Control Panel testing in the midst of testing times

Westbury demonstrated a dynamic quality to its business approach by very quickly having to ‘change tack’ on control panel testing procedures, to ensure a timely delivery and a successfully manufactured and engineered solution.

Boiler Burner Application

Westbury were asked to build (assemble and wire) a mid range specialised control panel for a long-term customer, which has been a global leader in the energy sector since the 1960s. Specifically, the panel’s system would be used to control industrial boiler burner applications, for overseas end users.

Life under Lockdown

Towards the end of the build, it became apparent that operations at Westbury were to become very challenging as we all entered into a global pandemic and its restrictive lockdown measures. However, despite the demanding circumstances, Westbury were able to overcome and adjust its working practices to accommodate the on-going needs of customers, including the boiler burner project.

Remote Testing

The main issue to tackle was to effectively and accurately test the control panel with the limitation of the customer not being able to visit and be onsite at the premises. Subsequently, Westbury set about developing a procedure which could be conducted by it’s own test engineers, but with the guidance and input from the customer. In effect, Westbury would conduct a satisfactorily robust test on behalf of the customer.

Microsoft Teams

Preparations were made through more obvious means; by email and telephone, which then led to the utilisation of Microsoft Teams – now proven to be the dominant communication and collaboration platform during and since the lockdown. Importantly, it allowed the customer’s specialised combustion engineers to gain a first hand insight into the testing being carried out, and were able to direct and influence the activity for the benefit of both parties. Paul Knott, Operations Director for Westbury, commented: “The main advantage of ‘Teams’, is that the communication exchange and related activity is live video and chat, conducted in real time – this helped to speed up the whole testing procedure whilst keeping the customer’s engineers involved at every stage.”

Westbury engineer, Josh Parsons explained the control panel test’s objective: “We were replicating the physical output of the burners to simply ensure that the panel would work as it should, in its final commissioned place. In brief, we were able to setup a test rig to show that the boiler’s valves would open and close, controlling the correct fuel mix for burning.”

Positive Outcome

Glynn Westbury, Managing Director evaluated the approach: “It was very rewarding for Westbury to have received such positive feedback from the customer and witness first-hand an excellent rapport between both party’s engineers during the testing phase – it saved time for all involved, and no doubt we’ll certainly have to adopt this approach again, in a post Covid manufacturing workplace.”

Links / Contacts

For more information about this project and our control panel manufacturing and engineering capabilities.