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Excel Engineering Newsletter – February 2019


Excel Engineering 2019 Technical Conference

The 2019 conference will be held on Thursday, May 2, 2019 at the Shoreview Community Center in Shoreview, MN. This will be the 14th annual event that Excel Engineering will host.

If you have any topic suggestions, are interested in speaking or interested in being included on our invite list, please contact Patrick Mahoney at patrick.mahoney@exceleng.net.


New Employees

We are pleased to announce the addition of the following new employees to the Excel organization:

Controls & Automation

Mike Kolsky joined the Excel Engineering Controls & Automation group and brings twenty years of broad automation experience with him. Mike is well versed in Emerson DeltaV and Moore APACS DCS systems and has a passion for helping his customers improve their process control performance. He has a unique skill set, combining chemical process and control strategy design capabilities along with systematic controller tuning methods that help clients meet important financial, quality, safety, and reliability goals.

Mike’s work begins with a deep understanding of the operating characteristics of industrial process equipment, instrumentation, and control devices.  The next step in his method is to measure the dynamics of the system and the as-found performance. Many times, variability can be reduced, and performance-improvement goals achieved by tuning the existing controls. Additional process control improvements are often realized through the design and implementation of advanced control strategies or changes to the process. Some sample results include:

  • Eliminated boiler trips due to high or low drum level during large firing rate changes by 3-element drum level control strategy and tuning
  • Achieved 5% boiler efficiency improvement and 40% CO emission reduction by a fuel delivery strategy change to a waste-wood-fired boiler
  • Improved product quality by effective tuning of temperature, dissolved oxygen, and pH of a bioreactor.
  • Reduced batch cycle time by improving temperature control of a jacketed chemical reactor
  • Improved throughput and reduced product quality variability of a cryogenic air separation unit through systematic PID tuning.

Mike most recently worked for Novaspect in Chanhassen, MN and has a BS in Chemical Engineering from Michigan Technological University.

Steve Klopp joined Excel Engineering in November 2018 as Principal Consultant. Steve has approximately 30 years of professional experience, primarily within the life sciences industries, with 22 years in electrical and control systems engineering.  His automation engineering proficiencies include process instrumentation, PLC, HMI, Batch, and DCS (Rockwell and Emerson Delta V) systems design and configuration.  His experience and evolving interest in the areas of electrical power distribution and protection systems, power quality monitoring and control, and construction project coordination have contributed to his current focus on studying for the Professional Engineering licensure exam in Electrical Power Systems.  His recent employment experience includes work for PDL Biopharma/ Genmab (now Takeda) in Brooklyn Park, MN, and Baxter Healthcare Corporation (now Shire) in Los Angeles, CA.  He holds degrees in Microbiology from the University of Wisconsin and Electrical Engineering from the University of Minnesota.

Power Systems Studies

Chris Lor has a Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering from the University of Minnesota Duluth and joined Excel Engineering in May 2018 as part of the Power Systems Studies group. As a student and after graduation, Christopher worked as a Systems Engineer for the University of Minnesota Duluth Weber Music Hall, supporting Weber Music Hall’s existing systems, and designing and managing new systems, before joining Excel Engineering.

Nate Richardson has a B.S. in Electrical Engineering as well as a B.A. in Economics from Western Michigan University and joined Excel Engineering as part of the Power Systems Studies group in July of 2018. Prior to joining Excel Engineering, Nathan served in the U.S. Army in leadership positions for 5.5 years. He then interned for Consumers Energy, during which he was responsible for a multi-version software upgrade, new module deployment, user training, and data quality improvement of the latest CYME 8.1 Power System Analysis software.

Process Facilities & Electrical

Joe Lewis began his career in the power generation industry interning for two years at Xcel Energy’s Black Dog Power Plant as an electrical plant engineer. After graduating from the University of St. Thomas with a Bachelors of Science in Electrical Engineering and a Bachelors of Arts in Physics he began working for Zachry Group leading the companies procurement efforts during the construction and design of a 2 on 1 natural gas power plant. Once the procurement phase of the project was completed Joe transitioned over to an electrical system design role where he assisted with the design of multiple plant electrical systems. Throughout his time at Zachry Joe spent several stints on construction sites helping to coordinate project design and installation directly with site personnel. When not in the field Joe spent extensive time modeling facility electrical systems, creating and redlining electrical schematics and one-lines, developing technical specifications and specifying equipment sizing and ratings. After 3 years working at Zachry Group, Joe joined Excel’s process and facility group in August of 2018.

Client Services

John Long joined Excel Engineering in February 2018 as a Construction Designated Representative. He has thirty-six years of experience managing and supporting all phases and disciplines of industrial construction; nineteen years in nuclear construction and seventeen years in pharmaceutical and various other process facilities.

His areas of expertise include general construction, piping, instrumentation, HVAC, structural steel, setting and final alignment of equipment. His experience includes hands-on installation of mechanical piping, equipment, instrumentation, and HVAC systems as well as multiple levels of management, field engineering and supervision. John is familiar with national codes, standards and all disciplines of construction.

Davin “Dave” Losier joined Excel Engineering in May 2018 as a Mechanical Designated Representative. He has thirty-eight years of experience as an HVAC/MEP/Sr. Project Engineer for controlling, designing, overseeing and executing large and mid-sized design-build industrial, military, commercial and institutional projects.

His areas of expertise include knowledge of other technical disciplines, conceptualizing, initiating, estimating, scheduling, coaching, mentoring, leading, staffing and scoping, preliminary schematics through construction and commissioning, plan and spec, design-build and design-assist projects.
Davin holds a BS-Mechanical Engineering with Registered Professional Engineer credentials, MS-Business Economics and US Government Secret Clearance. He is a former Journeyman Boilermaker and holds dual citizenship with the United States and Canada.

Don Oliver joined Excel Engineering in September 2018 as an Electrical Designated Representative. He has 39 years of experience as a Senior Electrical Engineer and Project Manager for a variety of manufacturing, processing, communications, retail, commercial, office and government projects.

His areas of expertise include concepting and designing facilities electrical systems, reviewing engineering designs for compliance with engineering principles and specifications, developing project specifications, coordinating project activities between disciplines to maintain design integrity, evaluating and approving design changes, developing and monitoring project budgets and monitoring and reporting construction project progress. Don holds a BS in Electrical Engineering and is a Registered Professional Engineer.

Scott Johnson has worked in the power utility industry for over 33 years with NSP/Xcel Energy testing and commissioning protection relaying in new and existing substations ranging up to 500Kv. Scott specializes in the installation of transmission line and bus relaying, transmission and distribution transformers and relaying, power circuit breakers and breaker failure relaying and testing of relaying schemes and control wiring. Scott retired in 2018 after holding positions of Journey Electrical Tester, System Relay Specialist and General Foreman System Relay Specialist.

Corporate Administration

Françoise Malek joined Excel Engineering in January 2018 as Senior Software Consultant. Françoise has more than 10 years of experience in full life cycle object-oriented software development. Prior to Excel Engineering, she worked in Boston Scientific in their Cardiac Rhythm Management division (previously Guidant). During her time in Boston Scientific, Françoise was responsible to create and maintain infrastructures to automate testing of implantable pacemakers and defibrillators. She holds a Master of Science in Software Engineering from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University (Florida), and a Master in Computer Sciences from EPF Ecole d’ingéniers (France).


Employee Anniversaries

We would like to congratulate the following employees on recent anniversaries with Excel Engineering. We appreciate your commitment to Excel!

 10 Years

David Horejsi

5 Years

Mike Dombroski

Sean McConville

Josh Mathews

Daryl Norgard


IEEE 1584-2018 has officially been released!

For those of you that have been anticipating the release of the latest version of the IEEE 1584, that day has officially arrived.  With this release also comes questions and anxiety.  You may be asking, “How does that affect my facility and How do I address this change?”

The new standard does not set a deadline for how long a facility has to update their existing study and labels, however, the NFPA 70E 2018 does provide some guidance under 130.6(H) Exception No. 1: “Unless changes in the electrical distribution system(s) render the label inaccurate, labels applied prior to the effective date of this edition of the standard shall be acceptable if they compiled with the requirements for equipment labeling in the standard in effect at the time the labels were applied.”   Although this note is specifically referring the edition of the NFPA 70E standard, it also refers to the IEEE 1584-2002 calculation method in Informative Annex D.

This allows some leeway as to when you need to address this change, however it does not eliminate liability for a facility if an incident should occur.  And it should be noted that the more time that passes between the release of this revised standard and when you intend on addressing the change, the more liability that the facility may be opening itself up to.

Some of the key changes in the new standard include:

  • Updated equations based on approximately 2000 test datapoints
  • Additional variables necessary to perform the study including enclosure dimensions and bus bar configuration
  • Removal of the 125 kVA exception from the standard

If you would like to learn more about the changes in this new standard, please join us at our Annual Technical conference where Rick Sperl will be presenting on this topic.  Rick will also be attending the 2019 IEEE Electrical Safety Workshop in March and intends to include the insights from this workshop in his presentation.  If you cannot make it, feel free to reach out to Rick Sperl or Craig Thingvold and we can provide input and guidance on this change.


Basics of Flow with Constant and Variable Speed Pumps

by Wayne Salo

Many systems are designed utilizing centrifugal pumps to move fluid through the system. Currently there is an effort to minimize operational costs by upgrading constant speed pumps with Variable Frequency Drives (VFDs) or providing an initial design using VFDs. Process Engineers and Control Engineers need to understand the proper application, operational requirements and constraints associated with both the constant speed and variable speed designs.

In order to understand the pump operation in the process system, the Process and Control Engineers need to understand the information the pump manufacturer provides and the pump’s relationship to the system into which it will be installed.

This whitepaper will review typical pump curves provided by the manufacturer, the relationship of these curves to the system in which the pump is installed and the differences between the constant speed and variable speed operation.

Older pump operating and system resistance curves in the plant files are typically based on constant speed operation of the pump. By using the pump “Affinity Laws” the control and process engineers can generate variable speed curves for that pump. Using these updated curves the engineers can then evaluate and recommend approaches to the system control, pump protection and develop associated costs and benefits…

Please click here to continue reading.