Transfer of knowledge from manufacturer to user
In the age of Industry 4.0 and digital networking, it’s of major importance to have a continuously reliable power supply. After all, even short-lived mains failures or disruptions can result in considerable downtime for production processes. The result is that there is increased consideration concerning, not only quality requirements as to the power supply to be used, but also concerning the personnel who are responsible for safe and reliable operation of the equipment.
Today, many systems can be operated straightforwardly and much more reliably thanks to “HMI”s (human-machine-interfaces). And, if we place any priority on safety, there is no benefit to be gained merely from operating by guess and by good luck or using “trial & error” as a principle.
Minimise faults with adequate personnel instruction
The fact is that incorrect operation due to human error continues to represent a significant risk of failure. In order to prevent this, it makes sense for personnel to be adequately trained. This can easily be done at the stage of commissioning, for example.
Go with the possibilities
Modern power supply systems come ready equipped with a range of functions that are standard or available as options and which, if used to their best advantage, make it possible to achieve particularly effective operation and efficient monitoring of the system.
Consequently, it may be helpful when using a product for the first time to book in for a training course that goes above and beyond basic instruction. Attendees are explained the details of the scope of functions and are then able to assess the related benefit which they can apply when they are back at work.
For example, if it is possible for the system to be monitored via a network connection, then we need to find out the available interfaces and make an assessment of the safety functions. We should then take account of any safety precautions that may be necessary.
The period required for a given fault to be resolved may be anything from a few hours up to several days. The corresponding period breaks down as follows:
- Response time (from the point at which the alarm goes off until help arrives on site)
- Diagnosis period (time taken to detect the specific problem)
- Time taken to complete the repair
- Time required for recommissioning of the system
This period carries serious risks with regard to critical load, and frequently may result in financial losses. You need employees on site who are trained to carry out initial troubleshooting, especially if your system is operating somewhere remote from the manufacturer’s base.
Then the diagnostic period is drastically reduced, because it means that you can gather the right fault information together and send it to the manufacturer’s service department. The manufacturer can then supply the required spares and get the system up and running. Thus avoiding additional downtimes resulting from multiple journeys/visits; and that applies not only to troubleshooting but also to the spare parts that are not yet in hand.
In addition to this there is the fact that modular power supply systems not only enable much more straightforward troubleshooting, but are also quicker to repair. Faults can be resolved by replacing the defective module. This is where crucial advantages are obtained with “hot swap” capability systems, since modules can be swapped over on site, and this is something that can be entrusted with appropriately trained employees. If such employees are trained in the aspect of required safety, then downtimes can be ruled out altogether, or at least reduced to a minimum.
Training courses as a multiplying factor
If products are marketed and distributed via a multi-level structure, then the end user will, in many cases have no direct contact with the equipment manufacturer. In such cases, the customer’s 1st point of contact will be someone in the trade. This problem area can be resolved expertly and rapidly thanks to appropriate training as sourced from the manufacturer. This is how the customer’s satisfaction with the installed system can be enhanced as the product’s life-cycle evolves, subject to good training.
When new products come onto the market, such as the new BELATRON range of chargers for example, then you have to make certain that the associated distributor is acquainted with all of the product’s functions and capabilities and that the distributor is capable of assessing which product is ideally suited for which purpose. Subject to this knowledge, the distributor will then be able to offer the end customer the optimum solution for their respective application. This is why BENNING places such a high priority on ensuring that its associated distributors undergo rigorous training. This relates in particular to the range of traction chargers, and of course it is also worthwhile for the end customer to receive training.
Training courses with practical relevance – conducted on permanently installed power supply systems – also cover switching procedures most of whose content can only be covered theoretically if instruction is given on site at the customer’s premises. The precise content of training courses is individually tailored in consultation with the customer, so as to be relevant to the employed systems.
Correct application of knowledge
In many cases, however, knowledge concerning the scope of functions of an item of equipment and how it has to be handled, will not be enough. In that respect, let’s take a look at the range of testing, metrology and safety instrumentation.
It is now many years ago that legislation introduced the requirement for regular inspection/testing of all electrical plant and equipment, as the result of the regular occurence of accidents that had arisen in the past. Such inspection/testing is conducted using modern test apparatus which carries out the inspection/test procedures (and places them on record) on a partially automated basis. However, we should be wary of the impression, based on only these automated features, that everything is straightforward. After all, the direct responsibility rests with the inspector/tester to enable the apparatus to conduct the appropriate tests, so the inspector/tester has to expressly stipulate what is required from the corresponding test results. Given the diversity of the various products to be tested, there must be no oversights especially where knowledge which is not regularly called to mind will very soon fade.
Not forgetting the fact that standards which reflect the state-of-the-art are subject to regular change. Accordingly, the inspector/tester will need to be continuously re-trained in order to meet any additional or latest requirements. BENNING bears this situation in mind during the training. Training will cover not only the efficient operation of one’s plant but also the details of how to apply standards correctly and how to compare historic changes or innovations which may represent a departure from the previous status.
As an example, for BENNING’s IT 105, IT 115 and IT 130 installation test instruments and also for its ST 710, ST 725, 750 A and ST 755/760 equipment testers, specifically tailored training resources are available.
Available training courses cover:
Test/metrology instrumentation range
- BENNING IT 105, IT 115 and IT 130 installation tests
- BENNING ST 710, ST 725, ST 750 A and ST 755/760 system tests
- Testing of BENNING PV 1-1, PV 2 and PV 3 photovoltaic systems (Dates of training courses can be seen on www.benning.de or by direct enquiry)
Traction charger/rectifiers range
- BELATRON range of chargers
- TEBETRON range of chargers
- LIONIC battery systems
- BATCOM digital+ battery controller (Training dates available on request)
Range of stationary systems
- Range of ENERTRONIC UPS systems
- Range of BLT power supplies
- Range of BLI power supplies
- MCU 3000 remote monitoring system (Training dates available on request)
Collaborating with the sales department
Training courses that are tailored to fit specific needs are designed according to present and future market requirements. Direct contact with customers is always undertaken specifically by the BENNING sales team, at trade shows and exhibitions, for example. A regular exchange of information between the sales department and training centre, makes certain that customer’s specific needs and preferences are included in future training courses. For example, at the suggestion of the sales department, individually planned as well as fixed training dates can be offered today. If the requirement is for several training courses, from the field of measuring and testing for example, then the corresponding course dates can be co-ordinated with each other. This avoids the need for additional travelling.
Training in the manufacturer’s works
Modern seminar premises, equipped with the latest range of instrumentation, are available at the BENNING company site in Bocholt, so as to meet the various training requirements. Training at the manufacturer’s works is conducted in a clearly demarcated framework. Training is very effective in as much as the distracting effects of daily business in your own working environment are avoided. And further product specialists are available, should they need to be consulted in matters relating to development and production. Although instructions on fixed installations can be given on site, it’s beneficial going to the manufacturer’s base for an external training course. An example of the advantages of travelling to an industrial training centre is that the type of switching operations that can only be explained theoretically if you are in your working environment can be carried out, and learnt about, without placing the respective consumer at any risk.
An increasing trend
Over the last 10 years, there has been more than a 40% rise in the number of attendees using BENNING’s training centre. This is a trend which is going to continue in the current year 2019. This constitutes overwhelming evidence that companies are increasingly recognising the extent to which safe and economic viable operation can be greatly enhanced by attending training courses.