In India, several thousand occupational accidents take place in the Electrical room annually. The loss of lives, injures and the social cost of the large number of accidents caused directly by low maintenance of electrical panels and switchgear can be reduced by the inherently safe design of the panel and by proper installation and maintenance.

An electrical panel or switchboard operates in a hot industrial environment. The ambient temperature in India ranges from 35ᴼ C to 50ᴼ C. Initially, everything works well. But soon the heat and accelerated aging catches up!

Overheating can start from several areas; connections can overheat and be damaged, components may be impaired, insulation degrades and in all the risk for fire and arc flash increases manifold. Checking the temperature rise in the Panel is the single most important technique to ensure the electrical safety of the switchboard, to avoid the effects from overheated equipment.

As per IEC and considering India’s weather, the maximum allowable temperature for copper bus bars is around 140ᴼC, for individual components is around 125ᴼC, and about 105ᴼC for externally insulated conductors. Hence it is important for users to make sure that the panel does not get overheated during operation.

One way of temperature measurements without direct contact is by use of a high resolution IR-camera. The IR thermography can only be done periodically, hence any abnormality in-between inspections will be missed. It is also difficult to capture hidden areas not accessible from the front or in panels which cannot be opened for thermography during operation.

To address these concerns, we now have Hot spot Monitors which is a continuous temperature monitoring device, for hot spot and temperature abnormalities detection in electrical connections of power distribution systems like bus bars, MCCs, drive panels, switchgear, and bus ducts. The unique non-conductive fiber optic technology with secured connections allows simple field installation in low, medium, and high voltage electrical systems up to 80kV.

The IoT enabled Hot Spot Monitor logs, alarms, and enables users to trend temperature variations that are indicative of a potential fault. It can be integrated seamlessly with any control systems. The result is real-time insights into equipment health with the ability to issue alerts when anomalous temperatures are detected, allowing maintenance teams to safely prepare and schedule out repairs as opposed to responding to unplanned downtime.

We are aware that manufactures are looking for safe and productive work environment which provides maximum uptime and high equipment efficiency.

Pima Controls Pvt. Ltd. is an ISO 9001:2015 Certified professionally managed Company focused on Distribution and Supply of Industrial Automation and Electrical Products and Services, partnering with world-renowned quality companies since 1986. They help Machine Builders and End Users carry out Predictive Maintenance strategies.

Tags: Temperature Rise, Hot Spot, Electrical Safety, Thermography, Efficiency, Uptime, OEE

Author: Vineet Parikh, Ahmedabad

Business Leader, Investor, Industrial Automation Consultant

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