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Dielectric Testing

ANSI Standard for Aerial Lift Safety Check

Joseph Coupal - Tuesday, March 31, 2020
ETS Inspection and Services, Boston, MA

The American National Standards Institute defines the mandatory aerial lift maintenance and repair standards that all lift equipment companies must adhere to. Companies must remain ANSI compliant not only for the purpose of ensuring safety operations but to prevent costly penalties and legal implications as well.

The A92.6 ANSI policy serves as a reference that influences manufacturing and design, rebuilding and reconditioning of all aerial equipment. The guidelines impact not only those who own the equipment, but certainly those who operate, inspect, maintain, and repair the lift equipment.

The annual and frequency inspection directives are listed in the guiding principles and the guidance and emphasis is clear that only certified technicians are to perform these activities. The personnel must be trained and certified in the care of the exact or models of similar function and capability. The inspection must take place at least every 90 days or after 150 hours.

Annual inspections must not exceed 13 months from the date it is previously checked. Plan the scheduled maintenance according to your operation hours and the type of service the aerial lift is employed. ETS can perform this routine upkeep for your machines. You can count on our expert technicians to service your equipment to the most stringent quality standards.

Contact ETS Inspection and Testing Services to help you comply with the regular maintenance of your fleet based on ANSI Standards.

Ways to Mitigate Hydraulic Cylinder Failure Risk

Joseph Coupal - Monday, January 27, 2020
ETS - Hydraulic Repair  - Boston, MA

If your business involves hydraulic equipment, cylinder repair and maintenance is likely a significant element of your operating budget. When that hydraulic equipment fails due to neglect, you can bet an unacceptably high hit will besiege your business due to operational downtime. Don’t let that happen.

A large percent of mechanical equipment failures is due to design failures. This means we can expect that there are hydraulic cylinders that are not exactly engineered for the purpose they're operating in. Although this doesn’t necessarily mean that hydraulic equipment failure is immanent, it certainly will shorten the expected life cycle.

So, here are things to look for and to conclude from your hydraulic cylinder inspections:

1. Rods That Are Bent or Deformed

This is usually caused by:

  • inadequate rod diameter or material strength
  • incorrect cylinder mounting arrangement
  • When cylinders are deformed or bent, deforming load is put on the rod-seal. This leads to leakage and premature seal failure.

2. Rod Finish

The cylinder rod's surface finish has an important impact on the rod seal's life. When it is to smooth, its seal life will be reduced because of scant lubrication. When it is too rough, it will increase contaminant infiltration and an intolerable leakage level beyond the rod seal may rise.

In order to extend cylinder service life, keep the cylinder rod's surface greased, early and often. For some applications, shroud or bellow installation can protect the rod surface and its seals from damage impact and contaminants, can provide comparable life extension advantages.

3. Inflated Cylinder Tubes

Insufficient wall thickness and material strength for the cylinder's operating pressure can result ballooning of the cylinder tube. When the tub balloons, the accurate tolerance between the piston seal and tube wall disappears, enabling high-pressure fluid to bypass the seal. This high velocity fluid can wear the seal and confined heating as a result of pressure drop across the piston decreases seal life. Premature failure of the piston seal can result.

4. Inappropriate Bearing Area

When bearing bands in the gland on the piston are inadequate to support the side thrust moved to the cylinder, the rod and piston seals are burdened with excessive load. This will result in deformed seals and premature failure.

For more tips on hydraulic repair and maintenance, contact ETS Inspection and Testing Services.

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.

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.

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.


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