ServicesElectrical engineering

Electrical failure analysis

Consumer Appliances

Nearly all consumer appliances have electrical and electronic components.  Following a failure of the appliance, CEP-Sintra's electrical experts methodically examine the entire appliance to determine the cause of the failure, whether related to a manufacturing defect or simply user error.

Electrical Distribution Systems and Equipment

Electrical distribution systems can be as simple as a single circuit feeding a small building, or as complex as a high-voltage industrial network with multiple utility connections.  When a component within a distribution system experiences a failure, CEP-Sintra's electrical experts evaluate the entire electrical system, as it is not uncommon for the cause of the failure to be located elsewhere within the system.  Our experts' knowledge of the way that electrical distribution systems work allows them to evaluate hypotheses that may otherwise be ruled out.


Transformers are one of the most essential components of an electrical system, and yet they are also very fragile and susceptible to failure.  Because of the nature of transformers, failures often exhibit signs of electrical as well as mechanical damage.    CEP-Sintra's electrical experts investigate several transformer failures each year, in conjunction with other experts in mechanical and materials engineering to determine the root cause of the failure.

Motorised Equipment

Motorised equipment can be found throughout electrical distribution systems, particularly in commercial and industrial facilities.  Motors are integral components of HVAC and pumping systems.  As with transformers, motor failures often exhibit signs of electrical as well as mechanical damage.    CEP-Sintra's electrical experts investigate several transformer failures each year, in conjunction with other experts in mechanical and materials engineering to determine the root cause of the failure.

Lighting Systems

There are a myriad of different types of lighting systems on the market, and each type has a preferential application.  From investigating the catastrophic failure of a Metal Halide bulb to analysing the electronic components of a LED fixture, CEP-Sintra's electrical experts use the latest industry knowledge to locate the root cause of these failures.

Protection and Controls

Medium and High Voltage systems utilise external sensing devices such as instrument transformers and protection relays to trip protective devices like circuit breakers.  These protection and controls devices require significantly more coordination and calibration than a basic molded-case circuit breaker.  They also generally are able to keep a log of system parameters before, during, and after a fault event.  CEP-Sintra's experts use the data retained from the protection and controls devices to evaluate the sequence of events and the system conditions that led to the fault.

SCADA Systems

Supervisory Control And Data Acquisition Systems are commonplace in industrial settings.  These systems allow an operator to monitor and control an entire plant, or multiple plants, from a single location.  They also include a wealth of data as to the system state at various times before, during, and after a failure event.  CEP-Sintra's experts can use this data to assist their investigation and cause determination.

Communication Networks

Communications networks are becoming increasingly complex, as facility owners rely on increasing amounts of data to operate.  Communication networks can be wired (telecom or fibre optic) or wireless (radio, satellite).  Each type of network has advantages and disadvantages, and each type of network can fail in a number of different ways.  Analysis of communication network failures is a specialised skill, and CEP-Sintra's electrical experts have the experience and knowledge necessary to troubleshoot and identify the cause quickly in order to minimize the amount of "blackout time".

Lightning Protection Systems

The value of lightning protection systems is greatly underrated, and they are often neglected following installation.  Yet their importance in maintaining the integrity of the distribution system is critical.  A well-maintained lightning protection system can prevent or mitigate failures of distribution system equipment, but a lightning protection system that has fallen into disrepair can allow excessive voltage spikes to affect the main distribution system, leading to premature and catastrophic failure of distribution equipment.  CEP-Sintra's electrical experts can analyse a building's lightning protection system to determine if it played a role in an equipment failure.

Renewable Energy Systems

Renewable energy development is at the forefront of new power projects in a rapidly changing world.  Despite their reduced impact on the environment, the equipment is nonetheless subjected to the similar, and sometimes more extreme, operational stresses and environments.

Renewable energy systems tend to be more complex than traditional power generation systems.  Whether failures are due to corrosion, mechanical or electrical incidents, fire, or even design and manufacturing errors, the owners and operators of renewable energy systems require technical assistance to understand the causes of failures and possibly use this information to recover costs from their various suppliers.  CEP-Sintra has a multi-disciplinary team of experienced and competent experts with direct experience in renewable energy to respond to these types of challenges.