Two Minute Tips  

Don’t Forget the Walk Around

Martin Robinson | President, IRISS Inc.

Believe it: Visual inspection of plant equipment is one of the most useful tools available. A good set of eyes and the ability to see subtle changes in equipment is invaluable. For over two decades, PdM (Predictive Maintenance) technicians use best practices to walk around equipment seeing, smelling, and listening before they open their PdM toolbox and begin an infrared, ultrasonic, or vibration inspection. A new drip pattern on the floor, a change in sound, or the smell of burning or a chemical can signal a developing problem.

When optimizing the PdM program, you are visually inspecting the condition of MCC (Motor Control Center) cabinets regularly, to make sure nothing has deteriorated, no tooling left behind, and pests have not made the cabinet their new home.

When the cabinet is open, it is a best practice to take a digital photo to document and provide reference points for your IR (Infrared) survey. If the cabinet is not regularly inspected, failures can sneak up on you. It is not always as practical to de-energize a cabinet to perform a visual scan of components. Potential failures can be present within the cabinet but not show a change in their heat signature. You might assume that everything is within specifications, record your measurements and continue your route inspections. Where you have critical equipment, you need regular visual inspection to find problems such as wiring and insulation breakdown or annealing, install a visual inspection pane.

Do not ignore your senses when conducting PdM inspections of plant equipment. Trust your judgement. Head off problems before they become big. When you walk through the plant, create a heightened sense of awareness of what is going on around you. Be sensitive for anything that does not seem right. Rely on your senses as well as your PdM tools to inspect and diagnose equipment problems.

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About the Author

Martin Robinson President, IRISS Inc.

For over 30 years, Martin Robinson has been a pioneer in the field of condition based maintenance technology.  He spent 18 years in the British Army specializing in field maintenance of combat fleet vehicles.  Mr. Robinson continues to be an innovator and pioneer the technological benefits of Infrared Thermography internationally.  He has met with, consulted, or advised international maintenance and reliability leaders on electrical preventive maintenance (EPM) and electrical safety standards of NFPA and OSHA.  A recognized authority in the field of Infrared (IR) Thermography, Mr. Robinson has designed CBM programs to include IR, Non-destructive Testing (NDT) and implementation of green energy initiatives and energy management strategies.

Martin holds a NEBOSH certificate in Occupational Safety and Health, a Level III Certified Infrared Thermographer and is also a Certified Maintenance and Reliability Professional (CMRP) through the Society for Maintenance and Reliability Professionals (SMRP).  He is also a member of IEEE, NFPA and is a standing member on the technical committee CSA Z463 guidelines on maintenance of electrical systems and a member of the IEEE P1854 working group (Recommended Practice for Electrical System Design Techniques to Improve Electrical Safety).