In this post, Jeremy Vaughn, Senior Parts Manager, shares his experience with current challenges in procuring Electrostatic Precipitator (ESP) materials and spare parts. See what he recommends prioritizing in 2023.
If you had asked us 3 years ago what parts are the most important to have on hand, our reply would have been different than it is today. Supply chain issues and price hikes are changing the landscape of spare parts strategy.
Based on the current challenges in the market, we’ve identified 6 ESP spare parts in high demand and with longer lead times.
High-Voltage Insulating Components that Use Epoxy
Epoxy is currently in high demand and low supply. Many high-voltage insulating components made out of fiberglass use epoxy because of its very high insulating property. We used to be able to buy 200 of these parts at a time. Now, our supplier is limiting its customers to orders of 20 or 30 components at a time due to demand and supply chain issues.
If your plant uses these insulating components, it’s best to order them before an emergency occurs. Get a quote today!
Another insulating component, alumina, has been harder to come by. Several high-voltage, heavy-weight bearing components rely on this material. What we used to pay for 3 square feet of alumina from our previous supplier now only gets us a few handfuls worth.
Less than 2 years ago, our main alumina insulator vendor started focusing on a different area of their business, and to make sure our customers had what they needed, we bought as much of their insulators as we could manage. Due to high demand, we’ve since sold all of them.
We work with several other suppliers that are offering competitive prices for alumina to ensure our clients have access to what they need.
Silicone Insulating Oil
Your ESPs transformer rectifier (TR) can hold up to 50 gallons of silicone insulating oil. This oil is essential to keep the electronics from sparking and arcing across each other, and to help keep the equipment cool. The price of this oil has tripled in the last 18 months.
If you are replacing a TR soon, you will also have to replace your oil. With the frequent increase in price, procuring this oil is better done sooner rather than later.
Speaking of TRs, demand for this part is starting to rise. One of the primary suppliers of transformer rectifiers makes part of the equipment in Ukraine and the other in Russia. Recent conflicts have made it hard to get pieces from one fabricator to the other and then to us.
We recommend having a spare TR on site regardless of your industry because they are proving harder to get. It is advantageous to have a spare TR installed during a scheduled outage. Take the removed TR to have it refurbished and put it back in your warehouse. After several years of doing this, your TRs will be improved and in better condition with improved reliability. Having a couple of completed TR assemblies on site will be valuable for your 2023 spare parts strategy.
Several specialty materials, like stainless steel and Inconel, have seen price hikes over the last few months. Inconel is a high-grade, highly corrosive-resistant stainless steel. We used to get quotes for these materials from a vendor that would be good for 30 days. Now you have to place the order within the day of the quote, or the price will change.
If you’re ordering one of these specialty materials, you will likely already have a project in mind. Even if you aren’t ordering it until the need arises, advanced planning could save your plant thousands in materials costs.
Many discharge electrodes in older ESPs have wires usually made out of Inconel or stainless steel. We have seen several plants scramble to find substitute replacements because these specialty materials are expensive and hard to find.
You used to be able to get these wires made in 30 days, and now it takes almost 6 months.
We are doing everything we can to help plants find suitable replacements and get the parts they need in a timely manner. These 6 parts and materials currently have some of the highest demand and lead times.
Contact us today to learn more about getting the spare parts you need for your plant.