Good for Us and Good for Our Customers
Sidewinders is proud of our recent accreditation by EASA (the Electrical Apparatus Service Association). According to Linda Raynes, the President and CEO of EASA, “The intent of this groundbreaking accreditation program is to evaluate service centers for evidence of compliance to assure that they are using prescribed good practices to maintain motor efficiency and reliability during electrical and mechanical repairs of electric motors.”
EASA’s standards for evaluating an electrical motor services shop for accreditation are based on ANSI/EASA AR100: “Recommended Practice for the Repair of Rotating Electrical Apparatus,” and “The Effect of Repair/Rewinding on Motor Efficiency, by EASA and AEMT (the Association of Electrical and Mechanical Trades)” An independent, third-party auditor evaluates a candidate repair shop against EASA’s extensive range of criteria—over seventy elements—and makes a recommendation to EASA.
Sidewinders’ EASA Accreditation Journey
In November 2019, Sidewinders purchased an existing motor shop in Magna, Utah when its previous owner retired. The shop had a good client base, but much of its equipment was out of date, and its processes were somewhat disorganized. For the next year, we upgraded machinery and tooling and renovated the 16,000 square foot space.
The new equipment Sidewinders has acquired includes
We have also expanded our capacity to reinsulate hydrogenerator rotor poles in our shop by installing an automatic press and an induction heater. (Look for upcoming blog posts detailing some of our recent reinsulation work.)
EASA’s accreditation criteria are much broader than simply having state-of-the-art equipment, however. They look for well-managed shops that focus on continuous improvement. After taking stock of a motor’s as-found condition, 22 additional categories of criteria are judged as to their conformance to recommended practices and guidelines.
Conformance to Recommended Practices and Guidelines
- Internal audits
- Terminal leads, connectors, and boxes
- Cooling system
- Bearings (ball, roller, and sleeve)
- Frame and bearing housings
- Squirrel cage rotors
- Winding removal and core integrity
- Rewind data (specification)
- Stator windings, insulation system, conductors, and coils
- Winding impregnation
- Winding insulation and coil tests
- High-potential tests
- Bearing insulation
- No-load tests
- Finish and handling
An experienced external auditor met with Sidewinders and conversed with us over email leading up to the audit. He alerted us to improvements we could make, including minor repairs, housekeeping improvements, and obtaining additional calibration certificates.
We also learned that EASA’s process places great importance on efficient, well-documented procedures and training. Sidewinders has a strong culture of ongoing training and mentoring—our company President, Glen Peterkin, and other leaders in the company are apprentice-trained and know the value of hands-on training alongside text-based training. We hold a daily briefing each morning that includes refresher training on a given process as well as a safety topic. Longer form training includes online courses from EHS Insight. The training-related key for us with EASA was to develop a more regular schedule for formal training and to improve our training records.
Sidewinders is always trying to raise the level of skill and awareness in the staff and to instill a strong work ethic and professionalism that meets or exceeds the demands of the industry. The EASA accreditation pushes for staff to be trained and re-trained and for all training to be documented, but the real focus is for staff to follow the same established procedures time after time. The goal of standardized training on standardized procedures is that no matter which technician works on your motor, the quality of the result will be at the same high level every time.
Record-keeping is of prime importance throughout the scheme of EASA accreditation. Each criterion in every category asks technicians to check or measure an element, then to record data about it, and typically to photograph it. Keeping thorough records of inspections and repairs provides value both to the customer and to the shop. The customer can have a better understanding of their motor’s as-found condition and the repair or maintenance steps that were carried out on it. Complete and accurate records help the service center in two ways: They serve as quality assurance tools, and they allow us to suggest an appropriate maintenance schedule to our customers. To support our strengthened mission to beef up our job records, Sidewinders adopted Spring Point Solutions’ software in December 2020. Spring Point and its MotorBase shop management tool provide a turnkey solution for quoting, tracking, recording, and billing jobs. (We’ll share more about our Spring Point successes in a future blog post.)
Our EASA Accreditation Observations
When Sidewinders acquired the existing, smaller motor shop, we knew we had our work cut out for us to upgrade and update its operations and capabilities (and to give it a facelift). We always intended to pursue EASA accreditation, and we used ANSI/EASA AR100 and related documents to guide our choices. As we became confident that the accreditation was within our reach, we used the EASA Accreditation Audit Checklist to verify our achievements. You’re probably aware of the concept of the known-knowns, the known-unknowns, and the unknown-unknowns; EASA’s resources definitely helped us stay on the bright side of that concept. Here are a few things we quickly discovered needed our attention:
- As stated above, more robust record-keeping on the work and on training
- Complete calibration of every tool or machine that can be calibrated, along with a reminder system to keep those calibrations current
- A few housekeeping improvements: better signage and labeling, improved organizational tools for parts storage, better lighting in some areas, and the like
In short, we needed to transform the “acceptable” status of the shop we purchased into a “best practices” status. Best practice in motor services is always our goal.
Our desire to optimize the operation, management, and reputation of our motor services shop drove us to pursue EASA accreditation and related certifications and going after those goals drove our upgrade plans to an even higher level of excellence. The renovated and expanded service center is a point of personal pride for Sidewinders’ leadership. In addition, our motor services manager and Dearl Kite, our motor services sales representative, have noted “a higher caliber of potential personnel sending resumes and asking to be considered for employment.” And, indeed, we have made four key hires of highly skilled technicians in the last few months. (Look for profiles of our staff in future blog and/or social media posts!)
For Sidewinders, achieving EASA accreditation has been more than worthwhile. The work we put into the EASA accreditation process was worth it, because it put the finishing touches on our already very high standards. We feel assured that we may claim with complete confidence to be among the very best motor services organizations of our size anywhere. Our customers, existing and future, can also be assured that, by placing their assets into the care of our EASA accredited facility, the efficiency of their equipment will be as good—or better—than new, and the service life of those assets will be extended. Sidewinders LLC is committed to continually pursuing excellence and providing world-class service.