Most electrical assets require condition inspections be performed while operating in a fully loaded state to identify connection deterioration and potential failure points. Companies are trending towards a Condition Based Monitoring inspection model whereby assets are routinely inspected under full load in a safer closed and guarded condition to gather and trend equipment health data over time. This model allows the maintenance team to anticipate when an asset is at high risk of failure and to plan maintenance to repair or replace the asset before it fails. Maintenance teams also recognize that they must be compliant with new regulations such as NFPA 70E 2018 Edition. Condition based monitoring of assets and compliance to safety regulations are the driving forces behind the requests for incorporating “safety by design” concepts into your equipment specifications and design proposals.
But, what about electrical components that are hidden or in hard to reach locations? An infrared camera can only measure what it “sees.” Can equipment be modified or replaced with solutions that eliminate the hazards of energized electrical inspections? Absolutely!
Custom maintenance inspection windows are commercially available in any size and any shape enabling previously “un-inspectable” electrical components to be inspected safely under full load in a safe and guarded condition. IRISS can even color match the windows to the color of your existing switchgear. Custom inspection windows are available for infrared inspections or for a combination of infrared and ultrasound inspections.
What applications would benefit from a custom inspection window?
Any application that has electrical components that are hidden or hard to reach may benefit from a custom window. In addition, equipment with tight clearances to the panel or door may be better served with a custom panel replacement. Finally, equipment where standard cut-in windows are simply too large or too many windows would be required to see all of the possible targets will be best dealt with via a custom window or replacement panel. IRISS has an extensive library of custom panel designs already for many common OEM equipment configurations. If not part of our library, IRISS can create a prototype via 3D scanning, modelling and rapid prototyping to create custom windows of any size or shape quickly. IRISS is the only manufacturer of custom replacement panels incorporating maintenance Inspection windows that are UL Listed, another key benefit for your customers.
Having a custom inspection panel that allows the IR camera to “see” the previously obscure targets enables the maintenance team to perform electrical inspections in the same manner as on other components. Finally, there is a solution to conducting safe inspections of obscure targets under full load in a safe and guarded condition. Custom inspection windows are economical and assist with a company’s compliance to safety regulations.
Electrical maintenance is extraordinarily hazardous in the workplace. Hundreds of electrical engineers are killed or injured annually due to an arc flash, arc blast or by electrocution. In a recent survey from Plant Services, 60% of the respondents know someone who has been involved in an arc flash incident. Gaining access to electrical components by opening panels to perform inspections is both dangerous and costly to a company. Is there an alternative?
Historically, electrical inspections were based on the calendar (time) and involved a planned shutdown to torque and tighten connections and perform visual inspection for obvious signs of equipment fatigue and contamination. The calendar based methodology missed many hard to spot problems and also the ran the risk of Maintenance Induced Failures where good intentions go horribly astray. With the introduction of Condition Based maintenance tools like Infrared and Ultrasound, companies migrated to energized CBM inspection but did so by opening doors or removing panels with maintenance team dressing in full PPE gear. With the newly published NFPA 70E 2018 risk-based guidelines, companies must review their electrical inspection procedures for compliance to the “Hierarchy of Controls” outlined in the document. Failure to do so could result in fines and more importantly, the creation of a hazardous work environment. More and more companies are replacing time-based inspections with Condition Based Monitoring programs to gather inspection data more frequently and to only “fix” those components that are showing deterioration.
Electrical Maintenance Safety Devices [EMSDs] are commercially available and have been designed for inspection teams to now be able to perform safe electrical inspections on energized equipment in a safe and guarded condition. Any industry that requires power to operate equipment could benefit from EMSDs and the adoption of EMSDs increases annually. Its all about employee safety and risk reduction!
EMSDs, as tools within a Condition Based Monitoring program, enhance efficiency and safety to the maintenance process. Types of EMSD devices are:
- Maintenance Inspection Windows that solely provide infrared thermography inspections or a combination Window that enables both infrared thermography and ultrasound detection
- Ultrasonic Detectors and Ports that are used to detect partial discharge associated with arcing, tracking and corona
- Temperature Monitoring Systems to detect a rise in internal panel temperatures when compared to outside panel ambient temperatures
- Intelligent Asset Tagging Systems that collect and illustrate historical inspection data used by the maintenance team as early warning signs of equipment deterioration
What will the future bring? As the future unfolds, and the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) evolves, newer products will be developed and will add additional capabilities to the holistic maintenance program.
Companies are continuously searching for solutions to mitigate risk, reduce operating costs and increase productivity; especially as they will be held compliant with recent safety guidelines. Companies recognize that preventing equipment failures by performing proactive condition monitoring inspections saves time and money in the long run. Reducing risk and providing a safe work environment is possible with a holistic program utilizing EMSDs.
Many forms of Condition Based Maintenance inspections can be employed to find the early warning signs of impending electrical equipment failure. The Delta-T Alert System monitors and reports critical temperatures within your electrical enclosures and sends data for analysis and trending. If a critical issue arises, immediate notification allows for an appropriate corrective action long before costly damage occurs. Utilizing a non-contact sensing topology and experiential algorithms, installation and setup of a Delta T Alert system can be done in one tenth the time and one quarter of the cost of traditional temperature monitoring systems. Depending on your business, the cost of unscheduled downtime can range from hundreds to thousands of dollars per minute. Installation of a Delta-T Alert system can be easily justified by preventing just a single failure helping you achieve those elusive reliability targets.
Electrical maintenance is extraordinarily hazardous in the workplace. Hundreds of electrical workers are killed or injured annually due to an arc flash, arc blast or by electrocution while performing maintenance tasks. New safety regulations have been published to minimize the risk of injury or death in the workplace. Companies are purchasing new equipment and replacement panels to comply with the new regulations from NFPA 70E (2018 Edition). However, your company has switchgear that varies in both size and shapes. You are wondering if Electrical Maintenance Safety Devices such as maintenance inspection windows or replacement panels with installed windows are available in different sizes and shapes? The good news is YES!
Time based electrical inspections are being replaced with Condition Based Maintenance Programs whereby energized electrical assets are inspected in a safer closed and guarded condition. These procedures are made possible by the utilization of electrical maintenance inspection windows which safeguard the maintenance team while collecting critical inspection data. Maintenance inspection windows are available in routine shapes such as round, square and rectangular and in standard sizes such as 2”, 3”, 4”, 6”, 12”, 18” or 24”. However, for an IR camera to measure accurate temperatures, the IR camera must physically “see” the target. One manufacturer has developed innovative technology that enables any size or any shape maintenance inspection window to be produced allowing more targets to be visibly “seen” by the IR camera. Plus, these inspection windows can provide infrared only or a combination of infrared and ultrasound testing capabilities!
IRISS offers many types of custom maintenance inspection windows. Let’s review the options that are available that make previously “un-inspectable” assets “inspectable”:
- Any Size Window
- Any Shape Window
- Any Size Replacement Panel with Window(s)
- Any Shape Replacement Panel with Window(s)
- Infrared Windows only or a combination of infrared and ultrasound window testing capabilities
- Color Matching to existing equipment is available
IRISS has an extensive library of custom panel designs for many common OEM equipment configurations including switchboards, panelboards, transformers, load centers and switchgear. If not part of our library, IRISS can create a prototype based on OEM drawings, site measurements or 3D scanning. Our advanced manufacturing operation team can create prototype custom windows or panels of any size or shape quickly. IRISS is the only manufacturer of custom maintenance windows or replacement panels incorporating maintenance inspection windows that are UL Listed, another key benefit ensuring your peace of mind.
To learn more about our capability to manufacture custom inspection windows or custom replacement panels, please contact us at info@IRISS.com.
Maintenance inspection windows or panels are now available in custom sizes, shapes and colors to meet your needs for electrical asset inspections. These custom products make previously “un-inspectable” assets “inspectable” enabling your company to achieve compliance with recently published safety regulations. Custom maintenance inspection windows play a critical role in Condition Based Maintenance models.
Your company recently transitioned from a time-based maintenance program to a Condition Based Maintenance program for your critical electrical assets. This transition included the addition of ultrasound inspection capabilities to the program. Last month, you researched the theory behind ultrasound. The maintenance team is curious about all of the industrial applications that could use ultrasound. As the team’s manager, you decided to investigate. Let’s see what information you have found.
Detecting ultrasound waves using handheld ultrasound testing devices play a critical role when used in a Condition Based Maintenance Inspection program. Anomalies in equipment or components of equipment may create ultrasound waves that, when detected, could alert the maintenance team that a component or machine needs to be further assessed for deterioration. The goal is to find the anomaly and determine the health of the equipment and fix it if needed before that equipment fails. Condition Based Maintenance programs are growing in popularity as companies look for ways to proactively detect and fix defects before costly repairs or full replacements are needed.
Your research found many industrial applications where ultrasound inspections could benefit a company where the main goal is to identify equipment that is deteriorating so a maintenance event to repair or replace the equipment can be planned for and scheduled. The cost-effective goal for the company is to find a problem and fix it BEFORE the equipment fails. Equipment failures can be safety risks for personnel and a potential drain on a company’s profit margins.
Here is a partial list of industrial applications from your research:
- Electrical Inspections (examples – detection of Partial Discharge faults: arcing, tracking or corona)
- Air-Leak Inspections (example – compressed air)
- Compressor Testing (example – air ingress in and around the compressor)
- Heat Exchangers, Condensers and Chillers
- Valves (example – inside a piping system)
- Steam Traps (example – defective trap, stuck traps)
- Hydraulic Systems (example – leaks in valves, rams or pumps within the system)
- Mechanical Inspections (example – bearings that on their way to premature failure)
These are just a few applications found and as ultrasound technologies become more available, this list will grow.
Detecting ultrasound waves is gaining popularity as a technology used in a Condition Based Maintenance programs. Companies are continuously searching for solutions to mitigate risk, reduce operating costs and increase productivity. Companies recognize that preventing equipment failures by performing proactive maintenance inspections saves them time and money in the long run. Ultrasound technologies are proving to be a critical tool in a Condition Based Maintenance model.