Joe Hopfinger

Generator Specialist Generator Repairs Division

Joe Hopfinger inspecting a generator


Upon receiving an engineering degree from the University of Missouri-Columbia, I entered into the generator repairs industry with MD&A. Training and observing under MD&A Generator Specialists was a vital learning experience that prepared me to fully develop the necessary skills and experience to become a full time GS (Generator Specialist) myself. Since then, I have been able to utilize these skills across a wide aspect of different challenges to support utility customers needs in times of planned outages as well as forced outages. I have also developed the robotic in-situ inspection program at MD&A to give a cost-effective solution to generator inspections without extensive disassembly typically needed.

What do you do here at MD&A? What aspect do you enjoy most about your role at MD&A?

As a Generator Specialist, I am able to facilitate both scheduled as well as forced outages that arise unexpectedly to meet customers’ needs and expectations. Visual inspections, electrical testing & mechanical testing are all ways to assess the reliability of generators for future operational integrity. I enjoy the challenging aspects that come with each and every unique project. Not all generators are created equal, and each one is a little different from the next one, requiring a wide set of skills that can be applied over a large fleet of different manufactured generators.

What is the most interesting job/ challenge you have come across with a Generator (Stator or Field)?

The most interesting challenge I have come across was having to perform a robotic inspection in Singapore. There were a variety of challenges that took place from the usual robotic inspection, which can be in and of itself a challenging inspection. But combining that with an entirely different set of electrical requirements to power the robot, logistical challenges, and an entirely different set of rules/regulations on a different continent was something I can scratch off of my bucket list.

What is wedge-tap testing for a Generator Stator?

Wedge-tap testing is analyzing the integrity of a generator stator wedge system. Wedges are installed over stator bars in order to adequately compress the bars into the slots, if those wedges become hollow and/or loose, a variety of issues could arise. Wedge tap testing is the process of tapping each wedge with a ball peen hammer and determining based on the sound if a wedge is “tight”, “hollow”, or “loose”. Vibration along the length of the wedge is also an indication of a loose wedge.

On-site, how do you ensure safety every day? And how do you ensure the quality of the jobs completed?

Ensuring safety is the #1 goal at MD&A and begins before work is commenced for that particular day. Job safety analysis (JSA) are conducted with crew members to analyze what activities will be completed that day as well as identifying risks/hazards of the activities and how to mitigate them through controls.

What do you like to do in your spare time?

Woodworking. I enjoy working and creating useful items that can be utilized in my house such as a dining room table and a variety of different wooden toys for my twin sons.


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