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Posted By Topic: How do electricians stand with imported machinery

Tex431
May 27 2018 00:36

I have a job coming up where I have to supply a feed to a imported press and related automated machinery. The manufacturers are sending there own team of engineers ( not NZ registered) over to commission and set up. As far as I am aware the machine (s) has no s- doc or been through any form of testing in NZ. What\'s your thoughts
   

AlecK
May 27 2018 10:16

My approach would be to install a supply of appropriate configuration & rating, to an isolating switch.

Then, if I was satisfied the equipment was electrically safe, i\'d connect it. If not; no connection of equipment to supply
   

Sarmajor
May 27 2018 10:54

What makes you think that the machine should have an SDOC?

Given that the majority of items that require SDOC’s are fittings or domestic items used in installations most machinery does not require an SDCO.

Nothing wrong with a team of technicians coming from another country to assemble and commission a specialist piece of equipment either.

They will not be performing PEW unless it is a mining machine.

So as long as the finished machine is electrically safe you are OK. Make sure that your COC/ESC is detailed enough with respect to where you stopped your PEW.

Let them switch it on if you are satisfied.
   

Satobsat
May 27 2018 10:58

I worked on commissioning 3 imported plastic extrusion lines in a similar situation where the manufacturer sent their own team over to get the lines up and running. I found lots of issues such as poor quality contactors that didn\'t work for various reasons, lack of correctly rated MCBs in some of the stand alone units such as blower and hopper units. Incorrectly rated wiring for the loading, voltage rating and installation requirements such as heat resistance. The Chinese also have a habit of using whatever colour wire picks their fancy to do whatever job they want. Also with the control wiring (no matter the voltage) if the wire you are running is not long enough then you just twist it together with another wire and put some tape around it. They also have no concept or consistency when it comes to earthing and bonding. Did a lot of earthing and bonding. Who knows you may get lucky and find that you have a great manufacturer who is aware of what is required. I\'d check everything, good luck!
   

Sarmajor
May 27 2018 12:00

Remember that AS/NZS3000:2007 only applies to installation wiring so wire colours except for earthing wires can be flexible in machinery / equipment.

If the machine does not function it is not your problem until after the commissioning people have left.

If you are going to be involved after they go I would suggest that you talk with the customer and explain any concerns that you may have with any aspect of the machines during the commissioning phase.

Being as fully involved as they will allow early on will make things easier for you and cheaper for them when the machine inevitably needs attention down the track.

I have worked with commissioning engineers from Germany on timber sorting. / grading machinery and they were very good at communicating important details that were very helpful after they left and things went wrong.
   

Satobsat
May 27 2018 14:56

Yes Sarmajor is right as long as they don\'t use green wire for control wiring, which I did come across on the plant I was working on, then the random coloured wiring can stay in service. It just makes it hard work when you are fault finding. If the machines are coming from the US, Uk or Germany you should have fewer issues than I did.
   

AlecK
May 27 2018 16:53

There is a restriction on using green & green/yellow in \"3439\" series of Standards; (which covers switchboards & similar).
But there is no prohibition / restriction on green conductors in equipment wiring.
Some foreign equipment has green as an \"active\" colour - and it\'s perfectly acceptable for connection in NZ.


   

pluto
May 27 2018 17:22

With the addition to the above that input power connection is permenately labelled with Active (phase), neutral and earth and covered by a cover that requires a took or key to remove.

The machine is also required to be labelled with the supply voltage, current or kW and Hz.
   

Moose
May 31 2018 16:05

1. So if the Imported machinery doesn’t have a Label stating voltage, Frequency, Manufacturers details etc then do not connect?
2. What if the Voltage/frequency is not 230/400 50hz?
3. Does it make a difference if the client imports it directly or uses an agent/supplier.
4. If non compliant but not electrically unsafe before or after remedial work would I need to contact Energy Safety?
5. Isn’t an electrician registration limited to installations and the repair and maintenance of appliances?
6.Dosn’t assessing whether an appliance is compliant require an IANZ accreditation or equivalent?
   

AlecK
May 31 2018 17:20

ESR 23.

Yes to certify something as complying to a particular Standard, you\'d need to be recognised lab / or similar. But just observing that it isn\'t labelled as suitable for our system of supply doesn\'t need any quals at all.

And since whoever connects it to supply is legally responsible for its safety, that\'s all the authority we need to say \"No, I won\'t connect it\".

On the other hand, we\'re supposed to be qualified & competent, so we shouldn\'t always be expecting to have a bit of paper from someone else to cover our bum. Sometimes you just have to \"grow some\", and then put them on the line.
   

Sarmajor
May 31 2018 17:57

1. So if the Imported machinery doesn’t have a Label stating voltage, Frequency, Manufacturers details etc then do not connect?

Have a look inside the box at some of the electrical equipment. You should be able to find marking indicating operating voltages for motors etc.
The manufacturers documentation should also give details of connected load. A label is easy on a toaster but not really relevant for a machine that is spread out over many square meters.

2. What if the Voltage/frequency is not 230/400 50hz?

Not sure about frequency but there are machines here that have 11kV / 400V / 200V transformers supplying them.

3. Does it make a difference if the client imports it directly or uses an agent/supplier.

Not really if it is not suitable for connection that’s the end of that.

4. If non compliant but not electrically unsafe before or after remedial work would I need to contact Energy Safety?

I have somewhere in the archives an email from that guy which states that non compliance is not the same as unsafe. You will have to decide if the situation is covered by the mandatory reporting required by Reg 19.

5. Isn’t an electrician registration limited to installations and the repair and maintenance of appliances?

Oh if only it was that simple. The limits of work for an electrician have 9 seperate sections and in reality cover pretty much everything mentioned in the electrical safety regulations. That means a whole lot more than just fixing and installing things.

6.Dosn’t assessing whether an appliance is compliant require an IANZ accreditation or equivalent?

Yes (with conditions)but usually we are really just interested in the safety of the appliance after we have repaired it.
   

mf51to1
May 31 2018 19:03

In my experience I have found many imported machines of poor quality, as mentioned above, poor and or no earthing of the equipment seems to be common. There is also no easy way to tell if wiring is rated for 230V AC for a start, I have seen motors rated for 380V and even 200V which is Hong Kongs standard voltage. I have also seen Phase converters installed to \"make\" 3 phase motors work. Safety guards and switches etc are usually basic or not even installed, or wouldn\'t comply to most business OH&S requirements. I have walked away from them in the past, due to the difficulty of proving they are electrically safe, and factoring the labour involved to modify them to make it compliant. I also suspect any damage to electrical equipment such as over voltage, or even just warranty work would mean a costly and painful task of resolving from the other side of the world.
You could mention to the customer but it seems if they are importing cheap machinery in the first place probably means they don\'t really care.