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Dielectric Testing

Commonly Missed Items During Digger Derricks and Aerial Device Self-Safety Inspections

Joseph Coupal - Thursday, January 09, 2020
ETS Inspection and Services, Boston, MA

Annual inspection of Digger Derricks and Aerial Devices are essential acts not only to adhere to OSHA or ANSI requirements but to ensure the equipment is safe to use. A thorough inspection must be applied to all system components of the device. Although user manuals specify the components to be checked, a certified technician with adequate training, knowledge, and competitive experience is essential to ensure a comprehensive inspection.

If you're an owner and you choose to perform you own annual inspections, just know that you are likely to miss or overlook critical items that professional inspectors are trained to focus upon. Here is some list of most frequently overlooked items:

Overlooking Safety/Operational Labels

Operational and Safety labels provide significant details to users. The decals attached to the equipment might be damaged or removed from power washing over time. You are likely to miss a component if the decals are no longer in place. Hand signal charts must not be omitted from digger derricks. They provide an important function in the communication between operator and ground personnel, especially in a loud setting. Potential injury or damage in equipment is imminent if there's a failure to convey directions clearly.

Poorly Maintained Hydraulic Oil Levels and Hydraulic Filters Are Not Replaced

Hydraulic oil levels must be maintained based on the manufacturer's recommendation in order for the equipment to run seamlessly. If it reaches a low level but left unattended, it could lead to untimely costly repairs. It could initially cost you $2,000 repair for burning up one pump. Aside from that, you should also consider the deficit due to the equipment being removed from service.

Meanwhile, you should not check the fill levels when the outriggers are extended for it can concur to overfilling. When the system is overfilled, the space is no longer enough for expansion. This can add up to oil leakage. Moreover, a dirty oil filter can expedite the deterioration of the key components including pumps, hydraulic valves, cylinders, and hoses. This is because the filter is no longer efficient in trapping debris and contaminants prevalent in the fluid.

Defective Winch Rope

The winch rope should also be unwound and checked by hand at the yearly inspection. If you notice cuts or feel a bulge, this indicates an internal rope damage which is an outcome of shock loading or kinking. This means the rope must be replaced. Rope manufacturers provide more scrutiny and replacement conditions.

Torqued Rotation Bearing Bolts

This is an important item in the inspection list that should not be missed. Two personnel must do the checking so one may rotate the bearing while the other one inspects the bolt torque. Proper bolt torque and greasing must be done. Otherwise, it could result in failure of bearing bolt because the rest of the fasteners are overloaded. Repairs related to bearing failure could cost you up to $10,000.

Bearing Deflection/Backlash Has Too Much Allowance

Inspecting the allowance in the rotation bearing takes a while to master and requires clear insight on how to measure it. Too much allowance could indicate rotation bearing is worn and requires replacement. Furthermore, it may also hint that the boom has been shock loaded.

Leveling Chain Is Too Loose

Aerial devices' leveling chain must have precise amounts of preload. Potential wear and tear can increase when there's too much or too little tension. Inspecting the leveling tension needs removing off the boom lid. When the chain is not kept within tolerance, it may impact the self-leveling of the bucket when the booms motion through their range of motion.

Bucket and Liner Wear and Tear

The structural integrity of the bucket is damaged when there are cracks and distortions noted. A damaged liner can add up to the diminishing dielectric strength. Most of the time, inspectors fail to take off the liner when checking the bucket. Tools can drop and damage the liner, even the bucket. So make sure to check inside and outside the bucket and include underneath it.

Although carrying out the task on your own may appear as an affordable option, it is highly recommended to seek certified technicians who are experts in this field. If you are looking for a certified company who can conduct dielectric testing and inspection, contact ETS Inspection and Testing Services.

Merry Christmas and Happy Chanukah to You and Yours this Season

Joseph Coupal - Friday, December 20, 2019
ETS Inspection and Testing Service, Boston, MA

Christmas and Chanukah share a similar spiritual message: that it is possible to bring light and hope into the world. These two holidays occur together this year, which makes this an even more special holiday season.

This is a season to reflect upon how fortunate we are to have you as our customers: our friends and neighbors. During these holidays, we wish you, your family, and your friends a safe, joy-filled, and relaxing season.

Warm wishes for a Happy Hanukkah, a Merry Christmas, and a most Happy New Year! With peace, joy, and love this holiday season and beyond!

Professional Hydraulic Cylinder Maintenance Services

Joseph Coupal - Tuesday, December 10, 2019
ETS - Hydraulic Repair  - Boston, MA

For years we’ve served the greater Boston area with professional hydraulic preventative maintenance and repair services. Today’s blog post is our way of giving back by sharing our professional knowledge with you to help ensure your business continues uninterrupted and unthreatened by hydraulic cylinder failure. With that said, if they ever do we can immediately respond to provide you with cylinder repair service.

Here are things you must do to protect your hydraulic systems:

1. Keep Hydraulic Seals Intact and Leak-Proof

In order for the cylinder to function optimally, a steady supply of pressurized liquid inside the cylinder is essential. Seals must remain intact to keep the link between the cylinder and the moving rod leak-proof. If the seals are damaged, fluid will leak and will result to diminished force.

Taking extra care to the hydraulic seals will avoid seal leakage issues. Regular visual inspection must be done to check for any signs of wear. When placing hydraulic seals do it with caution in order to ascertain they don't get damaged before installation. Handle seal replacements with care. Incorrect setup will undermine the seal integrity and will lead to leakage over time.

2. Keep Fluid From Being Contaminated

In addition to maintaining a sufficient supply of hydraulic fluid, clean fluid is essential to keep the system's top performance. Old or contaminated fluid will cause damage to the mechanical systems of your heavy equipment.

One common type of hydraulic fluid contamination is moisture. To prevent moisture contamination, use airtight barrels when storing fluid reserves to protect it from solar exposure and temperature variations. This avoids breathing, a phenomenon wherein the water permeates the barrels when they expand and contract. Make sure to only open fluid container in a clean area, flush out the hydraulic system properly prior to adding a new fluid. Doing these measures will prevent fluid contamination, and the potential issues associated with a contaminated hydraulic fluid.

3. Maintain Your Rods – Keep Them Straight

A bent rod can result to eventually result to cylinder failure. The rod can be bent when load weight is moving greater than the force produced by the pressurized fluid within the cylinder.

Bent rods will cause scrapes against the cylinder's inner walls, making it more prone to corrosion. Rod seals may also be susceptible to damage due to bent rods.

In order to accurately test the straightness of the hydraulic rods, a dial gauge is used. A rod that goes beyond the admissible straightness standard should be fixed using a press or replacement might be necessary to maintain the hydraulic cylinder's integrity.

The condition of your hydraulic cylinders set in your heavy equipment can greatly affect their performance. Thus, it is important to prevent cylinder failure at all costs. Being proactive is the key in preventing cylinder issues by taking note of the aforementioned tips.

When you need hydraulic repairs and services in Boston, MA, contact ETS Inspection and Testing Services.

Now is the Time for Us to Say "Thanks" to YOU!

Joseph Coupal - Monday, November 25, 2019
ETS Inspection and Testing Service - Boston, MA

Thanksgiving Day is the perfect time to remind one another of the many reasons there are to be grateful. We gather on this day to be thankful for what we have, for the family we love, the friends we cherish, the success we have had, and for the blessings that will come.

Thanksgiving is more than the festivities, it gives us time to ponder the lessons that we have learned and how we can spread happiness around, to look back at all the great memories and good people who came into our lives. We appreciate you, our customers and clients, so much.

At this time of year our thoughts turn gratefully to you with warm appreciation. Our best wishes for a Happy Thanksgiving.

How To Extend The Service Life Of A Hot Stick Device

Joseph Coupal - Tuesday, November 12, 2019
ETS - Inspection and Testing, Boston, MA

The life expectancy of electrical hot stick varies. At any point, it may fail depending on the use. But some hot sticks can stay in perfect condition for years if they are well-maintained and are not abused. There are several situations that can cut short the life of a hot stick like when they are accidentally dropped from a significant height, but there are also a number of ways to extend its life and service.

Regular Cleaning

Cleaning the hot stick serves one or two purposes that both ensures safety of the linemen using it. Cleaning is a way to eliminate contamination from the surface which could cause an electrical tracking. Doing this also protects its finish while maintaining its hydrophobic qualities. Silicone impregnated wiping cloths or disposable Silicone Wipes must be used in daily basis for cleaning. It can keep the finish of the hotstick intact. While, Moisture Eater II wipes are used for heavier contamination as it removes both dirt and moisture from the surface.

Visual Inspection

It's a protocol to perform a visual inspection to the device prior to use. This practice should include checking its proper functioning while searching for any damages, missing parts or loose components, worn out finish, cracks, scratches and fissures or any electrical tracking evidence. If you suspect a damage to the device, remove it from service immediately.

Handling and Care

Stands or tarps are used to keep the hot sticks from touching the ground of mud and dirt. Handle it with care and avoid dropping it for impacts could lead to defects. A special protective tubes, bags or racks are designed to secure hotsticks during storage and transport.

Testing

Electrical testing of hot sticks must be done at least once every two years and every time there's an uncertainty to the insulation properties of the hotstick. Frequent periodic testing may be necessary depending on its work condition, level of care and frequency of use. It must be done as well after repairs have been made. A worn out finish can erroneously pass the test when you apply sufficient amount of silicone to its surface. It's important to check it thoroughly. In case it fails the the testing, it must not be used for service until proper repairs are made. Certified technicians must assess the issue, do the necessary repairs, and the hotstick must be subjected again for testing before it can be used again.

Repairing and Refinishing

A minor damage or slightly worn surface can still be repaired to extend its service life. The defective components can be replaced, sustained scrapes and scratches on the surface can fixed. Only a qualified personnel should perform the repairs. Since its the linemen's safety that is at stake here, careful attention should be rendered to these protocols. Doing this can also help extend the service life of the hot stick device.

Contact ETS Inspection and Testing Services for hot stick testing and repairs.

Preparing Your Electrical Utility Fleet For Winter

Joseph Coupal - Wednesday, October 23, 2019
ETS Inspection and Services, Boston, MA

Winter can be brutal in New England. Make sure your electrical utility fleet is prepared for both the expected and the worst-case scenario during this winter season. A winter preparedness plan is vital and it includes regular servicing of your fleet equipment. ETS Inspection and Testing Services here in Boston will ensure that your fleet services is as prepared to serve uninterrupted this winter season.

We travel across New England to test and certify equipment. We also employ the use of our large warehouse should you be better served by on-site maintenance services. We service the widest range of electrical utility equipment to include aerial devices, digger derricks, cranes and support equipment. Most of our clients enjoy the use of scheduled recurring fleet maintenance and servicing. This provides the business owner with the very best operational readiness level possible.

Regular fleet maintenance ensures the safety of both your crew, your equipment, and everything that they service. When it’s time to schedule your next fleet maintenance and repair service, contact ETS Inspection and Testing Services.

Dielectric Measurement Techniques

Joseph Coupal - Tuesday, October 08, 2019
ETS Inspection and Services, Boston, MA

Measuring dielectric properties is an important aspect of improving the design of electrical equipment. Dielectric testing validates the quality of insulating conductors and other electronic components. The importance of testing electricity within materials is undeniable, but having the right tools and expertise is the only way to get meaningful results.

To get a better understanding of dielectric measurement techniques, we've detailed six methods that are commonly used:

Coaxial Probe – This serves as the most commonly used method for measuring permittivity in materials. A metallic probe is pressed against the material or immersed in a liquid to measure reflection coefficient, which determines the permittivity. It is a simple method that enables the user to collect measurements over a wide range of frequencies.

Transmission Line – Another method commonly used in dielectric measurement involves placing a sample on a coaxial line, or waveguide, and then measuring complex scattering parameters with a VNA analyzer. The transmission line method uses both reflection and transmission to gather measurements with higher sensitivity than the coaxial method.

Free Space – Free space is a method of testing electricity across a wide band of frequencies. Large, flat samples of materials are placed under extreme heat and in hostile environments for a dielectric measurement. The advantage of this testing method is having the ability to grab reflection and transmission coefficients without any contact. Additionally, both electrical and magnetic properties of the material can be evaluated.

Resonant Cavity – This method collects measurements with high accuracy and high-temperature support. You can also get accurate results with dielectric loss materials. This method is based on the shift in resonant frequency of a tuned cavity when a loss material serves as a resonator.

Parallel Plate - To run this test, the tester must sandwich the dielectric material between two electrodes to form a capacitor. Then, measurements are taken from an LCR meter or impedance analyzer with a dielectric test fixture. This method is typically used to measure low frequency materials.

Planar Transmission Line – This method of testing material in RF and microwave components utilizes a microstrip line. Fabrication is simple and its compact nature makes it suitable for most industrial applications. With this form of testing, dielectric measurements are deduced from a change in permittivity utilizing suitable expressions.

As with any type of testing or measurement, it’s always important to address variables such as frequency, accuracy, temperature, material or anything that’s important to your application. To learn more about dielectric measurement and testing, contact ETS Inspection and Testing Services.

Source: https://www.matsolutions.com

10 Aerial Lift Safety Tips

Joseph Coupal - Wednesday, September 25, 2019
ETS Inspection and Services, Boston, MA

This blog post lays out a number of reasons why any business owner who employs aerial lifts to seek regular and recurring high-voltage dielectric testing. Testing is critical to guaranteeing the safety of your staff, equipment, and the systems you are employed to service. Below we offer you ten aerial lift safety tips:

Tip #1: All Aerial Lift Operators Must Be Trained

Majority of aerial lift accidents are due to human error. Proper training is the best way to prevent mishaps while operating the equipment. Operators must comply with OSHA's requirements and training.

Tip #2: Equipment Inspections Must Be Done Prior Each Shift

Pre-start inspection must be performed before operating an aerial lift. This routine checkup enables operators to detect any potential hazards or defects that may pose threat to safety. The inspection process covers both vehicle and lift components.

Tip #3: Follow Manufacturer’s Instructions When Operating The Lift

The manufacturer's instructions include particular details about the equipment. The weight and height capacities are noted, as well as the limitations that should not be exceeded to prevent untoward incidents while operating the unit.

Tip #4: Never Disregard Safety Devices

Aerial lift safety devices provide protection to operators from pressing the lift beyond its limits and results an accident such as mechanical malfunction or a tip over.

Tip #5: Never Move the Lift with the Platform in High Position

Workers are at risk of falling when they try to move the lift while staying on the platform.

Tip #6: Never Position Aerial Lift Between Overhead Objects and the Bucket

Overhead objects, signs or structures which may get in touch with workers inside the bucket can possibly crush them when the lift is situated too near the object.

Tip #7: Maintain a 10-Feet Distance Between Power Lines and Assume They are Live

Keep at least 10 feet distance between the power lines and the lift. Always assume that these power lines are live even if they are lying in the ground. Rubber gloves, hard hats, and rubber soled shoes are required to be worn within the job vicinity.

Tip #8: Protective Gear Must Be Used At All Times

Aerial lift operators working in raised platforms must wear full body harnesses connected to boom or basket straps. These protective tools prevent workers from being thrown out from the basket and hit the ground. Guardrails are not meant to be used for sitting, standing, climbing or even to support stability. Always check job site safety protocols before beginning work.

Tip #9: Place Aerial Lifts on Stable, Even Ground

Aerial lifts should be situated to stable or even grounds. When it's necessary to place it in an inclined position, make sure to set the brakes and use wedges on the wheels to prevent it from rolling. Outriggers should also be utilized when provided.

Tip #10: Do Not Exceed Aerial Lift’s Load Capacity

Although aerial lifts are extraordinarily capable equipment, they also have limitations. Always refer to manufacturer's instruction manual regarding its weight and height limitations before using it for loading. Be reminded that the weight limitations of the lift also include the tools and other accessories in the bucket besides the workers. Take time to calculate it to ensure worker's safety and prevent tip over accidents.

Lastly, make sure to submit aerial lifts for regular high-voltage dielectric testing to identify any defects and perform necessary repairs in order to prevent it from further decay and deterioration. Contact ETS Inspection and Testing Services for aerial lift testing and repairs.

How Hydraulic Cylinder Repair/Rebuild Is Done?

Joseph Coupal - Monday, September 09, 2019
ETS - Hydraulic Repair  - Boston, MA

A cylinder definitely calls for professional repair when you notice any leaking or power loss. When repairing hydraulic cylinders, your servicing professionals will perform the following steps:

Step 1. Disassembly - Remove the cylinder from the equipment. Take off the cap. Loosen the input valves to reduce the pressure and pull out the piston out of the cylinder to check for any damage or defects.

Step 2. Inspection - Visually inspect the piston to determine the problem. If there's a bent in the piston shaft or a scratch in the Cylinder Bore, you need to send it to a professional hydraulic repair service to fix it. A specialized machine and skills are required to create a new shaft or honing of the cylinder bore. This must be done to eliminate the scratches and restore the seal. If the shaft and honing have no issues then it is likely a damaged seal that is causing the leak.

Step 3. Repacking The Seal - Acquire a seal kit for your specific cylinder. The seal kit has all the needed seals and O-rings required to replace the damaged ones. Carefully, remove the old seals and exactly replace it with new ones in place. Be extra careful when handling the seals. Make sure you don't damage it in anyway. Otherwise, you have to repeat the process again.

Step 4. Re-assembly - Oil the seals using an oil or a hydraulic fluid and carefully, slide the piston back inside the cylinder. If it is hard to push the cylinder back due to pressure, check the input valves and loosen it to let the air out. The piston should easily be moved back and forth. If you think it is too tight, check the seals if they are in place. When the piston is already in, put back the cap. Test the cylinder first prior to re-attaching it to the equipment. Connect the hydraulic hoses and check for leaks.

If you think the task is way out of your league, contact ETS Inspection and Testing Services. We guarantee quality repair of your hydraulic cylinder to extend its life for longer.

Electrical Hot Stick Testing Services

Joseph Coupal - Thursday, August 22, 2019
ETS - Inspection and Testing, Boston, MA

Hot sticks are insulated shaft with fittings on the ends which enable workers to adjust and manipulate live conductors and equipment from a safe distance. They come in varieties of length to serve different use and handle diverse voltage level of the charged equipment.

Today's Hot sticks are made of fiberglass. Previous designs were made from wood treated to be chemical, temperature and moisture resistant.

Here are some of the common types of hot sticks:

  • Telescopic Hot Stick - are made of several hollow, tubular sections which perch inside of each other. It's top part can be extended and locked using a spring-loaded button that clicks open into a hole. It can be extended as many of the parts needed to carry out the work.
  • Shotgun Stick - has a sliding lever mechanism that enables user to open and close the clamp hook at the end part of the stick. It lets the user fasten the stick to a disconnect ring then close it. The shotgun mechanism functions to unlock the hook when the switch is turned on.
  • Universal Straight Stick - it allows different types of tools and equipment to be connected to the hot stick.
  • Measuring Stick - provides easy and accurate method for infield measuring.

Since hot sticks are use when working with live line poles, it's important that these devices are subjected to regular hot stick insulation testing and maintenance. It must be done at least every 2 years. Seeking for a reliable testing company for electric materials, vehicle and other insulated equipment for electrical works, contact ETS Inspection and Testing Services.


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