Opening enclosures/panels/cabinets to inspect energised electrical components can be both a lengthy and hazardous process. As a solution, IRISS manufactures infrared inspection (IR) windows which enable critical components to be easily monitored from the outside without any danger of being exposed to the energised equipment
Safety is an essential ingredient of any business, but injuries and even deaths are still occurring across the world as a result of electricity – shock, electrocution, burns and other electrically induced injury are still commonplace. In fact according to IRISS:
• 50% of electrical deaths and severe injuries are associated with routine maintenance and repair.
• Electrocution is the fifth leading cause of workplace fatalities in the US (arc flash fatalities and victims are logged as burn injuries and so are not included in this figure).
• 60% of workplace fatalities are caused by burns.
• Electric shock is the second leading cause for lost work time.
• Over the last ten years, more than 46,000 workers have been injured by on the job electrical hazards.
80% of electrically related accidents and fatalities involving ‘qualified workers’ are caused by an arc flash/arc blast. In the US, there are an estimated five to ten arc flash incidents every day, but not all result in injury. Furthermore, 2000 workers each year are treated in specialised burn trauma units as a result of arc flashes.
According to IRISS, inspecting energised switchgear within a panel/enclosure would often require a three man live electrical team consisting of two electrical engineers, two electricians for panel removal, and one RCM engineer. NFPS standards recommend infrared inspection (IR) under fully energised conditions, But, just suiting-up in PPE (personal protective equipment) could take up to one a half hours of manpower. Add to this the time to remove the panel cover, inspect and so on and you’re looking at around 4.8 hours of manpower to inspect one electrical panel.
However installing an infrared inspection (IR) window in the panel/enclosure can help towards overcoming the time and safety issues mentioned above. The Industrial grade IR windows manufactured by IRISS enable thermographers to survey critical electrical applications efficiently and safely. According to the company, its VPFR Series IR windows nearly eliminate the risks associated with
IR electrical inspection by providing companies with a non-invasive, closed-panel inspection methodology.
Thermographers using IR windows are never exposed to energised conductors or circuit parts and are not engaged in risk increasing behaviours. Therefore, elevated levels of PPE for invasive surveys are not required, minimising survey time while maximising safety.
To show the time savings that can be made, IRISS has highlighted an application within a paper mill which had 150 pieces of primary switchgear that is inspected annually. The RCM inspections – ultrasound and infrared – are completed energised in line with the requirements of NFPA70E & 70B (full PPE and strict guidelines on how inspections are completed). The inspection was carried out by two plant engineers and one contract RCM engineer. Man-hour analysis of inspecting energised RCM by removing the panels showed it took 558 hours to inspect all 150 electrical panels. However, by using IR windows, the total time taken was reduced to just 30 hours.
Infrared window solutions
IRISS produces its IR windows in a range of shapes and sizes, even offering custom solutions to ensure the window meets needs and applications.
Crystal windows are often used, however these carry significant risk of breakage, especially in the presence of vibration – even an electrical slamming an enclosure door can cause a crystal window to shatter, a real problem in industries such as the food and pharmaceutical sectors. As a solution, IRISS has launched its Platinum Series of IR windows, introduced following continuous development of the original design concept and in response to customer requests. The capabilities of this new window are made possible by the new IRISS Poly-View System patented clear polymer.
This, claims the company, is the only IR window suitable for electrical inspection in the UV, visual and all three infrared spectrums. It has an unconditional lifetime warranty against breakage, is reinforced by an aluminium honeycomb grill, and is not degraded by acids, alkalis, UV, moisture, humidity, vibration or high frequency noise.
As a result, critical electrical components can be easily monitored by the thermographer without any danger of being exposed to energised equipment.
The Platinum series is available in round and rectangular window shapes with customisable features such as housing materials, gaskets, covers, locking devices, etc. In addition, custom solutions with Poly-View System technology can be configured to virtually any shape or size – a capability that is not achievable with crystal technology, states the company.
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