Project Management of Arc Flash Mitigation

This pharmaceutical giant employs over 50,000 people worldwide and operates large plants across Ireland and the UK. Premium Power were asked to carry out the project management of arc flash mitigation measures to be implemented on one Irish site following an arc flash study that we carried out. The mitigation measures were required due to the limitation of some devices to clear an arcing fault in a sufficient time to reduce the prospective incident energy to within acceptable levels. As the client is a high profile pharmaceutical company, safety is imperative to the company and the reduction of high prospective incident energy levels was a key target that needed to be met. Premium Power has since gone on to project manage arc flash mitigation across a number of the pharmaceutical’s UK plants, based on the success of the Irish project.

The Challenge

Mitigations procedures needed to be implemented in the short timeframe while the plant was shut down. As part of these changes, Premium Power designed the zone protection for the CHP system to reduce the impact of the generators on the network infrastructure during fault conditions. We were also required to design a schedule to cater for multiple contractors carrying out various tasks in an efficient and effective manner during this shutdown period.

How We Helped

We were required to manage the progress of the project on site and ensure that each mitigation procedure was implemented correctly. In some locations, this involved the installation of new trip units to allow enhanced protection on site while maintaining reliability. Each protection device that required setting changes also had to undergo injection testing and maintenance to ensure devices were operating to the manufacturer’s specifications. Injection testing determines the tripping time of the protection device to ensure that the device is reliable and can provide the selectivity that the client’s electrical network requires.

We were also required to manage the reconfiguration of the CHP zone of protection. This was carried out by investigating the current configuration and providing an additional function to isolate the CHP in fault conditions. While we were carrying out the project management, the testing allowed us to identify protection devices that were not performing to the standard required. Following this, we were able to replace the malfunctioning devices and improve the site’s safety and reliability as a result.

"Our project management gave our client peace of mind that they had experienced contractors on site to ensure that the project was successfully and safely carried out. We were able to highlight equipment that was not performing to the correct standard and were able to change them and as a result improve the site’s safety and reliability."
Andrew Hogan, Operations Director

The Result

All protection settings were implemented and the circuit breakers were tested successfully. The relays that are protecting the CHP were successfully configured to allow for a slave trip function which will significantly reduce the danger of an arc flash should such an event occur. The changes across site reduced incident energy levels to acceptable levels which allowed for workers to carry out procedures in a safe manner and met the client’s required internal safety standards. As a result of the work carried out on this Irish based facility, Premium Power were contracted to project manage two further arc flash mitigations in the UK.

Read more case studies of projects we’ve managed in the pharmaceutical industry.

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