Thinking of making the transition from Installation to Maintenance ?
Many Electrical Installation Contractors will, at some time, think about extending their skills into the often lucrative world of Electrical Maintenance.
Hands up those Guys ! … Yes, I knew it, lots of hands went up.
So, you dust off your City and Guilds 2360 / 2330 /NVQ3 and your 17th/18th edition certificates and start to research how to make the transition from Installing Stuff to Mending Stuff. You soon realise that the two electrical disciplines are really quite different in terms of culture, environment, work patterns and skills profile.
For example; the Maintenance Manager of a manufacturing plant would nearly always call for an electrical contractor to rehash the office lights even though he has 6 electrical maintenance engineers working for him just 10 metres away. Good job too because all of his guys have forgotten about Zs & Ze and conduit bashing and for them, traywork is something to do with not spilling the tea.
On the other hand, an Electrical Installation Contractor might be sick- in- the- toilets at the thought of having to repair an intermittent fault on an automated PLC controlled flow-line with 3phase Inverter Fed drives and not only that ; today, the wheels on the Profibus won’t go round and round !.
Quite clearly, if you’re an Installation Electrician, you will need some specific training to help you transcend to maintenance work. I would argue though, that you’re already most of the way there. You could undertake a series of electrical maintenance short-courses. Ask your training provider for a course to match a similar list to the one below and I don’t think you’ll be far off the target for initial Maintenance Skills.
- Electricity at Work Regulations
- Electrical Principles, current, Voltage, Resistance, Electromagnetism
- Correct use of multimeter and practice of testing procedures, reading values
- Testing 3phase cables and motors for continuity and insulation faults
- The 3phase, Neutral and Earth Factory distribution system
- Maintenance of 3phase motors, configuration for Star and Delta. 3ph motor starters
- Electrical Hazards including Electric Shock, Burns and Arcing
- Locking off the supply, testing for dead to GS38
- Overcurrent protective devices and RCD
- Practice in wiring motor control circuits
- Basic PLC device and logic programming
- Electronic sensors, inductive, capacitive, photo-electric, … npn and pnp
- Practice in hardwiring relays, timer and counter circuits
- Practice in wiring 3phase plugs
- Practice in wiring and testing 3phase motor controls in DOL and PMCB
- Inverter drives theory and programming
- Fault finding on 3phase power and 24volt control systems
- Practice in navigating around CAD produced electrical drawings
After this, typically, you would carry on with further short-courses, probably beginning with PLC training using Siemens S7, Mitsubishi or Allen Bradley PLCs (see a forthcoming blog).
Regarding Training Provider, whether you decide to attend a College or go to a private Training Provider, it’s probably a good idea to ask them to send you the Learning Outcomes for the course. This is a set of well defined learning points you will realise on the course, they should clearly set out everything you will learn.
These Course Learning Outcomes are really useful to a prospective employer trying to evaluate your skills …. and great for you to hand over during a job interview ; they might just help you get the job. So ask your Training Provider for the Learning Outcomes before you start the course.