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European legislation requires regular inspection and maintenance of electrical equipment installed within hazardous areas

Author : J GALE

26 January 2011

European legislation requires regular inspection and maintenance of electrical equipment installed within hazardous areas. Read More

The ATEX regulations demand accurate documentation of realised inspection processes in order to prove a company’s compliance with legislation.

Arnlea Systems Ltd focuses on wireless maintenance solutions for the oil & gas, chemical, pharmaceutical and automotive industry. In order to enable usage of its system within hazardous areas, Arnlea integrates ecom instruments’ explosion proof handheld computer i.roc x20.

i.roc x20 ensures compliance with maintenance regulations

The challenge

Maintaining and inspecting electrical equipment installed within hazardous areas of plants represents an enormous task for maintenance personnel.

Considering that the amount of items to be registered and inspected can easily exceed several thousands, keeping an up-to-date equipment register increases the complexity of this challenge even more as constant changes - area classification upgrades / downgrades, equipment replacement and modified regulations - occur.

In addition, paper-based data gathering methods make maintenance and inspection tasks difficult. These methods lead to:

• Untimely visibility, i.e. inspection results do not immediately become visible to inspection managers

• Lack of traceability, i.e. paper-based forms are easily mislaid/falsified and therefore insufficient regarding regulations

• Inflexibility towards condition based and risk based maintenance as these strategies are difficult to manage effectively with paper-based data gathering

• Ambiguous identification, i.e. electrical equipment is difficult to identify due to illegibility of signs and data plates.

The solution

In order to automate asset identification, tracking and inspection, Arnlea Systems provides its customers with an asset management system for use within hazardous areas.

First of all, RFID tags are installed on electrical equipment which needs to be inspected or tracked. By means of RFID technology and the i.roc, equipment is identified unambiguously by simply pointing the i.roc at the appropriate tag. In addition to identification, Arnlea’s software tools enable that accurate equipment information like inspection history and details to be immediately displayed to the on-site technician using the i.roc.

The technician is then able to verify currently known details and update them if necessary. In case of malfunction, equipment defects are recorded in order to ensure subsequent analysis and remedial action afterwards. Data entered by the technician is immediately verified to eliminate data entry errors.

Beyond equipment identification and data display, Arnlea’s asset management solution offers further features:

• Criticality of each area on the plant can be defined individually

• Maintenance strategies can be defined individually for each area depending on its criticality/condition

• Full electronic audit trails including inspection results are provided

• Real-time integration with existing maintenance management systems is proven and available.

The benefits

Implementing Arnlea’s asset management system leads to various benefits for maintenance personnel and their enterprises.

Timely visibility

Due to the i.roc and wireless data transfer, inspection results are timely visible to on-site technicians and off-site maintenance managers. Thereby remedial action can be taken immediately and costeffectively.

Accurate & error-free data

As the inspection process is no longer paper-based, data collection and transmission is more reliable and accurate than before. Automated inspection steps replace manual inspection steps like completing paper forms and transmitting measured data to databases via manual input. Thereby, error-proneness of data collection and transmission is reduced significantly.

Compliance with regulations

The intrinsically safe handheld computer i.roc allows technicians to record data and view information even in hazardous areas due to its compliance with ATEX and FM. This path of data collection is necessary for the supervision performed by external safety institutions as it is mandatory to collect and record data in a traceable and authentic process.

 


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