Inter-Group collaboration between Cavitas and NSPS

Spare breaker mechanisms

Overview

NSPS’ client had a piece of electrical equipment offshore from the 1970s for which air-breakers were now obsolete.

NSPS and Cavitas worked together to reverse engineer a legacy air-breaker and to have new components produced to the same specification using modern manufacturing methods, such as additive manufacturing.

Challenges

The legacy part could not be destroyed, thus meaning NSPS and Cavitas had to make some educated assumptions on the materials involved. Following which, this required a first small batch to be delivered and tested.

The initial materials used were not fully compliant so an element of reengineering and new material selection was required before the completed parts could be delivered.

Another challenge encountered, but overcome, was the quick lead time required for the items.

Requirements

To replace the entire electrical system would have cost a substantial amount and spare parts weren’t available so it was more cost-effective to look at getting legacy parts remade.

Due to reoccurring failures to the travel lock mechanism within the ABB Novomax air circuit breakers (the outer casing had become brittle & was breaking apart with continued use), NSPS was asked to provide a solution.

Spare breaker mechanisms were being used for the meantime but things became critical during breaker maintenance and testing where they ran out of spares, hence the urgency for a quick turnaround.

Solution

The solution was to reverse engineer, without sacrificing, a legacy component to have new components made to specification using modern manufacturing means.

NSPS & Cavitas worked collaboratively to produce replacement mechanisms & housings.

Inner metal components

Approach

The collaborative approach utilised NSPS’ electrical engineering knowledge and Cavitas’ in-house design team along with manufacturing partners to deliver the product.

Firstly NSPS delivered the component to Cavitas. Cavitas’ design team accurately measured the components constituent parts and drew these up using the latest 3D CAD software.

Once drawings were completed, materials were identified and the components manufactured using Cavitas’ additive manufacturing partner Angus 3D Solutions.

Initially, a small batch was created for testing, to check fit and quality, before the full run was manufactured and delivered.

Results

Overall the campaign was a success. The 1st “prototype” was sent offshore but an issue occurred with the inner mechanisms due to metal components bending meaning that the breaker locking could not be operated.

The inner metal components were swapped with the original ones and they were able to get the breaker back into operation. Another existing travel locking mechanism was sent ashore & Cavitas worked to create the metal parts with similar tensile strength.

Replacement travel lock mechanisms were then replaced over a rolling replacement plan as & when Cavitas created the parts.

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