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New construction damaged or otherwise affected by the flood is estimated at $10.3 million, which is what it would reportedly cost to get the plant back to its pre-renovation state. Total damage to the plant was reportedly $15-25 million.
In fact, this was the fourth flood that has occurred during the two-year renovation project. The first two didn’t affect the plant or the project, but the third in the spring of 2005 reached the 100-year level and delayed the renovation by about five weeks.
The treatment plant has continued to treat sewage from its customers, even while its staff carries out flood-related repairs. However, it’s still not known how many more months it will take to completely repair the plant, or when its new capacity will come online.
Cordsets Eclipsing Conduit
When a catastrophe like a flood happens, people often find that few of their usual, sophisticated tools have survived. One of the very few bright spots for the plant’s staff and consulting engineers is that Turck’s over-molded, IP-67-rated cordsets used in the renovation and the BAF system survived the flood pretty much unscathed. This meant that the plant’s staff didn’t have to clean and rebuild these network components.
“A lot of the new installation was underwater,” says Dvorsky. “However, our new cables and cordsets were waterproof enough that they survived. We didn’t even have to clean and dry them out like we did with all of our other electrical conduit.”
Van Gelder adds, “If we’d had regular electrical conduit instead of these molded cordsets, then we would’ve had to take it all apart, clean out the water and silt, and rebuild them.” Also, the fact that the plant converted from point-to-point hardwiring to twisted-pair FF and DeviceNet meant that there were far fewer networking paths, cable runs, and other equipment to clean out.
Another advantage of using pre-made molded cordsets is that they’re becoming less expensive for users than buying and assembling separate components. When originally called in on the Binghamton-Johnson City project, Turck reviewed several connector and I/O concepts to determine which would be most efficient.
“The original plan was to buy the big traditional spools of wire ands lots of field-wireable connectors, but we first compared the cost of this typical wire to molded cordsets,” says Kim Anderson, Turck’s business development manager. “What we found was that a 5-m piece of cable and two field-wireable connectors was $90.30 and would have a good rating, but still have the possibility for leaks. However, a pre-made, over-molded, 5-m cordset would only cost $79.50 and is entirely sealed against possible leaks.
So, traditional wisdom that custom-made cabling is more expensive than assembling cables on your own appears to be wrong in some cases. Anderson attributes this to several factors. “Cable molding machines are being improved and working faster these days, so they can make a greater volume of cable for less cost,” he says. “This retrofit converted pipe and wires to an open-wiring configuration, but was still able to maintain that same level of safety.”
Because they had experience with water getting into their conduit before, Anderson adds that Binghamton-Johnson City’s engineers and contractors initially were looking for alternatives to pipe and wire, but were concerned about the customized cables coming up too short or too long. However, the varied lengths and standardized connectors of the cordsets actually make them more flexible than traditional wiring. “This allows users to pull devices such as valves or transmitters out of service much more easily, and work on them at the more-comfortable workbench level,” says Anderson. Also, if users ever want to add on to their cordset-based network, they can simply extend with more connectorized cables.
“When mistakes occur, we also have a job box that allows users to make cables available at different lengths,” adds Anderson. “This makes contractors and end users a lot less worried.” Reducing worry is always good, but it’s especially helpful when a natural disaster comes along.
“When the flood happened, and so many of the devices and cables were underwater, the contractors called Turck because they thought they’d have to pull apart, clean, and dry the cordsets like they had to do with conduit,” says Anderson. “However, our over-molded cordsets were fine. They didn’t have to do anything, and so they could go on to other repairs.”
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