Operational success in everchanging manufacturing environments starts with the bones of your production space. Every manufacturer aims to streamline their production layout and floorplan for optimal efficiency and output, with the understanding that they must be able to quickly adapt to changes. The need for changes can occur due to increased production demand, process changes, new equipment installations, old equipment relocations, and in 2020, layout changes required to accommodate social distancing policies and ensure the safety of workers.
Regardless of why changes must be implemented, making the necessary – or sometimes unexpected – modifications to your facility layout impacts personnel, time, production output, and more importantly, your budget. The reconfiguration of electrical distribution on the production floor can be very time consuming and costly when using inflexible traditional pipe and wire methods – making it challenging to rearrange workstations and equipment. These methods for power distribution can make it difficult to trace back wiring to panelboards and challenging to increase power access points without the use of safety hazards such as extension cords.
To efficiently respond to critical modifications, your company needs the ability to rearrange manufacturing processes faster. Downtime is very expensive and conventional power distribution systems do not provide flexibility and scalability when facility managers and operators need it most.
A New Way
Overhead power distribution, otherwise known as busway systems, have changed the way facilities supply power by essentially forming a custom electrical grid above the production floor. Available from 60 to 1250 amps, the busway’s unique open-access channel enables a safe and reliable connection to power. Plug-in units can be easily inserted at any location along the busway channel in order to provide the required power at the exact point of use where the electrical load is needed.
The plug-in adaptability is one of the busway systems most distinguishing features. The units can be customized in over 60 million different configurations. The cleverly engineered design allows for seamless integration and/or combination of a multiple electrical components into a single unit such as circuit breakers, meters, duplex/quad receptacles, cords, etc. This wide array of customized options eliminates electrical constraints and provide significant ongoing costs savings compared to traditional power distribution methods of pipe and wire.
The installation of traditional electrical distribution systems is labor intensive and costly. Conventional power distribution systems involving conduit, wire, junction boxes, and multiple homeruns to the panelboard are inefficient and generate waste. In contrast, busways lightweight enclosure design enables an easier installation that can be as much as 90% faster. Fewer hangers per section are required to support the system’s enclosure resulting in reduced costs in material and labor. Busways can also be installed numerous ways with hangers, wall-mounted brackets or rack-mount hardware, to optimize space utilization in facilities. Furthermore, other non-electrical loads, such as fans, tv monitors, compressed air, etc., can also be mounted off the busway enclosure with the utilization of multipurpose brackets.
For conduit and wire systems, electrical changes often require notification weeks in advance, resulting in unnecessary downtime and additional cost for labor and materials. In contrast, busways provide immediate monetary advantages by allowing operators to enact the necessary changes themselves by simply adding another power access point where it is needed. The system is reusable, expandable and virtually maintenance-free.
The busway design incorporates a continuous access slot that runs along the system. This allows customizable plug-in units, or tap offs, to be repositioned and re-inserted wherever power is required along the access slot, in a matter of minutes. This ability to access power anywhere along the busway allows for operators to modify layouts without losing any uptime.
The ‘plug and play’ principle utilized in busway tap-off design is what makes busways the ideal solution for manufacturers looking for the ability to adjust floorplans under short notice. In contrast, traditional power distribution systems like conduit and wire are hardwired into place, making them extremely inflexible. To combat this, facility managers often turn to extension cords to distribute power across the facility. Not only are extension cords unsightly, they also introduce safety hazards on the production floor.
Streamline Your Facility with Flexible Power
Busway systems eliminate electrical constraints while keeping labor costs and production downtime to a minimum. With a simple twist and lock connection, tap offs can be placed exactly where power is needed to run operations most effectively. Rearrange your power to suit your production workflow, not the other way around.