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  Our sister publication Process and Control Today's Q&A interview with Sanid Usanovic, Senior Technical Sales Manager for Fluke Corporation

20  September  2022

  Which of Fluke's solutions are most suitable for the energy sector in the terms of generation, transmission and consumption?

There is no one-size-fits-all solution for the energy sector in these areas but there are three over-arching requirements that Fluke designs all its solutions around – accuracy, ease-of-use and versatility. In addition, at Fluke, we offer engineers in the sector a choice of off-the-shelf solutions or custom-designed solutions, depending on their specific requirements.

Whichever tool is used, the criteria are the same – determining the current status of the problem, obtaining real-time current and voltage measurements and performance parameters then delivering accurate and detailed analyses of the results and sharing that data immediately. Power and network analysers are capable of taking these measurements while integrated documentation software enables comprehensive reports to be produced.

Other ways of obtaining data on core parameters can be via thermal imaging or sound measurement technology. Examples of Fluke’s solutions include digital multimeters, thermal cameras, electrical testers, portable oscilloscopes, leak detection tools and laser distance meters. Among the latest tools to be introduced are Fluke’s ii900 Sonic Industrial Imager and its 1770 Series Power Quality Analysers.

What advantages can electrical professionals offer their customers by means of energy measurement technology?

The very latest energy measurement technology is designed to enable electrical professionals to identify in the shortest possible time whatever problems there may be, highlighting any energy losses and, therefore, potential savings. By carrying out analysis automatically, the measuring systems – whether looking at supply voltage, load management, overtemperature or other problems – are able to make time-sensitive operations much more efficient while minimising the amount of downtime required for maintenance. For example, checking temperatures (identifying hotspots) can be carried out easily and with minimum disruption using a thermal imaging camera while leaks in compressed air systems can be located using acoustic imaging, while production operations are in progress. One of our customers has said it takes them 30 seconds to a minute to find an air leak using the ii900 Sonic Industrial Imager and some days they can locate and repair 30 or 40 leaks in just a couple of hours.

Expertise is required when performing and evaluating measurements. What support does Fluke offer users?

Modern and smart measuring devices are designed to be operated often without the need for specialist skills, so minimal support is required in terms of operation. However, at Fluke, we are committed to keeping users up to date with the very latest technology and sharing our knowledge and expertise wherever possible. That’s why the company runs various training courses on a range of subjects, whether at our own training centres or on customers’ premises. In this new world of remote communications, Fluke also offers webinars while a number of application reports can be accessed online. In addition, our applications engineers are well-versed in enabling customers to find a bespoke solution to their specific needs – either online or on-site. Users can also join the online Fluke Community to get updates about tools and learn about training sessions with technical support also always available online, as well as information on repair services and service centre locations.

When measuring power systems, safety for the user also plays a major role. How does Fluke’s measuring instruments adhere to safety practices?

Electricity is dangerous if not respected and can be deadly if unleashed through the use of inappropriate tools. That’s why at Fluke, we always put safety first and takes product testing extremely seriously. For example, our multimeters will protect against electrocution and arc explosion, with a Category IV rating as well as third party certification by an independent test laboratory. Fluke’s Product Compliance Laboratory checks the full range of test and measurement tools beyond the defined standards so that they don’t just meet safety requirements but exceed them. Indeed, the vast majority of our instruments are rated in the CAT IV measurement category and test leads are double-insulated. Products are designed to avoid short circuits while measuring and to prevent costly damage caused by human error. Finally, many of Fluke’s measurement tools use imaging or sound measurement technology, which means our customers can operate them safely and contact-free.

What developments can be expected in the field of energy measurement technology in the next few years?

Fluke has already begun to develop tomorrow’s solutions, including wireless vibration monitoring technology which is capable of revealing machine faults rapidly so as to prevent equipment downtime. The Fluke 3563 Analysis Vibration Sensor system, for example, enables maintenance teams to stop – through performance tracking and fault analysis – potentially catastrophic failures from occurring in production lines. Equipment like this overcomes the issue of monitoring to such a degree being either difficult or cost-prohibitive.

Wireless and remote (battery-operated and contactless) energy measurement tools will become the norm over the next few years, as will equipment that can be operated without specialist skills to compensate for the continual skills shortages that the sector is experiencing. Point-and-scan equipment with intuitive, user-friendly interfaces and real-time transfer of data will enable entire checking and reporting operations to become increasingly automated. The energy measurement sector will be dominated by equipment that delivers even greater accuracy and speed combined with enhanced safety and maximum uptime (productivity) of systems. Examples include Fluke’s FieldSense technology which allows voltages to be measured without contact, with the PQ-Health function giving operators a quick and graphic representation of possible mains faults using an easy to understand ‘traffic light’ function. Another product is LeakQ analysis which enables compressed air leakages to be quantified (in terms of financial losses per year) and classified (leakage type), which makes it possible to display frequent leakage types and prioritise maintenance work.

With the current rising costs in energy, how will Fluke's energy measuring instruments help the user?

One way that our tools will help the user in these challenging times is to use sensors and software to provide smart battery management capabilities that ensure maximum battery life. This enables users to adjust and extend sensor battery life while still being able to obtain the necessary data. Greater use of long-life batteries will enable users to get the maximum usage out of their energy measurement instrument, whether on site or in the field. There is certainly no longer a requirement to locate a mains plug socket to carry out production line test and measurement operations. Also, increased use of automation and remote management as described above will minimise the need for costly travel or relocation, or printing and sending hard copies of reports or using costly PC-based analysis systems. Indeed, today’s measurement tools enable reports to be generated and compiled in-situ and data shared instantly using just a hand-held phone.

Will Fluke's energy measuring solutions help in achieving carbon neutrality on the transition to net zero within the business? And if so, how?

We are committed to developing tools that target industrial energy usage and keep it as low as possible. Energy savings can be achieved through the general inspection of key systems and targeted data gathering, enabling facilities to address any wastage by making changes to their operations, maintenance, equipment or controls. In a steel recycling plant in Germany, for example, our vibration testing tools reduced power consumption by 3 per cent. Likewise, after inspection an inefficient compressed air system in the manufacturing sector had 36 leaks repaired, solenoids installed to shut off air when machines are shut off, filters installed and compressors shut down over weekends, resulting not just in reducing energy consumption massively but also generating huge financial savings for the customer. Tackling energy wastage and making factories and facilities significantly more efficient will go a long way towards cutting carbon emission levels as the world moves towards the net zero target.


For more information, please contact:

Sandra Baijens-van Pernis
Fluke UK Ltd
52 Hurricane Way
Norwich
Norfolk
NR6 6JB
Tel:  0207 9420708
Email: cs.uk@fluke.com
Web:  www.fluke.co.uk
   
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