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IRISS Delta T (1)

Keeping personnel away from energised equipment is of paramount importance but that doesn’t mean operational efficiency can be neglected.  Productivity must be assured by systems that run optimally as losses are costly, not just in terms of output and reliable service provision but the company’s reputation too.

Preventative maintenance is a key ingredient in this regard but meaningful quantitative test measurements can only be taken when the system is under load.  It’s a catch 22.  How do you get the best indication of system health without compromising the safety of the maintenance team?

A strategy that is gaining popularity is the adoption of electrical maintenance safety devices (EMSDs) that allow maintenance tasks to be completed while the switchgear enclosure remains closed.  Indeed, many companies are asking for these products to be incorporated by OEMs to the original product or system so it is ‘safer by design’, in line with IEEE recommendations.

So what is classified as an EMSD?  Typically, they are devices such as, infrared windows for thermal inspection, ultrasound ports for airborne ultrasound, external voltage detection ports and voltage tap-off connection for motor current analysis.  Inevitably they also allow the use of online monitoring systems to transmit data via wired or wireless sensor technology.

As no panels have to be removed, inspections require less manpower and lower PPE levels.  They can also be conducted quicker and more efficiently.  In short, EMSDs provide a cost-effective way for companies to comply with standards for maximum inspection safety while minimising commercial risk.

IRISS is a leading innovator in this field.  It is best known for its polymer infrared windows and has recently added three new products to its portfolio.  The first adds continuous monitoring to the company’s capability list, both as a stand-alone system and as an addition to its patented window products.

Infrared imaging does a great job of detecting thermal anomalies caused by conditions such as loose connections, overhead circuits and unbalanced loads.  It does, however, only provide a snapshot of the faults on the day of inspection, leaving the subject components unmonitored for the balance of the year.

To meet the clear need for continuous health monitoring, the IRISS range of electrical maintenance safety devices (EMSD) now includes Delta T Alert™, a self-contained, wireless temperature monitoring system that attaches to an electrical enclosure cover.  It bridges the gap between infrared inspections by regularly recording and reporting critical temperatures within electro/mechanical enclosures.

The patented Delta T Alert unit is simple to install and comprises two temperature sensors.  One monitors the interior temperature within the enclosure and the other, the ambient room temperature. Both are configured to collect data on a daily basis, at specific time intervals.

The data is wirelessly transmitted for analysis and trending and warns the operator if the internal temperature rises above pre-set thresholds. Remedial action can then be taken before the problem becomes serious and warrants unscheduled system shutdown, incurring costly downtime.

This IRISS technology can also be specified as an integral capability of its polymer window products.  The combination ensures the problem is verified with no operational disruption.  The on-board Delta T Alert system sends a remote alarm giving the location of the problem and temperature details.  The maintenance engineer can then conduct a thermal scan of the live system, through the IRISS infrared window, in complete safety.

Once the repair is completed and the system re-energised, a second infrared inspection will confirm the fault has been eliminated. The electrical enclosure can then be benchmarked and the system reset with the new baseline temperature delta.

The IRISS Delta T Alert monitoring system complements and enhances the safety and effectiveness of any electrical maintenance programme and its application is not restricted to electrical distribution systems, transformers and switchgear.  It can also be used to monitor the health of a wide variety of motors and mechanical equipment, isophase and bus bar systems, controls and other enclosed systems.

Infrared windows that are designed to withstand the rigours of the industrial environment and maintain accuracy are the products for which IRISS is already world-renowned.  With the IRISS CAP-ENV, however, the company has set the bar even higher in terms of product durability.  This new product is unequivocally the toughest and most reliable infrared window available and suitable for thermal inspection of energised equipment in the visual, UV and all three infrared wavelengths.

What sets this product apart from others in the IRISS range is a stainless steel housing complete with a reinforced, lockable door which is environmentally sealed to IP67/NEMA 6.  IRISS CAP-ENV is therefore particularly suited to offshore, onshore or marine applications, exposed industrial environments and in climates characterised by temperature extremes.

These credentials are assured by a series of certifications and, in common with all IRISS products, the CAP-ENV is also protected by the IRISS unconditional lifetime warranty.

Also new from IRISS is an asset tagging system with a difference.  In essence, the E Sentry Connect-IR Asset Tag is a smart boiler plate system that works with any make or model of infrared window.

While the majority of similar products operate using RFID technology, this new IRISS system works in tandem with a smart phone using near field communication (NFC).  It’s low cost and very easy to use, providing instant electronic access to inspection data to ensure quick, safe and effective thermal inspection.

IRISS E Sentry Connect-IR uses the principle of inductive coupling to transfer information between the tag and the smart phone.  As the communication device powers the tag, no batteries are required.

The tag, which is activated when the phone is nearby, contains all of the information relating to the IR window and inspections that need to be completed, as well as historic data from previous inspections.  It can also be programmed to automate tasks such as send a text message, go to a URL, launch an app and run a task on a smart phone; all stored data can be erased and re-written as needed.

The system can also back up the data, report alarms and transmit other alerts via the free IRISS app.  As an option, this information can be uploaded to the cloud for access by asset managers. It provides a data exchange point for updating information from the inspections, for checking the assets’ operational state and for setting inspection routes.

The IRISS E Sentry Asset Tag is now a standard feature on the IRISS CAP series infrared window and available as an option on the VP Systems.  It can also be purchased separately to use as required.

In conclusion, the incorporation of EMSDs, either when the system is specified or when it’s in the field of proving an excellent way of minimising multiple risks.  They avert electrical fires, minimise loss of production and safeguard maintenance engineers.  They are a win-win for any business.

IRISS

IRISS is the manufacturer of the world’s first and only industrial-grade infrared windows. Their design is based on the 17 years of field experience that the company’s founder, Martin Robinson, gained as a Level III thermographer. And it is this end-user perspective that makes IRISS unique in the industry.

IRISS designs and manufacturers IR (Infrared) windows and safety solutions for electrical assets and provides training for electrical engineers.

IRISS provides its customers with unsurpassed quality at every touch point and focusses on continuously improving infrared (IR) window technology, building reliable products, exceeding customer expectations, whilst remaining a science-based R&D company and protecting their polymer IR windows through the IRISS Unconditional Lifetime Warranty.

IRISS industrial-grade IR windows facilitate safer, more efficient inspections of energized electrical equipment when compared to traditional crystal windows. IRISS award-winning, IR window designs feature a durable transparent polymer lens that allows visual, UV, and short/mid/longwave IR spectrum inspections. And…is available in custom shapes, sizes, and colours to fit the needs of any application.

As solution providers, the team at IRISS brings a multitude of experience from world-class maintenance programs together to meet the individual needs of commercial, industrial, marine, power generation and government maintenance programs.

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