ABB has spent the summer putting the finishing touches to its upgraded drive service workshop in Coalville, Leicestershire. MEPCA caught up with Neil Rayns, Drives Workshop Manager, to see how things are going ahead of September’s grand opening.
MEPCA: It sounds like you’ve had a busy summer – how are things going?
Neil Raynes: You’re right; it’s been hard work, but it’s been really good. In August, we received our accreditation as a certified ABB Drives Service Workshop. This had been some time in the making but it opens up exciting new possibilities for what we can do out of Coalville. It also puts us among only a handful of ABB workshops across the world that are factory accredited. In practical terms, accreditation means we have access to advanced diagnostic tools, processes and documentation that no other UK service facility has. It adds a level of prestige, and shows that ABB is serious about investing in the facilities and talent we have in the UK.
There’s a whole host of things we can do now that we couldn’t do before. We’ve invested in a range of six motors up to 160kW to provide a spinning load for Direct Torque Control (DTC) testing, along with a suite of inductive choke loads with condition variables, to enable us to fully load test the drives. This means we can now test under fully representative load conditions and really put drives through their paces, whereas previously, we could only carry out functional testing. As a result, drive owners and operators can have additional confidence that their drive will perform as expected once it’s been returned to them.
M: Describe a typical day at the workshop
NR: Our Motion Services offering is a 24/7 operation, so the team here is highly skilled, very experienced, and ready for any eventuality. We’ll typically have a pre-planned schedule of drives to maintain and repair at the workshop, and we also have a dedicated team ready to head out and help customers with emergency issues. Each ABB drive has its own suitcase containing all the parts and documentation an engineer could need to service a drive, and so when our team arrives on-site, they’re always fully prepared.
M: What’s going particularly well at the moment?
NR: We have a packed schedule right now, which is always a good thing. Where previously a UK drive in need of comprehensive servicing would be sent back to ABB’s factory in Helsinki, the ABB workshop at Coalville now enables a wide range of maintenance activities to be carried out without the drive having to leave the country. This means that repairs can be turned around much faster and require less transportation to get to where they need to be, significantly reducing carbon footprint.
In addition, a Reconditioning or Premium Repair service here in Coalville uses 55-80% less carbon compared to buying a brand-new drive, and so we’re helping to extend the lifetime of customers’ assets while also making drives more sustainable generally.
M: What day-to-day challenges do you typically face?
NR: Like any workplace, no two days are alike, so there are always interesting challenges to address and new opportunities to be found. Managing the unexpected alongside the routine is what makes my work so satisfying. We’re equipped to deliver the same level of service and quality, whether it’s a regular service or a business-critical turnaround, so while the circumstances might be different, the quality of the work is identical. Crucially, once we’ve serviced a drive, it stays serviced. After a drive leaves our workshop, it’s very rare that we’ll see it again until its next scheduled maintenance interval.
M: What does this mean for drive owners and operators?
NR: Everything we do here is geared towards safeguarding our customers’ investment and minimising the chance of unplanned downtime. We can now carry out more sophisticated repairs to factory standards, and turn drives around much quicker than before. Not only can we now get our customers back on track faster, but we’re also helping to extend the lifetime of their assets.