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 Post subject: Arc Flash Careers/Industry
PostPosted: Sat Aug 11, 2012 9:09 pm 
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Where do all of you guys see the arc flash study/analysis industry going? Do you think there will be guys who do this full time in the future? Basically, like that's all they do.. just sc, coordination and AF studies.. just because with modifications in systems and the amount of time it takes to do 1 study....and 5 years (when u have to redo a study) rolls around pretty quickly

I know that right now standards and methods are still being tweeked/released in the near future. It appears not many places are doing arc flash analysis the right way and many places don't know how to properly implement it.

What are your thoughts?


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PostPosted: Sun Aug 12, 2012 9:40 am 
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arcnewb wrote:
Where do all of you guys see the arc flash study/analysis industry going? Do you think there will be guys who do this full time in the future? Basically, like that's all they do.. just sc, coordination and AF studies.. just because with modifications in systems and the amount of time it takes to do 1 study....and 5 years (when u have to redo a study) rolls around pretty quickly

I know that right now standards and methods are still being tweeked/released in the near future. It appears not many places are doing arc flash analysis the right way and many places don't know how to properly implement it.

What are your thoughts?

There are many good companies that perform studies and some perform only studies. Like anything else, there are also those that are still "learning" and need more experience. Training on how to properly perform the calculations study is very important. Just buying a program and "going into business" can be a bit dangerous since there are many behind the scenes decisions that need made regarding system modeling. I see this requirement as being permanent and yes, it will continue to evolve and be tweaked as we learn more.

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PostPosted: Sun Aug 12, 2012 12:25 pm 
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Do you see being an "arc flash guru" would be more prominent in the consulting industry // end user plant/industral facility environment // in the utility companies // or manufacturer's of protective devices // or something else?


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PostPosted: Mon Aug 13, 2012 7:55 am 
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Location: Netherlands
Being based in Europe my perspective may be slightly different as there are few parties actively working on arc flash studies at the moment. Large equipment manufacturers mostly focus on arc resistant switchgear and their IEC testing methods, more or less saying that it can't happen (if you keep panel doors closed). One other area is arc detection systems, but these are mostly aimed at MV switchgear.

In general my experience is that industrial companies are outsourcing technical knowhow, and except for very large facilities, don't keep a lot of people on board with extensive electrical engineering knowledge. Those that are kept tend to be overworked and will look outside for most of their engineering needs anyway. As an arc flash study is such a specialty, I don't see many companies opting to perform their own studies. Same goes for actually implementing it into an electrical safety program, because there are plenty of pitfalls when trying to use NFPA 70E alongside EU/national regulations.


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PostPosted: Mon Aug 13, 2012 8:15 am 
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Location: Swanton, Vermont
The larger companies I've worked with have been encouraged to establish a modern, electronic approach to documentation of their electrical systems. The old days of an electrician scribbling design and equipment changes on sheets of paper to be drawn by the drafting department are going fast. Once you have your system on ETAP, SKM or EasyPower electrical power programs making changes are easy. Also these programs let them work on coordination studies, current flow analysis and arc flash mitigation. These programs are ready to print electrical data labels. Yes, each module of the programs requires training but It's nothing when you realize the benefits of this method of documentation.


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PostPosted: Mon Aug 13, 2012 11:41 am 
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I do not see much changing in the way companies do business. It has been my experience that companies would do system studies when there were major changes or every 5 years or so. I do see that changing even with arc flash - maybe it will at some plants. Right now it is the thing to do because insurance companies are requiring it and many companies want to be ahead of the game and complete arc flash for safety reasons.

The arc flash needs to be rerun any time there are "major" changes but I cannot see companies doing this. As stated above, plants do not have the expertise or time to make the changes nor do they have the money to keep consultants around for all the changes.

To answer your question - i personally beleive this a bubble. It is a large one as I have been doing AF for 10 years but eventally we will get caught up. After that it will be going back and modifying previous work - the bigger companies will do it but smaller ones might not. Besides having a steady diet of AF would drive me nuts. There is alway the possibility the IEEE will change the rules after the research is done and we all have to start over - momma will still need new shoes so I guess I will keep doing AF.


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PostPosted: Mon Aug 13, 2012 12:21 pm 
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Well I think to do the study properly, you still need to check over the other person's work that was done 5 years ago if a study is being "redone". Unless proper documentation is made and every change to the system is noted, I feel to do an effective study would take a good deal of time. But we all know that not everyone does things by the book.

Just wondering if this is a good industry to get myself into knowing that not everyone will end up becoming a Jim Phillips just by digging deeper into the AF world.


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PostPosted: Mon Sep 17, 2012 1:05 am 
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Even I think that establishing a modern, electronic approach to the documentation of electrical systems is a prerequisite. The benefits of these documentations are often ignored, but they are truly very important.


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