Electrical substations house the principal equipment and machinery necessary for high-voltage, high-current power distribution from a power plant to commercial or residential usage. Virtually nothing, from charging a cell phone to running an airport, would be possible or practical without the use of a solid electrical substation.
Due to the importance of their function, high cost maintenance and safety hazards, these substations are held to extremely high standards through routine inspections and maintenance. Generally, they are inspected approximately every five years as a maximum. During the non-inspection years, significant amounts of dust, grime and dirt accumulate on the surface of the electrical equipment in the substation. This dirt and grime can affect the performance, pose serious safety and fire threats, and risk possible breakdowns. Therefore, routine cleaning of the equipment must take place to avoid such threats.
Traditional methods of cleaning electrical substations include the use of vacuums, pressure-washing, compressed air, sandblasting or harsh chemical cleaners. All of these methods require a significant, on-average 5-7 days of substation downtime. These methods all require a significant shutdown of the substation and are slow-moving, tedious and harmful to the equipment. For example, if using water, the substation must be allowed to dry for at least 5 days, producing more substation downtime. In the downtime, the company must provide a tremendously costly, temporary mobile power station which can only provide about 70% efficiency compared to the substation. However, Dry Ice Blasting eliminates the extra downtime completely and is extremely safe, thorough and cost-efficient when compared to the traditional cleaning methods.
Dry Ice Blasting is a completely dry, safe efficient method of cleaning electrical substations. When the dry ice impacts the surface, it sublimates to a gas, leaving no secondary waste to clean up. The dry ice freezes the bond between the dirt and the surface and allows it to fall to the ground, allowing for an easy, thorough clean-up job. It also does not introduce unwanted water or moisture, which is imperative when working with extremely high-voltage equipment. There is therefore no need to spend tremendous amounts of money on a mobile power station while cleaning and allowing the equipment to amply dry. When all of the costs are compiled, the use of Dry Ice Blasting to clean substations saves tremendous amounts of money, time and effort.
Here at Advanced Indoor Air Quality (D.B.A. US Cleanblast), we have done numerous cleanings of electrical substations, both large and small. We complete a significant amount of cleanings in airports, for example, where there are a great number of substations, switch-gears, reactors, etc. We have also done several jobs at facilities following catastrophic fires that wiped out great amounts of extremely costly electrical equipment. If cleaned regularly, these fires generally caused by an arc flash can be entirely avoided, saving the company immense amounts of money, effort and time. We have highly trained employees that exemplify all necessary safety precautions and carry out every job rigorously in a time-efficient manner, leaving customers exceptionally satisfied.
By Luca Monacelli Electrical Engineer Student Liberty University