Can video conferencing adequately take the place of physical presence sessions for simulations and tests?
Customers mostly consider that it’s essential to have on-site works acceptance tests, depending on the complexity of the power supply system.
These tests make it possible to confirm adherence to the contractually established specifications and requirements as applicable to the power supply system. They also make it possible to ensure that the system – under the defined conditions – is going to operate as expected.
Once this test has been successfully completed, then the system can be delivered as planned, installed on site and commissioned.
The extent of the acceptance framework will be determined by the client’s requirements, and it will include not only function checks and simulations but also the verification of documents, manuals, diagrams and drawings.
BENNING conduct these tests in conjunction with the respective project team from its international clients, including the test centres at its Bocholt site. Since the onset of the pandemic – which has given rise to restrictions on travel and contact – BENNING has offered attendance by video conferencing as the alternative to acceptance sessions requiring physical presence.
In order to meet this challenge, the technical prerequisites were set up in all of the test centres, and the entailed processes were slightly adapted and agreed with the clients, with adequate time in hand.
The lead time prior to an acceptance session is approximately two to four weeks. The client can take this period as the opportunity to carry out a preliminary check of the technical documentation – such as circuit diagrams, dimensional drawings, parts lists and test reports – as already provided by BENNING. The client can then present BENNING with questions, or specify certain simulations.
Accordingly, the acceptance session as such will take place by online video conferencing. Hardly anything will have changed in terms of the tests and simulations to be carried out, apart from the fact that the client is not physically present.
The utilisation of several mobile and static video cameras will cover the complete test setup, together with any detailed views required by the client, such as the connections and terminals area, the cabling method or contact prevention/safety.
The same is applicable with regard to all messages and alarms arising in the course of the simulation, dynamic characteristics such as short-circuit, overloads, load steps and transferring over to bypass mode in respect of AC supplies.
In order to clarify expert technical content, furthermore, test settings and adjustments can be streamed live and in real time, or documents can be shared on the monitor for further discussion.
Following successful completion of all tests, a corresponding acceptance test report is emailed to all participants.
Customer acceptances can be carried out professionally and efficiently even in pandemic times, with their attendant restrictions on travel and contact.
It goes without saying that acceptance by video cannot fully replace an acceptance session with physical presence, and such an objective would mean that the content of information to be shared would exceed the framework of a regular acceptance procedure.
Nevertheless, it does provide the client with the option of detailed and live examination of the main function and product characteristics before delivery. Consequently, the client can be confident that when the equipment is on-site, the client will be able to commission precisely the robust and efficient power supply system that he requires, complete with all of the benefits which prompted him to opt in favour of collaboration with BENNING in the first place.
The extent to which the marketplace is ready to tolerate online acceptances over an extended period is something that remains to be seen in the future. We can be sure that minor, small-scale acceptance sessions are adequately covered by video-based acceptance sessions as an environmentally acceptable alternative, and one which saves on CO2.
”Hardly anything has changed in terms of the tests and simulations to be carried out, apart from the fact that the client is not physically present.”
author/contact: Mathias Schmaenk
telephone: +49 2871 93 316