
Motor Generator / Transformer Test Systems
This facet of Constellation PowerLabs high voltage calibration services test power and distribution transformers to ensure they are functioning safely and properly. Units are tested at full load and verified to be operating normally without overheating or shutting down.
With the new laboratory dedicated to high voltage calibrations, PowerLabs aims to better support customers’ high voltage equipment needs and will only continue to expand in high voltage capabilities.