●On the job with a commercial electrical contractor in Nashville

How Is a Commercial Electrician Different from an Industrial Electrician?

While a commercial electrician and an industrial electrician sound like they do the same thing, nothing can be further from the truth. However, there are some similarities between the two.

●On the job with a commercial electrical contractor in Nashville

Similarities Between Commercial and Industrial Electricians

Both commercial and industrial electricians start with basic electrical knowledge, but there are several other similarities. Both positions require that you have:

  • Earned your high school diploma
  • Participated in an electrician apprenticeship
  • Attended  industry-specific training and classes
  • Completed 8,000 t0 10,000 hours of on-the-job training
  • Passed a certification exam

The foundation of their skill set might be in basic electrical knowledge, but the application of their extended training is what truly defines the two.

Work Experience of Commercial Electricians

Most commercial electricians work in apartment buildings, retail establishments, offices, and sometimes food service businesses. They typically perform the following tasks:

  • Running three-wire systems through conduit
  • Ensuring that the electrical components and wiring function efficiently and safely
  • Performing common electrical repairs and installation of specific equipment
  • Wiring breaker panels, transformers, and lighting systems
  • Occasionally installing HVAC systems and backup generators

Work Experience of Industrial Electricians

Industrial electricians typically perform all of the tasks that a commercial electrician handles but require additional education and training to perform specific industrial tasks. This additional training depends on the industry that the industrial electrician work in. This training determines what types of jobs and projects the electrician can work on.  This training is critical to ensure the accuracy and thorough knowledge of this field. For example, manufacturing facilities have power requirements that are far different from those encountered within commercial businesses. Some of the issues industrial electricians need to be ready to perform include:

  • Handling high-voltage electrical systems commonly associated with industrial processes
  • Installing electrical systems and components for industry-specific equipment.
  • Troubleshooting issues with controls and electronics within the industrial electrical systems
  • Inspecting on machinery and equipment in industrial structures
  • Installing power conductors to reduce interference with the control systems and other electronic devices
  • Ensuring the proper grounding of manufacturing systems and equipment
  • Maintaining and repairing electrical systems and components to reduce potential work stoppage due to electrical or equipment failure.

Another important thing that both industrial and commercial electricians have in common is that the businesses and industries that they serve rely on their dependability and competence. A mistake in wiring or installing electrical equipment can lead to costly equipment repairs or replacement or work stoppages, both of which cost the company lots of money.

Hire the Best Commercial and Industrial Electrical Contractors in the Southeastern US

Tri-State Electrical Contractors’ commercial and industrial electricans are licensed in Tennessee, Alabama, Georgia, Texas, North Carolina, South Carolina, and (soon) Florida. We can handle any commercial or industrial electrical work you need completed quickly and competently. For more information, give us a call at (423) 800-2134, fill out our simple online form, or email us at info@tristateec.com today.

Storm damage requiring industrial electrical repairs in Greensboro

What Are Some of the Common Electrical Repairs Needed After a Storm?

Storms are the arch-enemy of your electrical service. The combination of wind, rain, and (sometimes) snow and ice can be devastating to the electrical grid.

Falling Trees

The rain saturates the ground making it less stable for trees, and when combined with strong winds, they fall, taking out power lines and the occasional transformer. To lessen the impact of power loss during storms, you should look at hiring a commercial or industrial electrical company to install a backup generator to keep your business going when everything else comes to a standstill.

Storm damage requiring industrial electrical repairs in Greensboro

Lightning Strikes

Lightning is one of the most potent forces on the planet. If it strikes anywhere near your business, the resulting power surge can damage all electronic devices connected to your wiring and sometimes non-electronic appliances that are simply plugged in at the time of the strike. Therefore, all businesses should protect themselves from lightning and surges by having a commercial electrical contractor install a lightning arrester to route the electricity away from your company and into the ground. These strikes can also damage breakers in your electrical system.


Although the occasional flooded basement may occur during a severe downpour, a more common problem occurs when water seeps into your building during heavy rain and comes into contact with your wiring, it may short circuit, causing power loss or possibly starting a fire. When this happens, get a reliable commercial and industrial electrical services provider to fix the issue to keep your business safe from further damage. Unfortunately, short circuits can be difficult to track down and needs expert help to make the repairs.

Tri-State Electrical Contractors Provides Electrical Repairs After Storms

Our industrial and commercial electricians know how what to look for and how to fix it after a damaging storm. Tri-State Electrical Contractor has you covered whether it is tracking down a hard-to-find short circuit or installing a new generator for your industrial or commercial business. We are licensed in Tennessee, Alabama, Georgia, Texas, North Carolina, South Carolina, and (soon) Florida. To learn more about how Tri-State Electrical can help you with your commercial electrical project, give us a call at (423) 800-2134, fill out our simple online form, or email us at info@tristateec.com today.

Backup generators installed by industrial electrical contractors in Atlanta

How Do You Size a Generator for an Industrial Company?

Figuring out the correct size when installing a generator for a commercial or industrial customer is not a one-size-fits-all type of project. You need expert help from experienced industrial/commercial electrical contractors to ensure the job is done right.

Why Do Industrial and Commercial Companies Need Backup Generators?

Power outages happen everywhere and everyone has experienced them. At home, this is an inconvenience. For commercial and industrial businesses, a power outage can cripple them. For manufacturing companies, a power outage shuts down production which costs them while the equipment and workers are not working. For restaurants and grocery stores, a long power outage can result in thousands of dollars in food spoilage, as well as losses in sales because customers cannot shop there. These generators prevent losses associated with outages, keep businesses operating, and allow important building services to continue.

Backup generators installed by industrial electrical contractors in Atlanta

Square Footage of Location

Using the square footage of your location is a great starting point to help calculate the backup generator size you need. There are equations within the industry used for this purpose.

  • For Retail applications such as grocery stores, convenience stores, restaurants, and most other retail establishments, the formula for calculating power needs is 50 kilowatts + 10 watts per square foot.
  • For most other commercial applications, the formula is 50 kilowatts + 5 watts per square foot.

Full Load Capacity of the Site

Calculating the full-load capacity of a site requires a little more legwork and research to come up with an accurate number. Here are the steps to follow to help calculate this number.

  1. Look at your service panel and take full-load current measurements during peak usage.
  2. Clamp on an ammeter for each leg of the electrical service, and add these measurements together. This will provide you with the total amps used.
  3. Divide the total amps by three for three-phase current, or by two for single-phase current.
  4. Multiply the total amps divided by phase current number by the supply voltage and multiply it again by 1000 for the Kilowatts (kW) required.
  5. Next, add the power in kilowatts used by each emergency safety standby system following articles 700, 701, 702 and 708 of the National Electric Code (NEC) to the kilowatts. This provides you with the full load kilowatts number.

The formulas to calculate this size are:

  • Total Amps × Supply Voltage / 1000 = Full Load Kilowatts
  • Full Load Kilowatts × 0.25 = Reserve Capacity
  • To determine the proper generator size at 100% power is Full Load Kilowatts + Reserve Capacity = Generator Size

Other Factors to Consider When Sizing a Generator

The square footage of a location and the full load capacity of the site are good indicators to estimate the size of the generator you might need, but here are some other factors to keep in mind:

  • Number of customers/employees onsite
  • Operating hours of the business – Does it have regularly scheduled hours each day? Different hours on different days? Or online 24/7?
  • Voltage sag – This is a temporary drop that occurs when there is a short circuit or overload of electric motors. Some industries need to meet specific tolerances so this is a factor in some installations.
  • Environment – Humidity, temperature, and the altitude of the building may impact how to size the generator.

In conclusion, sizing a backup generator for a commercial or industrial business is a complex process that can be extremely expensive if you make a mistake. At Tri-State Electrical Contractors, we have the experience to make the process smooth and trouble-free. To learn more, give us a call at (423) 800-2134, fill out our simple online form, or email us at info@tristateec.com today.

Industrial electrician at an electrical substation installation

What is an Electrical Substation Installation?


The word substation originates from the early days of power generation and transmission before the power distribution system became a grid. When central power generation stations grew larger, smaller power generation stations were converted to distribution stations. That stations simply received and distributed the energy from the “main” power plant and didn’t use their own generators.

Most substations are owned and operated by electric utility companies, but large industrial or commercial customers often install their own substations. These customers use a great deal of power and need to manage it effectively.

Industrial electrician at an electrical substation installation

Tasks Electrical Substations Perform

A substation is a critical component of an electrical generation, transmission, and distribution system. Substations on today’s power grid can perform many different tasks based on their specific design. Here are some of them:

  • Transfer power from the transmission system to the distribution system in an area
  • Transform voltage from high to low
  • Transform voltage from low to high
  • Change the frequency of the current
  • Convert current from alternating current (AC) to direct current (DC) and vice versa
  • Switch current to back-up lines in case of failure

Most of these substations are automated, relying on Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA) systems to control and monitor the transmission of electricity and other commercial and industrial processes.

Common Electrical Substation Components

Substations designs depend on the electrical needs of an area or a specific customer and will have the appropriate equipment and infrastructure based on these needs. Most substations use the following components to manage their electrical needs:

  • Switches
  • Protection and Control Equipment
  • Transformers
  • Circuit Breakers and/or Fuses
  • Capacitors
  • Voltage regulators
  • Reactors

Electrical Substation Installation Infrastructure

Substations also require space and infrastructure to support them. Many substations are constructed in more remote areas within fenced enclosures to ensure proper clearances, access to sensitive equipment, and room for expansion in growing areas. Other substations might be constructed in special-purpose buildings to reduce transformer noise, protect the equipment from extreme temperatures, keep people out, or prevent an eyesore. In areas where land is costly, substations might be designed within high-rise buildings or underground. Substations in coastal areas need to be constructed or located in elevated structures to avoid flooding and storm damage.

Tri-State Electrical Contractors Installs Industrial Electrical Substations in Most Southeastern States

We provide a wide variety of industrial electric services, including electrical substation installations, repairs, and retrofits. We are licensed in Tennessee, Alabama, Georgia, Texas, North Carolina, South Carolina, and (soon) Florida. To learn more about how Tri-State Electrical can help you with your commercial electrical project, give us a call at (423) 800-2134, fill out our simple online form, or email us at info@tristateec.com today.

Electrician installing PLC from an industrial power company in Memphis

What Are Some of the Industries That Use PLC Programming?

Programmable Logic Controller  (PLC) programming is an essential component of any commercial or industrial control system. It can be programmed by a user to perform many different functions, such as:

  • Input/Output Control
  • Logic
  • Timing
  • Counting
  • Communication
  • Data processing
  • File processing

This makes programable logic controllers very useful for many different industries.

Electrician installing PLC from an industrial power company in Memphis

HVAC Industry

Controlling the air temperature and quality in any large building is a daunting challenge for anyone, especially if you have multiple tenants with different temperature preferences. Heating, cooling, and ventilating processes require numerous sensors to keep the temperature at a comfortable level and possibly even protect sensitive products or equipment such as IT infrastructure. An HVAC system with one central point of control supported by multiple PLCs can save a business thousands of dollars in energy costs.

Oil Production and Refining Industry

Oil and gas production and processing processes are extraordinarily complex and rely upon exact mixtures of chemicals, temperatures, and pressures. For the right chemical processes to happen, there needs to be precise control of many variables. And PLCs are the perfect technology for handling these tasks.

Glass Industry

To produce glass, the material ratios need to be precise and follow in-depth procedures to ensure that the final glass products meet specifications.

Paper Industry

PLCs are helpful in the paper production process. They also help manage the operating speeds of rollers and giant offset printing presses that require precise timing to ensure that the final printing is perfect.

Cement Industry

The mix must have the correct proportions of many raw materials in a kiln to produce high-quality cement. PLCs help ensure that these materials are added, mixed, and monitored to make high-quality cement. Cement companies must use a distributed control system that includes PLC controls to manage coal kiln, ball milling, and shaft kiln.

Other Industries

Almost every manufacturing industry relies on PLCs to automate tedious or error-prone processes that can produce millions of dollars of waste each year. Here is a sampling of the other industries that use PLC technologies extensively:

  • Aerospace
  • Food production and processes
  • Health care
  • Plastics
  • Textile manufacturing
  • Packaging and labeling
  • Transportation systems
  • Warehouse fulfillment
  • Traffic control
  • Mining
  • Steel production

The use of PLCs during the COVID-19 pandemic allowed many businesses to continue work as usual despite the difficult circumstances.

Let Tri-State Electrical Contractors Automate Your Workflow

We provide a complete range of industrial electrical services that can result in considerable savings. Our PLC retrofits improve your efficiency and reduce your energy costs. To learn more about how Tri-State Electrical can help you with your industrial electrical project, give us a call at (423) 800-2134, fill out our simple online form, or email us at info@tristateec.com today.

Industrial electrician installing an industrial control system

What Are Industrial Control Systems?

An industrial control system is a type of control system used to automate various industrial processes. This includes multiple devices, networks, systems, instruments, and controls that work together to handle complex industrial tasks. They are used widely throughout manufacturing, energy production, water treatment, transportation, packing and shipping, and many other industries.

Industrial Control System Designs

How the industrial control system is designed depends on this industry and the specific tasks that need to be automated. But most of these systems use one or more controllers mounted on or near the equipment performing the automated tasks by the industrial control. These controllers typically use a front panel to program or manually control the process.

Industrial electrician installing an industrial control system

These industrial control systems can have many controllers networked together to control multiple processes to perform complex, sequential operations using either local or remote interfaces. There are two major types of industrial control system configurations.

Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA)         

SCADA industrial control systems do not provide complete control of the process, but they focus on the capabilities and provide control at the supervisory level. SCADA systems typically use Programmable Logic Controllers (PLCs) placed in various locations. They acquire and transmit data and integrate with a Human Machine Interface (HMI) to provide centralized monitoring and control for many process inputs and outputs. This allows workers to manage processes via long distances, reducing the need for numerous local workers or workers to travel vast distances between work environments. Examples of some tasks that SCADA systems typically automate include:

  • Opening and closing valves, breakers, and circuits
  • Collecting data from sensors
  • Monitoring local environments for alarms

This makes SCADA systems used widely in the water treatment and distribution, electric power production and transmission, and pipeline management industries.

Distributed Control System (DCS)            

Distributed Control Systems control production systems for a specific function in one location. Thus, each function or set of functions is controlled by a particular control system and not handled by one control system for the entire process. This is good for complex processes because if there is a failure in one part of the process, you can still continue your operations outside of it.

As a result, you see distributed control systems in many industries that use complex processes over a large area, such as:

  • Automotive
  • Manufacturing
  • Electric power generation
  • Food processing
  • Chemical and oil refining
  • Water and wastewater treatment

Either way, both types of industrial control systems require experienced, expert industrial electricians to make sure that they are installed and operating right.

Tri-State Electrical is the Premier Industrial Electrical Company Serving the Southeastern US

We provide a wide variety of industrial electric services, including industrial control systems. Learn more about how Tri-State Electrical can help you with your commercial electrical project, give us a call at (423) 800-2134, fill out our simple online form, or email us at info@tristateec.com today.

Installing LED lighting as industrial electrical services in Charlotte, NC

8 Methods to Conserve Electricity for Industrial Customers

Industrial customers such as factories, warehouses, and production facilities use a tremendous amount of electricity. As a result, energy costs are one of the most significant expenses an industrial business has. Every little action you take to conserve electricity adds up to considerable savings. Here are a few energy-saving tips you can implement to reduce your industrial electricity consumption.

1 – Shut Down Equipment That Is Not in Use

One of the easiest actions you can take to reduce your electrical costs is to shut down machinery and equipment when not in use. Not all equipment in an industrial plant needs to run all of the time, so taking a few minutes to shut off equipment not in use saves energy.

Installing LED lighting as industrial electrical services in Charlotte, NC

2 – Upgrade Lighting Systems

The introduction of energy-saving LED lighting uses a lot less energy than incandescent, halogen, and fluorescent lighting. Upgrading your lighting in all indoor and outdoor areas, including parking lot, signage, and security lighting reduces your lighting energy consumption anywhere from 25% to 80%.

3 – Update HVAC Systems

When looking at areas to reduce your energy cost, look closely at your HVAC systems. According to Siemens, heating and cooling typically uses anywhere from 20 to 40% of your total energy consumption.

4 – Inspect Your HVAC System

Carefully review your refrigerant lines and air compressors for leaks. Even one small leak in these areas can cost you a lot of money. Air conditioning lines should also be insulated to protect them from absorbing heat from the outdoor air.

5 – Reduce Peak Demand

In most locations, peak demand takes place in the daytime, usually in the afternoon. Because of this reason, energy companies charge higher rates because of the demand. One way to offset these costs is to perform energy-intensive activities during off-hours or scheduling more workers at non-peak demand times. As a result, second and third-shift workers can get work done using energy at a lower cost.

6 – Improve Insulation

Insulating your walls and roof reduces the amount of energy you need to your workplace comfortable. In addition, the better your insulation, the easier it is to keep your workplace warmer in winter and cooler in summer.

7 – Reset Your Thermometer for the Season

Setting the thermometer a few degrees higher in the summer and a few degrees lower in the winter may make the workplace a bit more uncomfortable, but it will save a lot of money on energy costs.

8 – Clean and Maintain Equipment Properly

Taking the time to clean your machinery and putting it on a maintenance program will save on energy costs. Simple tasks such as proper lubrication, exchanging dirty filters for clean ones, and dozens of other low-cost, routine tasks assure that all of your equipment will remain highly efficient.

Let Tri-State Electrical Contractors Help You Save Money

We provide a complete range of industrial electrical services that can result in considerable savings. Our energy-saving electrical system retrofits improve your efficiency and reduce your energy costs. To learn more about how Tri-State Electrical can help you with your industrial electrical project, give us a call at (423) 800-2134, fill out our simple online form, or email us at info@tristateec.com today.

Worker installing a high-voltage industrial electrical project

5 Examples of Industrial Electrical Services Projects

A general definition for industrial electrical services is any design, installation, troubleshooting, or repair of electrical systems for industrial clients, such as manufacturers, warehouses, factories, machine shops, construction projects, and much more. Here are details about a few of the services we provide.

1 – Designing New Electrical Systems

Designing a new industrial electrical system must be carefully coordinated with the rest of the construction team and the building owners. The industrial electrical contractor needs to have a good idea about what type of workspace, machinery, lighting, etc., will be in the design. The customer will have requirements, but they are looking to the electrical contractor to be the final word on the electrical system design.

Worker installing a high-voltage industrial electrical project

2 – Remodel/Rewire Existing Industrial Electrical Systems

Sometimes, an industrial building’s existing electrical system is no longer suitable for the business’s day-to-day activities. So the old electrical system will need to be torn out, a new electrical system installed. This requires careful evaluation of the existing load on the current system. Where have there been problems with the existing system? What are the company’s current power requirements? And more. In many ways, a remodel can be more challenging than a completely new electrical systems installation.

3 – Automation and Control Systems

Today’s industrial environments rely more than ever on smart technology. As a result, electrical contractors cannot just install the machinery and expect it to run. Today’s industrial electric contractors must understand the interfaces for these systems and how to design, program, and customize the controls systems for the electrical function of the equipment and the communications and integration with the machinery controls, control panels, and much more.

4 – Conveyor System Electrical Work

Conveyor systems come in many different configurations. They can be highly complex, automated solutions or simple conveyor systems. These systems always come with electrical controls integrated with the production line. These systems often require a bit of tweaking to get the conveyors working smoothly, so it doesn’t hurt to have an industrial electric company available for troubleshooting.

5 – Industrial Generator Installation

Industrial generator installation, just like most other industrial electrical services, is a complex undertaking. Many factors need to be considered, such as:

  • Are you installing it inside or outside?
  • How old is the building where the installation will take place?
  • Does the area experience extreme weather such as torrential downpours, hurricanes, or snowstorms?
  • Are there any local laws or regulations that may impact where and how you can install the generator?
  • How much power does your building use at peak usage?
  • How long do you need the backup generator to run?

These are just a few of the factors that need to be considered when installing an industrial generator.

Tri-State Electrical is the Premier Industrial Electrical Company Serving Alabama, Tennessee & Georgia

We provide a wide variety of commercial and industrial electric services, including high-voltage installations, conveyor system electrical work, substations, backup generators, power distribution centers, and much more. To learn more about how Tri-State Electrical can help you with your industrial electrical project, give us a call at (423) 800-2134, fill out our simple online form, or email us at info@tristateec.com today.