Two ways to eliminate or reduce the electrical hazards associated with using automated industrial machinery
'Industrial automation' is a term used to describe the use of computer systems to operate industrial machinery. These computer systems eliminate the need for human beings to manually control these machines. Industrial automation has had a hugely positive impact on many businesses, as it allows for greater efficiency and drastically reduces the number of operational errors that can occur.
However, this type of electrical equipment is extremely powerful and as such, if it is not used with care, can cause injuries, fatalities and damage to equipment. Here are two steps that can be taken to eliminate or reduce the electrical hazards (such as fires, electrocutions and arc flashes) associated with this type of machinery.
Hire qualified and experienced electrical technicians
The industrial electrical technicians that are tasked with maintaining and repairing the automated machinery that is used in factories, power plants and manufacturing facilities, have a long list of extremely important responsibilities.
In addition to running diagnostic checks on the machinery's computer system, they are also expected to detect problems before they begin to pose a threat to the safety of nearby employees. Additionally, it is their job to repair or replace damaged electrical components, keep the circuit boards clean and make sure that the computer's electrical systems are fully grounded.
As such, one of the most effective ways to prevent electrical injuries and damage is to ensure that only the most competent and experienced electrical technicians are permitted to handle this machinery. Their ability to correctly identify problems with the machinery's computer systems, and take the appropriate action, could quite literally mean the difference between life or death.
Take measures to protect employees and equipment from arc flashes
Arc flashes are one of the biggest dangers associated with the use of high-voltage automated industrial equipment. An arc flash is an electrical discharge which is transmitted, via the air, from one conductor to another. The extreme heat produced by an arc flash explosion means that any metal or other materials it comes into contact with will immediately melt and that those unfortunate enough to be standing in its vicinity will sustain severe life-threatening burns.
This is why it is crucial for those managing industrial facilities do to what they can to protect both their employees and the equipment from arc flashes. There are a number of ways to do this. Firstly, it may be worth investing in arc resistant enclosures for all of facility's high-voltage automated machinery. This can help to reduce the effects of an arc flash.
Secondly, it may be sensible for those running the facility to have all of the employees undergo training, so that they are better able to understand and avoid making mistakes which could increase the risk of this type of explosion occurring (such as accidentally touching an energised piece of equipment, for instance). A course relating to this subject would also teach employees how to identify the warning signs of electrical problems which could result in an arc flash, so that they could take preventative action before an explosion takes place.