Today’s evolving power requirements are demanding. Expectations are for safe and efficient operations amid rapidly changing regulations, site reliability, and readiness for future expansion. The single-line diagram (SLD) is essential to meet these expectations.
This unique drawing accurately depicts each interconnection among various electrical distribution assets, providing electrical personnel with an understanding of the facility’s electrical distribution system design. It’s used in multiple activities, such as:
- Defining the scope of engineering activities
- Evaluating system safety
- Calculating load flow
- Determining asset design and rating
- Maintenance or other operations
But as time passes, distribution systems age and SLDs can become obsolete if not properly updated. In the past ten years, we’ve found that 89% of the electrical sites we’ve audited did not have an up-to-date, accurate SLD. That’s an alarming statistic, and the consequences can cascade throughout a company.
How an outdated SLD can impact business
Our team of expert consultants observed six critical areas where an SLD could impact your operations:
- Facility safety: Ensuring personnel safety and identifying potential hazards is paramount in any electrical installation. An out-of-date SLD can prevent maintenance personnel from accurately assessing risks or implementing necessary precautions. Worse, it compromises operator safety and risks a facility fire. A leading cause of structure fires in industrial operations is currently electrical distribution equipment malfunctioning in an unsuitable electrical environment.
- Equipment maintenance and troubleshooting: An effective predictive maintenance strategy is challenging without an accurate SLD. Planning maintenance schedules, detecting operational anomalies, and identifying possible electrical system faults are difficult without truly representing your system’s configuration and components.
- Regulatory compliance: Industrial facilities must adhere to various electrical codes, regulations, and safety standards. An up-to-date one-line diagram helps facility managers, safety officers, and auditors verify that the electrical infrastructure meets the necessary standards, supporting regulatory compliance and reducing the likelihood of penalties or legal issues.
- Electrical system foundations: Stability, safety, and regulation compliance forms the bedrock of a robust electrical infrastructure, and an accurate and current SLD serves as the substructure for achieving these objectives. It allows you to archive past configurations, collect crucial data and settings, and assess the current state of your system. An SLD is the first step in enabling electrical personnel to fully understand the layout and design of a facility’s electrical system.
- Future critical growth: Your net-zero journey may include adding electric vehicle (EV) charging substations to your electrical system. Do you know if your transformer can withstand this new load? Is your SLD current so you can make load flow calculations? The SLD will become indispensable as your organization faces new challenges like integrating solar installations or accommodating new industrial processes. Planning for growth and assessing feasibility requires clearly understanding your electrical system’s capabilities and limitations.
- Worker productivity: With a generational shift in the workforce and experienced professionals retiring, there’s a growing skills gap in electrical engineering. Complex, 40-page single-line diagrams with ten years of handwritten notes can overwhelm new workers and hamper their ability to carry out maintenance activities effectively. Moreover, the limited availability of on-site system engineering resources compounds the challenge.
Digitizing and services open a world of possibilities
It’s essential to keep up with today’s safety challenges, tomorrow’s sustainability regulations, and the future needs of your distribution grid while staying in control of your technical information. Digitizing – transitioning from a traditional paper-based SLD to a digital platform – unlocks new and greater adaptability of your electrical network.
Shifting to a services-provided digital platform allows your SLD to become a dynamic tool to:
- Explore possibilities
- Improve resilience
- Drive innovation throughout your electrical installation
Share it within your company to help make a business case for necessary equipment upgrades or to support sustainability strategies. It also allows for predictive simulations that can be used to test future power demand, so your systems can stay ahead of the load.
Leading companies actively seek ways to enhance their productivity, resiliency, efficiency, and net-zero targets, and we’re fully committed to helping them achieve these goals.
With our dedicated expert consultants, we design and deliver your electrical SLD using innovative software and offer power system studies with annual updates to help keep your system safe and resilient.
We aim to provide you with a robust and future-ready solution that aligns with your safety and operational efficiency objectives, and supports your journey toward sustainability.
To learn more about our key insights from a decade of audit results, download our report and discover why maintaining your SLD is pivotal for the success of any electrical installation. Find out how EcoConsult Services helps you access enhanced operations, critical business outcomes, and comprehensive solutions that ensure safety, compliance, and future readiness.