Fluke, one of the world's leading manufacturers of electronic test and measurement tools and software for professionals, has developed a range of wireless test tools and thermal imagers designed to provide optimum safety for personnel working in areas exposed to arc flash hazards.
Limiting personnel exposure to arcing and electrocution hazards is a fundamental principle of any electrical safety strategy. Fluke believes that the best way to protect operators is to provide them with suitable test equipment that not only protects them effectively, but also drastically reduces - in some cases halving - the time needed to work on live circuits in arc hazard areas.
An electric arc is the light and heat resulting from the explosion caused by an arc fault. Its temperature can reach 19,000°C, which can ignite the operator's clothing and burn the skin of anyone within a radius of about one meter. Electric arcs can also melt metal, causing severe damage to the lungs and eyes, leading to hospitalization and even death.
Technical, health and safety teams must be made aware of safety distances, and must wear appropriate clothing and rubber insulating gloves. These measures are restrictive, but the use of non-contact measuring and testing tools makes it possible to limit both the level of personal protective equipment and the time spent in the risk zone.
One such product is Fluke's PQ400 electrical measurement window, which is permanently installed on cabinets, with voltage and current sensors placed inside the panel. The PQ400 makes it possible to obtain essential network quality and energy data much more quickly, under optimum safety conditions. Users can plug their power quality measurement tools directly into the window to gather all the data they need.
In addition to its safety benefits, the PQ400 window reduces maintenance costs and downtime, as it enables essential power and energy quality measurements to be taken without having to open the panel door. This window also enables regular monitoring without disrupting operations, while benefiting from more effective measurements.
A second Fluke product, the CV400 ClirVu 4in, a permanent infrared viewport, lets you see what's on the other side of the panel without exposing yourself to high voltage, or having to wear full protective gear. Allowing maximum visibility of the panel using a thermal camera (which simplifies the inspection process by allowing measurements to be taken without opening the cabinet), Fluke's widest viewing window also reduces maintenance time and costs.
Similarly, the Fluke TiS75+ thermal camera identifies and measures the thermal energy of a source without physical contact, so you can immediately see what's too hot or cold, before it causes a fault. This camera not only allows the operator to take readings with one hand, and to view and record the measurements while staying out of the arc hazard zone, but also to compare multiple readings taken at different times with the Fluke Connect app.
A fourth product, the Fluke 376 FC multimeter clamp, can be installed on the equipment and transmit measurements from the arc hazard zone, meaning that anyone within a 20 m radius of this equipment can open the Fluke Connect app and read the readings in complete safety. As well as reducing the time spent in the risk zone, the multimeter clamp enables measurements to be logged, analyzed and tracked remotely to pinpoint faults precisely.
Finally, the flexibility of the Fluke 3000FC digital multimeter means that measurements can be read on the Fluke Connect app, outside the arc hazard zone. This equipment reduces the time spent in the risk zone, and features a highly legible display with large digits and a bright background.
According to Eric van Riet: "There's no point in endangering technicians if they can avoid the arc hazard zone. Products such as wireless and non-contact tools, whose measurements can be accessed on remote screens, make it possible to get as far away as possible from the risk zone or hazard, while producing accurate instantaneous measurements that can be analyzed remotely. Protection against electric arcs is essential, and the new wireless thermal imaging and testing tools are the best way to ensure operator protection."
Photo: Fluke TiS75+ thermal imaging camera