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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
My question is: Would anyone in the industrial sector see a demand for a service where a technician comes in with a power monitor to analyze loads on bus ducts serving equipment throughout facilities?

I am a young Master Electrician from Ontario, Canada. I started in residential, transitioned through commercial construction and landed as an Industrial Maintenance Electrician. I oversee 4 facilities locally in the auto manufacturing sector. We have many bus ducts (from 400A to 1600A) that feed presses, welders, and other types of equipment.

The problem is that many of these bus ducts are not monitored at the switch gear for amperage or voltage as many newer switchgears have and the company does not want to upgrade because it is too expensive.

We pay a company to come in with a power monitor to provide us with a report when we need to add large new loads to the system or if we are having problems.

I want to purchase a power monitor for myself and start a legitimate service where I can provide analysis for factories locally.

I know this is kind of a niche topic and what I really need is "market research" to determine how much business I would actually pick up but I figured this is somewhat of a step towards that.

P.S. I'm a huge nerd and love the idea of working full time analyzing power distribution systems with these types of measurement devices.

Thanks for any and all input!

Calvin Curd
DME / Electrical Crew Leader
Ontario, Canada.
 

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industrial E,I&C
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Can you elaborate? I didn't think it would be as relevant in residential setting. If you want to message me that works too.
New home where all the led light flicker every time they apply a large load. Contractor says its poco's problem as the wires are to small. Poco says its contractors problem as the voltage is not dropping under load according to the big bear.
Touch it you own it so gc has to bite the bullet and bring in a 3rd party to test.
 

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Electrical Contractor
Trying to retire or at least slow down a bit, but life not cooperating
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The next time you hire the other company to come in and do some monitoring, chat up the technician to see how busy they are, doing that type of work.
It may not be a full time gig, but could be a decent part-time one.
I was looking into something along the same lines. One company I use charges big, but their technician is only busy doing this particular test, 4 or 5 times a month.
And then I heard of another company which also offers the same service. ( 5 in the city that I know of).
So, do I want to invest approximately $10 grand? Still running the numbers!
 

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Electron Factory.Worker
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Make sure to look into the insurance requirements. Many of the larger companies require pretty extensive liability coverage just to get in the door. They want to make sure if you blow someone or something up you’ll be able to pay for it. This is from an American perspective where we sue everybody.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Thanks for the insight. I appreciate it.

New home where all the led light flicker every time they apply a large load. Contractor says its poco's problem as the wires are to small. Poco says its contractors problem as the voltage is not dropping under load according to the big bear.
Touch it you own it so gc has to bite the bullet and bring in a 3rd party to test.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
The next time you hire the other company to come in and do some monitoring, chat up the technician to see how busy they are, doing that type of work.
It may not be a full time gig, but could be a decent part-time one.
I was looking into something along the same lines. One company I use charges big, but their technician is only busy doing this particular test, 4 or 5 times a month.
And then I heard of another company which also offers the same service. ( 5 in the city that I know of).
So, do I want to invest approximately $10 grand? Still running the numbers!
I think I’d like to make this my part time gig but I would have to step down from my current position so I am running numbers as well. I’ll have to speak with the tech next time he’s in for sure!
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Make sure to look into the insurance requirements. Many of the larger companies require pretty extensive liability coverage just to get in the door. They want to make sure if you blow someone or something up you’ll be able to pay for it. This is from an American perspective where we sue everybody.
Where I am you cannot operate as a License Electrical Contractor without insurance but I am absolutely going to have to look closer at what the costs will be when I do my projections and I’m sure there’s different levels. I wonder if industry minimums are higher than Electrical safety authority minimums. Thanks for your input. I appreciate it.
 

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Tool Fetish
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The company that I hire for that type of testing is a NETA certified contractor. Not too many around. Don't just do power and power quality surveys, also have many thousands of dollars in breaker, transformer and motor test equipment. He also does high voltage line work and testing.
 

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Hackenschmidt
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I think it's a solid business. You'd be providing a service that provides both equipment and skill that many places don't have in house. That's value, you'd both benefit.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
The company that I hire for that type of testing is a NETA certified contractor. Not too many around. Don't just do power and power quality surveys, also have many thousands of dollars in breaker, transformer and motor test equipment. He also does high voltage line work and testing.
I’d like to get into that type of work but I feel like I’d have to work under someone first before I branch out on my own.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Just an update for anyone interested. It turns out the insurance for working in these environments and providing this service is approximately $10,000 annually. I would have to make $15,000 or do approximately 20 jobs to start making money in one year.
 

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Tool Fetish
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Just an update for anyone interested. It turns out the insurance for working in these environments and providing this service is approximately $10,000 annually. I would have to make $15,000 or do approximately 20 jobs to start making money in one year.
There is a lot more to starting a business than being able to pay the insurance bill.
 

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I have run power quality equipment for more than 10 years. There are several issues with this kind of business. The cost of the equipment is a huge down stroke. The RPM equipment I have run is well over 10 grand with an assortment of CT's. (owned by Fluke now).
The biggest issue is who are you? A master electrician, where is your electrical degree and or professional license? I always had engineers behind me that if requested by the client could provide the documentation required.
I agree with you a wave form and a graph do not require an engineer to understand. Most lay people will understand the graphs once provided to them. However some of the waveforms I have recorded were not understandable by my 50 years in the field

Power Quality could be a focus of your new business but it would get pretty lean if this is all you did.

I went out and bought a ground tester. I have used it twice since purchase. It paid for itself and now I have the tool. Most of the people and situations I run into they are not really interested in someone who is not an engineer.

Here is a link to an article published by a man who I know and have taken classes from.
He has that wonderful ability to use five cent words to fifty cent words. Allow everyone in his audience to understand.

In no way do I want to discourage you from doing this.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
I have run power quality equipment for more than 10 years. There are several issues with this kind of business. The cost of the equipment is a huge down stroke. The RPM equipment I have run is well over 10 grand with an assortment of CT's. (owned by Fluke now).
The biggest issue is who are you? A master electrician, where is your electrical degree and or professional license? I always had engineers behind me that if requested by the client could provide the documentation required.
I agree with you a wave form and a graph do not require an engineer to understand. Most lay people will understand the graphs once provided to them. However some of the waveforms I have recorded were not understandable by my 50 years in the field

Power Quality could be a focus of your new business but it would get pretty lean if this is all you did.

I went out and bought a ground tester. I have used it twice since purchase. It paid for itself and now I have the tool. Most of the people and situations I run into they are not really interested in someone who is not an engineer.

Here is a link to an article published by a man who I know and have taken classes from.
He has that wonderful ability to use five cent words to fifty cent words. Allow everyone in his audience to understand.

In no way do I want to discourage you from doing this.
Thanks for the input. I understand what you mean completely. The facility I currently work at requires this service simply to determine loading of a particular bus ducts because they are constantly moving equipment around and the FLA ratings on them aren't accurate. I have definitely thought about how these problems are more suited towards electrical engineers but I have a fascination with the equipment and the process of analyzing wave forms purely looking at peak amperage (the welder bus ducts have extreme and inconsistent peaks). I have a feeling I am most likely to have an opportunity working with this equipment by working within a company that already provides this service but I guess I was hoping in a perfect world I would be able to provide this service cleanly as an individual working towards becoming a specialist (backwards of how I should probably be trying to go about it).

Things don't always happen as you want and looking back at my original ambition, it seems somewhat naïve but I'm glad I had so much great input in helping me see the full scope of what this means in the real world.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
There is a lot more to starting a business than being able to pay the insurance bill.
Of course. I was just saying in general for anyone who is new like myself and interested in possibly working in industrial environments that today I was looking at insurance and learned that it was approximately this amount, which is one of the important things to consider. I think most people understand there is more to starting a business than my comment on potential insurance costs but thanks for the input lol.
 
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