Five to 10 arc flash incidents occur on electrical equipment every day, injuring workers and disrupting operations. Many of these events occur during infrared scanning of energized motors, switchgear and other machinery. Shermco Industries recently introduced a safer way to see hidden hot spots and hazards without removing the covers on motors or electrical equipment. The new product, Infrared Sightglass, uses nondestructive infrared technology to allow anytime visual inspection of energized internal areas while equipment is online and under load.
In December 2007, Shermco Industries installed Infrared Sightglasses at Texas Woman’s University. The safety windows were applied to the school’s electrical power distribution equipment.
The project was implemented to create a safe work environment where maintenance personnel can survey electrical equipment and clearly identify the thermal signatures of problems under load during predictive maintenance while eliminating the shock and arc flash boundaries.
With IR Sightglass, TWU maintenance technicians are now able to:
- Perform tasks without having to go use an energized electrical work permit
- Proactively inspect critical areas such as bus bars and breakers without disrupting or interrupting operations
- Avoid the time and trouble of changing into arc-related personal protective equipment
- Safely see hidden hot spots and hazards without removing the covers on motors or electrical equipment
- Easily pinpoint loose connections and other problems during maintenance operations
“Scanning energized switchgear and electrical equipment while it’s operating poses numerous risks,” said Ron Widup, executive vice president of Shermco Industries. “Installing an IR Sightglass enables TWU to safely expand their infrared program to previously inaccessible areas while mitigating the risks associated with electric shock and arc flash.”