RESA Power Services Marine Sector: Generator Breaker Mid Life Upgrade

As marine vessel electrical components each their “end of life” expectancy, clients will opt for an electrical refit program to replace these critical systems, ensuring continued safety and efficiency. Recently, RESA Power Services Marine Sector was awarded another contract for a significate refit upgrade onboard a commercial ferry located in the west coast of Canada.

In this case study, we consulted a Canadian coastal client, addressing their pressing concerns related to upgrading their generator breakers with new ABB Emax type. Through the strategic application of advanced techniques, RESA Power’s skilled marine technicians proposed utilizing their mobile buss bender to get them through a difficult issue their client faced. Continue reading to learn more on how the Marine Service sector prepares for success with attention to details in regards to safety and regulation.

Project Overview

Project details involved an upgrade of the obsolete Westinghouse DS generator breakers with new ABB Emax type. This included installation of new connecting bus bar, control wiring, cradle and breaker replacements along with turn key commission testing and final sea trails. This vessel incorporated (3) generator breakers with the addition of (1) emergency generator breaker. Enabling our sales team to bid on this project; our mechanical engineering design team completed initial measurements for the new custom buss work, breaker, cradle plus door fit and finish. The inhouse of fabrication was planned to be carried out at our Surrey manufacturing facility. However, with extremely tight working areas onboard the vessel. Our skilled field services team proposed to utilize our mobile buss bender to fabricate a percentage of specialized custom pieces onsite.

Project Kick-Off and Coordination

Once awarded, the project kick-off meeting included our electrical and mechanical engineering staff along with our field services and manufacturing team leaders.  Reviews of electrical and mechanical drawings including breaker coordination protection settings and installation plans were set in place.

Breaker and cradle procurement based on device ratings was finalized. With all electrical engineering and mechanical design completed and the ABB breakers received. Fabrication of all materials and bench testing of the new Emax breakers via primary injection was carried out to match existing generator protection settings. Collaboration between our team leaders including in house quality assurance reviews ensures our turnkey assemblies and equipment are ready for installation prior to on site commencement.

Safety and Execution Onboard

At the start of this project, in collaboration between the vessel safety coordinator; our team carried out necessary onboard risk assessments> This including review of single line drawings to ensure a safe lockout plan and execution procedure was in place. As often during a large refit the vessel will need power to certain MCC’s, electrical panels and lighting. Hence beyond installing barriers and securement of the area, additional switchboard lockout precautions included removal of the main buss links for complete electrical isolation to our working zone. Once deemed all safe with lock out and isolation procedures completed our team commenced with the successful refit project.

Final Installation and Client Satisfaction

The following images show our newly install ABB breakers with custom buss work. Our design, engineering and field teams work together before, during and after completion of these projects to ensure sure all measurements, design, drawings where accurate and final completion drawings and manuals are issued to the customer.

Our team completed this project safely, on time and on budget keeping another customer extremely satisfied.

Image of the vessels main switchboard with newly installed generators 1,2 and 3 ABB breaks.

Newley Installed Emax Generator Breakers & Buss Assemblies.

New custom Buss work carried out by our field team.

Field photo of Buss work produced by our team.

Closer photo of Buss work from a different angle.

About This Service: Marine Services

One of our unique sectors is our Marine Service. We utilize professional engineering, technical specialist, and qualified electrical staff for support of all electrical and automation equipment including installation and manufacturing of custom electrical equipment control panels and upgrades onboard vessels.

Together with project managers and designers we craft and develop switchgear systems to meet your Marine electrical engineering service’s needs. We offer a large pool of electricians and certified technicians available to support 24/7. We are dedicated to supporting marine operations efficiently and safely.

About the Author

Kyle Smith is the Manager for Marine Services at Exell Power Service Ltd. a RESA Power company. With over 21 years of experience in the electrical industry, specializing in oil and gas, marine, industrial, and commercial sectors.

For the past 8 years, Kyle has been an exceptional member of Exell Power. In his roll, he has demonstrated exceptional skills in managing a dedicated team, overseeing projects quotations, and driving business development and sales.

Kyle’s knowledge and strategic vision has been vital in advancing Exell Power’s presence in the marine sector, ensuing reliable electrical solutions to a diverse range of clients. In 2023 Exell Power Services, Ltd join the RESA Power family.

Disclaimer: This article represent a specific RESA Power service

About RESA Power

RESA Power, a portfolio company of Investcorp, a global alternative investment firm, is a market leader in power systems services and life extension solutions for power distribution equipment used in mission-critical environments. With locations across the United States and Canada, RESA Power is uniquely capable of ensuring its customers’ critical power systems are safe, reliable, and operating at peak efficiency. The technicians and engineers at RESA Power are experts in testing and servicing transformers, relays, breakers, and other key components of power distribution and control systems. RESA Power also provides quick turn-around custom manufactured or retrofit switchgear and breaker solutions and maintains an extensive inventory of obsolete and hard-to-find components. For more information about how to join the RESA Power group, visit or follow @RESAPower on LinkedIn