Can you tell us the history of the company?
PSI began in 1967 as a hydraulic repair company specializing in the repair of servo valves for the automotive industry. From there, we evolved into supporting production machinery in military, aerospace, steel, and other industries. Over the last decade, we have supported the wind energy and mass transit industries.
What are some of the services that PSI offers?
We specialize in remanufacturing high power electronic components. Engineering Services is what separates PSI from other ISPs. This portion of our service provides root cause analysis (RCA), corrective action and upgrades to components experiencing a high rate of failure.
Are there advantages in using repaired parts vs. new parts from the manufacturer?
We do not perform what would be termed a “typical” repair. We isolate hard failures, but we also study parts that have been impacted by the application in which they operate in the turbines. By replacing not only the hard failed parts, but also the stressed or degraded parts, we provide a component that performs as good as, or better than, a new unit for a fraction of the price.
How about when compared to aftermarket parts?
Our services include repair, remanufacturing, upgrading and RCA. Aftermarket products provide the same design that will experience the same failure rate in the application.
Talk a little about the upgradability aspect of repairing parts.
This involves incorporating newer generation technology into the original design. This improves efficiency and reliability. This starts with root cause analysis and corrective action. We look at the trends of failure over several components through reverse engineering. The result involves a form, fit, function replacement that will run cooler, last longer and increase the mean time between failures.
How do repaired parts fit into a wind farm’s maintenance schedule?
Repaired parts are kept as spares at the site and when there is a failure in the turbine the maintenance staff will pull from the repair inventory and start the cycle of repair by shipping out the failed component. A repair will be a fraction of the price for new so maintenance budgets are reduced, providing additional funding that can be used for predictive maintenance.
What is it that makes PSI unique?
We have a diverse service portfolio in comparison to other ISPs. We repair electronics, hydraulics and electro-mechanical components. Our customers also value our ability to engineer an upgrade to their OEM components. They want to know why components fail and what can we do to improve the MTBFs. We are a solution provider to our customer’s dissatisfaction with the OEM design.
What service do you provide that meets the current need in the wind industry?
Companies in the wind industry are working to improve turbine reliability. The OEM promised a 20-year life, but users are having failures in fractions of that time. We provide end-of-life analysis on numerous electronic components. Technology gains result in components becoming obsolete as manufacturers discontinue support. OEMs integrate a wide range of manufacturer’s assemblies into their controls. We have been able to bridge the gap when manufacturers are not meeting the customer expectations. They value our Engineering Services Division’s role in assuming support when the OEM original warranty contract expires.
One example that we have seen involves a pitch drive from a large turbine OEM. This part experienced a high rate of failure. The customer came to us to improve the component. Through RCA, we found that the capacitors and switching transistors were not robust enough to handle the trauma in the application. We installed a higher grade of capacitors, redesigned the bus board and selected switching transistors that better matched the 18,000 per second switching frequency. As a result, the drive ran cooler and our customer realized an 81% reduction in failures.