Case Study Electrical Obsolescence

A nationally recognized food and beverage company recently utilized Interstates to identify and document instances of electrical obsolescence at over forty of its facilities spread throughout the United States and Canada. Though the plants had unique sizes and configurations, they all had a common problem – aging electrical gear and components. The client took a proactive approach to maintaining the reliability of its operations; to avoid unexpected downtime and issues caused by equipment failure or malfunction, the client contracted Interstates to complete a thorough electrical obsolescence audit.

The data collected during the audit allowed Interstates to assign each site’s electrical infrastructure and equipment with a life expectancy and lifecycle status. The information gathered during the audit was entered into a PowerBI dashboard that offers a big-picture view of the health status of each facility’s electrical infrastructure and gives the client the ability to review, edit, and use the data for budgetary and replacement planning.

With enhanced visibility and access to vital data via the dashboard, the client can make informed business decisions to keep its plants operational as well as perform smart budgeting for anticipated electrical replacements.

Achieving Real Results

Develop and maintain replacement schedules.

Generate cost and safety analyses.

Visualize components and electrical gear according to lifecycle status.

Don’t Wait - Evaluate Your Electrical System Health Today

Equipment gets older every year – it’s a fact of life – but if you don’t start planning until replacement parts are no longer manufactured and aged equipment causes sudden downtime, it’s already too late. You need to be able to make informed decisions about what to replace and when. An electrical obsolescence audit will give you data on equipment lifecycle stages and aid replacement planning and budgeting.

A representative of the client said, “We recognized we didn’t have a clear understanding of the health of the electrical infrastructure in our facilities, specifically around our larger power distribution systems. We needed to create a health and lifecycle baseline for all our equipment. With this data, we were able to determine what equipment was past its useful life, what was no longer available or supported by its manufacturer, and what parts and support were available from the manufacturer or third-party suppliers.”

View of conduit coming into an electrical panel.


Aging Equipment and Electrical Infrastructure. Components at the end of their lifecycle are susceptible to failure. If they are obsolete, the manufacturer no longer makes or sells replacement parts.

Unreliable Gear. Sudden downtime caused by aged or obsolete devices disrupts production and can impact quality.

Lack of Useful Data on Obsolescence. In order to plan and budget for the future, you need to know when gear or components will be at the end of their lifecycles and if parts will be available when you need them.


Interstates needed to thoroughly audit the client’s power distribution equipment and identify all network-connected devices related to production lines. Information about when a piece of electrical gear was approaching or had gone past its life expectancy, or was no longer supported by the manufacturer would need to be cataloged. To accomplish this, Interstates’ audit team deployed to the client’s plants to record electrical equipment metadata and take numerous photos of the work areas, installations, and configurations. The data was captured using tools such as the Mendix Low-Code development platform and Microsoft Power Platform’s Power Apps.

The captured data was then standardized, cleansed for anomalies, and delivered to an external client network and Microsoft Office 365 platform for the client to consume and report on. Microsoft Power Platform’s PowerBI reporting and analytics tool was utilized to provide insights into the client’s captured data. PowerBI allows the client to visualize electrical gear and protective devices while isolating information pertaining to the plant, device, and manufacturer from the project inputs. “The process was smooth and easy,” says the client representative. “I was involved for the entire process and will manage the data from the study with our facilities to plan equipment lifecycles.”

Two electricians discussing equipment.

Return on Investment

The evaluation proved that the client does have aging assets that need to be addressed. With the information gleaned from Interstates’ audit, the client can:

  • Utilize the PowerBI dashboard to visualize all the data from the audit, along with photos of specific pieces of electrical gear
  • Make smarter business decisions and investment plans based on knowing when equipment and systems will likely need to be replaced
  • Create reports and share vital information with stakeholders to plan for expansions or upgrades
  • Develop preventative maintenance or remediation plans to boost reliability
  • Keep its plants operational and avoid the expense of unplanned downtime due to broken or failing electrical equipment
  • Increase plant safety for its employees

With solid data on its equipment’s condition and life expectancy, the client can now develop informed replacement and upgrade plans, anticipate where investments need to be made, issue compelling reports, and enhance equipment reliability and safety at all its plants.

“We will build a five-year capital plan for each of the facilities evaluated and make sure our leadership understands where the risk is to make better decisions for the mission of the business,” says the client representative, who adds that quantifiable metrics on how the audit has helped will be available after more time has passed. He says that right now, keeping people safe is the first priority, so the client will utilize the audit results to remove older, potentially dangerous equipment. “Lifecycling this equipment removes the potential for old equipment to be the cause of shocks or arc flash incidents,” explains the representative.

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