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What Are The Business Benefits of Using Infrared (IR) Windows?

Your company’s management team is challenging the reliability maintenance team to “do more with less” to minimize electrical equipment errors and unscheduled downtime. Organizations that are focused on safety, operational efficiency and risk reduction are adopting Maintenance Inspection Windows with Infrared (IR), Visual and Ultrasound capability to perform condition-based maintenance inspections on critical electrical assets under full load conditions. Let’s learn about the benefits in more detail.

Today, savvy companies are switching from a “calendar-based” maintenance program to a “condition-based” maintenance program because they want to maximize the reliability of their operations, improve the safety of their operations and reduce their overall operating costs.

Case Study: A Powerful Case For Infrared Windows

Consultants are helping management teams analyze the following questions:

* Can I increase the reliability of my company’s operations to provide uninterrupted service to my customers?

* How can I minimize unplanned downtime that increases my company’s repair costs?

* What products are available to increase the safety of my personnel as they perform their routine inspections?

* Are there products available today that are manufactured following a “Safety by Design” protocol as outlined in the NFPA 70E Hierarchy of Risk Controls? Many assets will display errors, or some type of CBM indicator of deterioration, long before they fail.

Safety and Standards Compliance

Workplace electrical accidents such as shock, electrocution, arc flash and arc blast, claim hundreds of lives and cause thousands of burn injuries each year in the United States. OSHA requested that NFPA 70E be created because, as new technologies become available, it is recognized that most of these fatalities and injuries could be prevented; hence the publication NFPA 70E: Standards for Electrical Safety in the Workplace® evolved. Maintenance Inspection Windows with IR, Visual and Ultrasound capability are products that fall under the Substitution Level in the Hierarchy of Risk Control Methods enabling routine and safe inspections of energized electrical assets in a safe and guarded condition.

Cost Savings and Efficiency

Electrical assets should be inspected frequently since many will display errors or some type of CBM indicator of deterioration long before the asset fails. Performing frequent inspections and trending the inspection data over time determines if an asset is deteriorating. Once an asset has been identified with faults, a preventive maintenance to fix the asset can be scheduled at a convenient time for the company eliminating unplanned downtime and potential loss of revenue due to service interruptions to their customers.

Historically, electrical asset inspections were time-consuming, potentially dangerous to personnel and expensive. Assets had to be powered down, panels had to be removed, personnel had to dress in appropriate Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), assets had to be powered up and allowed to reach thermal stability and thermal imaging and ultrasound data collected followed by powering down, reinstalling the panels and finally, powering back up. Most of the time during these inspections was considered “non-productive” work adding little or no value.

Maintenance Inspection Windows dramatically decrease the “non-productive” time seen with CBM inspections. The Windows provide non-intrusive access to the electrical asset, so personnel can perform the inspection. The Maintenance Inspection Window maintains energized electrical equipment in an “enclosed and guarded” state eliminating the need for removal/reinstallation of panel covers and the need to wear special PPE.

Conclusion:

Performing frequent inspections of mission critical assets and performing trend analysis of inspection data over time may pinpoint an asset that is beginning to show signs of deterioration. Once an asset has been identified as a potential failure risk, preventive maintenance can be scheduled and performed. Adopting Maintenance Inspection Windows increases the company’s asset reliability, minimizes their downtime by scheduling repairs when needed as opposed to when the asset fails. It also minimizes the risk of unplanned service interruptions to their end-user customers. Companies realizes decreased maintenance costs, safer working environments, compliance with safety standards and minimal revenue losses.

A Powerful Case For Infrared Windows

A regional Power Generation Facility had been tasked by their insurance carrier to perform regular preventive maintenance on the switchgear within their facility.  Unfortunately, regular downtime was not a practical option for them as the processes required to do the live inspections were hazardous and required more manpower and resources than they had to provide. In addition, they too were feeling the pressure of the requirements of NFPA 70E and were starting to re-think their strategy since inspections of energized equipment was becoming more restrictive, more time consuming and more costly.

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