This year 2020 shows an environmental awareness and changes in obsolescence. A good example in France: the repairability index for electrical and electronic equipment in mass distribution. It will come into effect from January 2021 in France.
Based on a logic similar to that of the energy label that has adorned fridges and washing machines for many years, this repairability index seeks to combat programmed obsolescence and wants to offer consumers an easy way to extend life of electrical and electronic equipment.
As regards low-voltage switchboard equipment, no repairability index has yet been established, but there is a strong need for continued service and anticipation of repairs. It is therefore a question of maintenance and obsolescence management.
How to avoid obsolescence?
When purchasing your electrical switchboard, it is advisable to carefully consider the materials and equipment that make it up. It would be best to choose equipment that is repairable and robust.
Example: choosing a drawable electrical switchboard makes it possible to repair some parts without cutting off the installation. A drawer can be replaced easily without having to change the entire panel: therefore, it is upgradeable and its obsolescence is reduced. Repairs can be carried out safely in a workshop.
1. Keep a technological watch
It is essential to set up a watch to anticipate component obsolescence and to solve the problem upstream. The aim is to determine exactly the product's level of availability and its entry into a decline phase. This approach requires contacting manufacturers regularly and keeping the alternative solution study up to date.
Example of monitoring actions :
- Keep up to date with manufacturing stoppages of various components that make up your electrical switchboard.
- Kepp in stock or studying replacement solutions that are 100% compatible with the existing ones.
2. Plan gradual replacement of obsolete components
To guarantee service continuity and anticipate controlled production stoppages, it is recommended to plan replacement of obsolete components detected by monitoring. Preventive actions can be implemented during repairs (replacement of ageing components in addition to defective components).
3. Keep spare parts in stock
Stock might be expensive, however it is the most effective preventive method in case of damage to an obsolete part. Keeping a stock of spare parts is also a good solution for dealing with malfunctions that may occur before replacement.
Using component obsolescence replacement to build up a temporary stock of spare parts is a good practice for long-term obsolescence management.
4. Modernise its electrical equipment
Anticipating obsolescence may involve changing some switchboard parts in order to modernise it and restart a new life cycle for new parts.
Example of modernisation: new motor protection relays, adding new starters, adding communications technologies to the switchboard, etc...
5. Maintenance contract - the complete obsolescence management solution
To ensure that the obsolescence of your equipment does not affect you, you can set up a maintenance contract with your manufacturer.
In addition to the many benefits of the maintenance contract through the special contact that you maintain with your equipment manufacturer, you benefit from the actions implemented by him:
- ensures technological monitoring of the components and solutions he installs in his switchboards.
- studies replacement solutions that are 100% compatible with the existing system.
- develops modernisation solutions.
- Your contract manager will keep you informed of these developments during equipment life.