Protect against arc flashes with wireless testing tools and thermal cameras

Fluke, a leading manufacturer of electronic test and measurement tools and software for professionals, has developed a line of wireless test tools and thermal cameras designed to provide optimal safety for personnel involved in areas exposed to arc flash hazards.

Limiting personnel exposure to elements that present arc flash or electrocution risks is a fundamental principle of any electrical safety strategy. Fluke believes that the best way to protect operators is to provide them with adequate test equipment that not only effectively protects them, but also radically reduces, sometimes by half, the time required to work on energized circuits in areas with risk of electric arc.

An arc flash 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 approximately one meter. Electric arcs can also melt metals, seriously damage the lungs and eyes, and lead to hospitalization and even death.

Technical, health and safety teams must be aware of safe distances and wear appropriate clothing, as well as insulating rubber 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 in cabinets, with voltage and current sensors placed inside the panel. The PQ400 allows you to obtain essential network and power quality data much faster, under optimal security conditions. The user can thus connect their power grid quality measurement tools directly to the window to collect all the necessary data.

In addition to the safety benefits, the PQ400 window reduces maintenance costs and downtime as it allows you to perform essential power and power quality measurements without the need to open the panel door. This window also makes it possible to ensure regular monitoring without disrupting operations, whilst benefiting from more effective measures.

A second Fluke product, the CV400 ClirVu 4in, a permanent infrared watcher, 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. By allowing maximum panel visibility via a thermal camera (which simplifies the inspection process by allowing measurements to be taken without opening the cabinet), Fluke’s largest window also helps reduce maintenance time and costs.

Similarly, the Fluke TiS75+ thermal camera identifies and measures thermal energy from a contactless source, so you can immediately see what’s too hot or cold before it causes a malfunction. This camera not only allows the operator to take photos with one hand, view and record measurements while staying away from the arc flash hazard zone, but also compare multiple readings taken at different times with the Fluke Connect app.

A fourth product, the Fluke 376 FC Clamp Meter, can be installed on equipment and transmit readings from the arc flash hazard area, meaning anyone within 20 m of this equipment can open the Fluke Connect app and read the readings with security. In addition to reducing time spent in the risk zone, the clamp meter allows measurements to be recorded, analyzed and monitored remotely to accurately identify faults.

Finally, the flexibility of the Fluke 3000FC Digital Multimeter allows your measurements to be read in the Fluke Connect app, outside of the arc flash hazard zone. This equipment reduces the time spent in the risk zone and is equipped with a very legible screen, with large numbers and a bright background.

According to Eric van Riet: “There is no point in putting technicians in danger if they can avoid the arc flash hazard zone. Products such as wireless and contactless tools, whose measurements are accessible on remote screens, allow you to move as far away from the area of ​​risk or danger as possible while producing accurate instantaneous measurements that can be analyzed remotely. Arc flash protection is essential, and new wireless thermal imaging and testing tools are the best way to ensure operator protection. »

Photo: Fluke TiS75+ thermal camera

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