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Electrical Equipment Maintenance Needs The World Wide Web


WRITTEN BY WALTER POWELL
MIDWEST ELECTRICAL TESTING

This phrase may sound like a technical oxymoron, but we are in the "Information Age." Words like 'electrical maintenance' and 'electrical repair' may sound like verbal dinosaurs to Web-Techies, but our "real world" still trumps their paradigm. This is not a chicken or egg question as to which is more important, maintenance or the Web. No power, no Web! We win! But…today the electrical maintenance and repair world would be lost without the World Wide Web. We need the Web.

"Mission Critical" facilities such as hospitals, electronics manufacturing plants, and data processing centers require extremely reliable electrical power. Zero power interruptions. Zero down time. But today even heavy manufacturing facilities are skipping maintenance cycles because of the cost of lost production. Facilities with electrical systems and equipment not designed for continuous operation are pushing their maintenance cycles to 3, 4, even five years without scheduled service. But, when things go wrong and equipment fails, we need answers fast. We need access to parts and equipment fast.

What does all this have to do with electrical equipment and the World Wide Web? Quite simply, the answer is "Immediate Information." When an electrical equipment or switchgear supplier receives a call, the caller wants immediate information. They may sound like they want a circuit breaker or transformer, but actually what they want most, right then, is immediate answers to their questions. They want to know "Do you have it? How much does it cost? and How quick can we get it?" They just don't have time to wait for answers. Our switchgear operation is called "The Pit" because it operates just like the pit at a stock exchange. Phones continuously ringing, technical conversations, computer keyboards constantly clicking…all this is "information" on the move. And nothing in the history of man moves information faster than the World Wide Web. A computer connected to the Web now allows the same maintenance person to access the same information in seconds over the Internet.

If you search Google for the term "circuit breaker," in .09 seconds it will find over 888,000 locations of information on "circuit breaker." The same for transformers. How fast and powerful is the Internet? Search for the word "and" and Google will find over 3.3 billion sites in 0.16 seconds. You would not live long enough to count to 3.3 billion.

What has changed in the workplace to make the ability to get information quickly so important? Think back a few years. The electrical maintenance department of a medium size manufacturing plant was a beehive of activity because of all the personnel needed to staff the maintenance office. There may have been a maintenance manager, shift supervisor, foreman, expediter, scheduler, some one to order parts, a draftsman, a clerk to type forms, send forms, file forms…on and on. All this so the maintenance electricians had the parts and information they needed to do their work. And built into this infrastructure was a lag time of days, even weeks, for information to move and eventually turn into the parts or instructions the maintenance electrician needed. At most facilities today, this entire infrastructure and the people who kept it moving are gone. For many facilities there are no nonworking maintenance personnel. The electrical maintenance supervisor might be found changing a motor. What replaced all this infrastructure? Very simply, the "Computers and the Internet," the World Wide Web. A computer connected to the internet gives the maintenance electricians immediate access to the material they need. They can order on-line from their supply house and have it delivered the next day. Sometimes the same day.

The World Wide Web is now so powerful that you are able to search for equipment by the catalog number and immediately find a source of that specific piece of equipment. This is an extremely powerful development in search engine capabilities. It is also the consequence of highly developed Web Sites. Our web site development has taken twelve years at a market cost well over four million dollars and still growing.  Search Google for a Square D molded case circuit breaker catalog number IF34100 by just typing IF34100 in the Google search field. In 0.06 seconds, Google will take you directly to sources of that specific circuit breaker.

If you are searching for technical information on equipment, the Internet is exploding with information less than a second away. Although the World Wide Web is far from perfect, its usefulness as a "maintenance tool" continues to increase at an explosive rate.

The old world of electrical equipment maintenance and repair is now married to the new World Wide Web, the Internet, because the old support system has been replaced by a lightning fast computer connected to the greatest information system in history. Welcome the "Information Age" to our old world.

© 2018 MIDWEST Electrical Testing & Maintenance Co., Inc.
N93 W16170 Megal Drive · Menomonee Falls, WI 53051
Toll-Free: 800.803.9256 · Local: 414.461.8200 · Fax: 414.461.8485
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