Volume 5 | Issue 3 | Year 2002

Two brothers from Oklahoma who understood the Zen of small electric motors opened the doors to their shop in 1954. They began a commercial operation designed to keep table fans spinning during the hot Oklahoman summer — and to make sure that blenders could blend and mixers could mix and grinders could grind. From that point on, the growth of the company can only be described as meteoric – or maybe electric. Today, Southwest Electric Company manufactures and repairs electrical equipment of gargantuan dimensions – from giant transformers to complete electrical substations, and all the switchgear and rotating electrical equipment in between.

The company’s principal offerings revolve around transformer sales and service, metal-clad switchgear and rotating electrical equipment, such as motors, generators, pumps, adjustable speed drives, gearboxes, hoists, cranes and other similar equipment and controls. It is the kind of equipment used by large industry, utility companies and oil producers. In fact, Southwest Electric has a patent on a specialty transformer that is installed in virtually every oil-pumping facility on the globe.

Strength in Remanufacturing
The strength of the company lies in its ability to work with its clients in the remanufacture of equipment, rather than in the replacement of depreciated machines with brand new products. In so doing, Southwest Electric Company reduces the cost of production for client companies, strengthening them and helping to keep a lid on the cost of electrical and other energies.

Joe Garza, the company’s marketing guru, boasts of Southwest Electric’s ability to “take broken transformers and repair them to perform better than when they were manufactured. Transformers don’t always have to be replaced when they break down. Southwest Electric can repair them and get them to operate good as new.”

Southwest Electric has four motor repair shops, a transformer production facility, and a specialty transformer division, all in the headquarters state of Oklahoma. In addition, there is a substation field service division in Nashville, Tenn., and a custom switchgear division in Louisville, Ohio. Also in Ohio, a little over a month old, is a spacious office complex providing space for administrative functions. The principal revenue generators are the transformer repair business and the sales of specialty transformers.

The Power Transformer Division of Southwest Electric Company redesigns and remanufactures failed or obsolete transformers. In all cases, the remanufactured equipment meets or exceeds current mandatory standards, using copper conductors and state-of-the-art insulating materials. Resident engineers perform computer-based analysis on the soon-to-be-transformed transformers, and then redesign the transformer incorporating Southwest’s exclusive coil-clamping system. Any additional refurbishing is determined at this time, including the reinforcement of structural members. Then skilled, experienced craftsmen remanufacture the transformers in accordance with documented procedures and under the strict control of a comprehensive quality program that ensures compliance with customer requirements and the rigid standards of Southwest Electric.

Power Services
The same division provides on-site services for transformers and other substation equipment. Inspection, testing, maintenance and repair complete the expansive list of services that keep electricity coursing through the nation’s copper wires. The work is done by experienced transformer specialists. In most instances, it can be completed at the site; occasionally, however, the equipment needs to make a trip to the repair shop. Not a problem. Southwest can get it there, get it fixed and get it back.

All the work is arranged, scheduled and coordinated through a field service coordinator/customer service representative, who serves as the single point contact and sees the job through to completion, on time, on budget and in compliance.

Southwest’s specialty transformers, designed with the oil industry in mind, also require the inspection, testing, maintenance and repair found in the servicing of electrical generating equipment. Here, the company’s field service capabilities include working with rigging. For that end of the service, Southwest usually relies on a network of qualified, experienced subcontractors with specialized equipment and skills. The bottom line is the ability to perform total repair, from a leaking gasket to a complicated coil reclamping. Southwest Electric’s service team gets the job done.

Generating Excellence
Rotating electrical equipment service centers comprise a sizeable slice of the Southwest Electric service pie. They test, maintain, repair and remanufacture motors, generators, pumps, adjustable speed drives, gearboxes, hoists, cranes and other rotating electrical equipment and controls. A resident electrical design engineer based at the Oklahoma City service center provides technical support for all of Southwest’s rotating electrical equipment service centers. The company is one of the few of its type in the area with in-house coil-winding capabilities and local stocks of wire, facilitating an extremely rapid repair response.

Switchgear services are of two types: standard and site-specific. Southwest Electric hires switchgear technicians who are skilled, experienced and trained specifically in circuit-breaker and protective-relay technology. They provide complete testing, calibrating, repairing, re-conditioning, remanufacturing and retrofitting services for all kinds of switchgear, including low-voltage, metal frame breakers, low- and medium-voltage switches, and medium-voltage, air-magnetic or vacuum circuit breakers, and motor starter contactors. The procedures in the rebuilding of circuit breakers and contactors far exceed accepted industry standards. Custom switch-gear service includes state-of-the-art CAD software and a full library of designs for the oldest and newest product lines.

Taking all the divisions and services into consideration, 50-year-old Southwest Electrical Company has diversified within a particular industry — not a bad position to be in during the ups and downs of the energy market. There seems to be no reason why the company won’t continue its growth and prosperity well into the future.