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Dielectric Testing

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.

Hydraulic Cylinder Repair Tips

Joseph Coupal - Thursday, August 08, 2019
ETS - Hydraulic Repair  - Boston, MA

Hydraulic cylinders are essential components of the commercial hydraulic systems of cranes, forges, construction vehicles, and agricultural machines. They are the actuating mechanical element that enables unidirectional force. Fully integrated hydraulic cylinders are used in exchange for levers and gears. The basic parts of a hydraulic system include cylinders, valves, pumps, filter and many more. Among all these component parts, the hydraulic cylinder is the component that mandates close inspection and more frequent maintenance.

Seal damage is the common cause of hydraulic cylinder failure. It results from corrosion, fitting errors, and improper metalwork clearance. The piston rod or bearings can be damaged through fluid contamination, misalignment of cylinder and load. Also, extreme temperature and chemical action can contribute to the defects. Prior to performing repair, make sure to clean the surface properly and remove the hoses and plugs connected to it. Right after taking off the components, empty all fluid within the cylinder. From here we can start the repairs for the hydraulic system. You need to prepare the following tools:

  • seal kit
  • rubber mallet
  • screwdriver
  • punch
  • pliers
  • emery cloth
  • Torque wrench

Since leaking is the usual problem encountered in hydraulic systems, repair process involve dismantling the cylinder, proper diagnosis of the failure, faulty part repairs / replacement and cylinder rebuild. When doing this, it’s important to consider the following repair tips:

  1. When dismantling the hydraulic cylinder make sure to check all components not only the faulty parts.
  2. Do not forget to put back the hydraulic wear bands for this guide ring will help lessen metal-to-metal contact.
  3. A bent or curve in the rod is an indication of an early defect of rod seals.
  4. Always use the right fit tools when repairing to avoid metal surface scrapes that can turn to corrosion issues in the long run.
  5. Be careful when handling larger hydraulic cylinder for they are utilizing high tension springs to operate.
  6. When replacing seals, measuring the current size of the seal is not advisable for it will expand or shrink depending to environmental condition.

Make sure to always inspect the seal, rod and bearing when performing maintenance procedure. If you notice a rough surface in the rod, this indicates the hydraulic system is imperiled. This will increase the friction so it's important to polish it to minimize rubbing and prevent corrosion. Performing regular hydraulic system maintenance and repairs will minimize defects and failures in your equipment. For more information about hydraulic system repairs, contact ETS Inspection and Testing Services.

Crane Safety Inspection Services – Keep Your Company Out of the News

Joseph Coupal - Friday, July 26, 2019
ETS - Crane Inspection - Boston, MA

High profile crane disasters have made national news in 2019. These are devastating stories with devastating effect on lives and corporate liability. Companies that own and deploy cranes need independent third-party crane inspection services to protect your operators, your business, and all those who work anywhere within proximity to cranes. Yes, routine crane inspection services is about so much more than regulatory compliance.

Crane companies usually stock a variety of make and models which heightens the risks for accidents. Most companies simply don’t have the expertise to be able to thoroughly test and evaluate every single model owned by the business. OSHA requires frequent recurring inspections of the equipment regardless of the type. To ensure they are operating at top condition. our crane inspection services provide for early detection of defects or excessive wear that can compromise the safety of the operator and those working near it.

We guarantee that our crane inspection and maintenance services deliver both value and peace of mind to the business owner. To learn more about routine crane safety inspection, contact ETS Inspection and Services.

Electrical Utility Fleet Maintenance and Repair Services

Joseph Coupal - Monday, July 15, 2019
ETS Inspection and Services, Boston, MA

One of the our core competencies here at ETS Inspection and Testing Services is providing maintenance and repairs of electrical utility equipment. This includes servicing aerial devices, digger derricks, cranes and support equipment. We empower you to employ fleet services that are always in perfect working order. Our fleet services guarantee that your company meets and exceed all OSHA and ANSI requirement.

Although electrical utility fleet are procured with certified safety components, this equipment is constantly subject to damage during routine operation. They sustain damage due to in-service accidents, overloads, and fatigue. Regular fleet maintenance will eliminate operational and safety deficiencies. As it pertains to the cost of maintaining electrical utility fleet equipment, it’s a pay now or pay later reality and pay now is almost always less expensive than paying later. This translates to taking care of your equipment, your people, and your business by having a strategic maintenance plan in place.

You can also extend the life of your fleet with regular routine maintenance. For more information about fleet maintenance and repairs, contact ETS Inspection and Testing Services.

Dielectric Testing Ensures Aerial Devices Are Safe to Use

Joseph Coupal - Thursday, June 27, 2019
ETS Inspection and Services, Boston, MA

Aerial lifts must undergo recurring safety evaluations to protect both human and mechanical resources. These safety testing measures are potentially dangerous acts in their own right as it puts operators and those working near the equipment in close proximity to extremely high voltage. Dielectric testing is accomplished by supplying precise measurable voltage to the aerial devices.

Electrical current leakages is a common occurrence within all aerial devices. This can be attributed to several factors. While small quantities of electric leakages is considered safe and tolerable, certain conditions hasten the degradation of the insulating material and transcend the device into a dangerous condition. The act of degrading insulation introduces the risk of operators being subject to direct contact with high voltage current. Faulty insulation obviously can lead to serious personal injury and death. Dielectric testing and inspection validates the insulation mechanism of an aerial device whether it can handle voltage variations under normal operating conditions or not.

It is recommend that at least once year, dielectric testing must be performed. Overtime, aerial devices may receive repairs or component replacement. So frequent testing might be necessary to meet safety standards. Contact ETS Inspection and Services to check if your aerial devices are due for dielectric testing.

Crane Inspection and Testing Checklist

Joseph Coupal - Thursday, June 13, 2019
ETS - Crane Inspection - Boston, MA

Crane Inspections come in two forms -- frequent and periodic. Prior to conducting crane inspections, it is important to have a background on what type of inspection is about to be performed and what specific items are going to be checked. Both have different objectives:

Frequent Inspection Checklist

  1. Cranes are checked for any maladjustments which may hamper its optimal performance.
  2. Check for any impairment or leakage in lines, tanks, valves, drain pumps, and other air or hydraulic systems.
  3. Inspect for any deformation or cracks in the hook. Also, note for any unusual sound. These are included in both daily and monthly inspection. A certification record must be maintained with the inspector's signature and date during monthly inspection.
  4. Check the hoist chains along with its end connections for any distortion.
  5. Thoroughly check for any excessive wear of components.
  6. Check whether the wire rope reeving system is working in accordance to manufacturer’s recommendations.
  7. Check brakes and emergency switches whether they are operational.

Periodic Inspection Checklist

Additional inspection steps that are typically performed on an annual basis:

  1. Check for any deformation, cracks or corrosion of components.
  2. Search for loose bolts or rivets; cracked or worn sheaves and drums; worn, cracked or distorted pins, shafts, gears, bearings, rollers, locking and clamping devices.
  3. Look if there is an excessive wear on brake and clutch system parts, linings, pawls, and ratchets.
  4. Check load, wind, and other indicator inaccuracy.
  5. Check for any fault or unsafe power plants including exhaust leakages and emergency shutdown feature.
  6. Inspect for worn out chain drive sprockets and excessive chain stretch.
  7. Inspect electrical apparatus for any pitting or any other impairment of controller contactors, limit switches and push-button stations.
  8. Check worn-out tires.

For more information about crane inspection and testing services in Boston, MA, contact ETS Inc..

Importance of Hot Stick Testing and Repair

Joseph Coupal - Tuesday, May 28, 2019
ETS - Inspection and Testing, Boston, MA

The Hot Stick is a very important tool for linemen when working with live line poles. It is an insulated shaft usually made of fiberglass. This is the proper tool when manipulating high-voltage cable lines so electric workers won't get electrocuted while maneuvering the components of a live electric pole.

In order to ensure the safety of those using hot sticks, the device should be subjected to insulation testing prior to use. In the United States, inspection of hot sticks must be done every 2 years. The insulated stick lets the linemen fulfill all sorts of necessary work such as voltage testing, fuse replacement, open or close switches and many more without directly exposing them to the live elements. The purpose of the tool will be defeated when regular testing and maintenance is neglected. The American Society for Testing Materials Standard specifies the stringent requirements for utilizing insulated poles and these include regular hot stick inspection and maintenance.

If you are looking for a reliable testing company for electric materials, vehicle and other insulated equipment for electrical works, ETS Inc., is the right place to go to. We handle testing, minor repairs, dielectric testing, certification label, and a certified test report. Contact ETS, Inc. for more information about Hot Stick Testing and Repairs.


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