Winter is right around the corner and when the snow starts accumulating and the temperature starts to fall, the season of ice, snow and cold can turn a workplace into a survival of the fittest.
If you or your employees work in the field or in any location where winter weather presents safety concerns, you may wish to take some precautions. Steiner Electric and some of its vendors can help. A Winter Workplace Safety Counter Day has been scheduled to run at our Rockford branch on Oct. 31, from 11am-1pm.
The event will bring vendors of personal protection equipment, heating technology, lighting and lighting controls. Because equipment can also be at risk, technology on display will showcase portable testing equipment that can capture test data and have the information delivered to anyplace around the world.
Winter-related slips and falls, frostbite, hypothermia and more can result in time off work, temporary employee costs, overtime for existing employees, and increased insurance costs.
When it comes to personal protection, the head, ears and noses are among the extremities that get cold the fastest and must be protected.
Protective Industrial Products (PIP) will showcase a selection of gloves, head gear, and liners that helps protect workers. Headware includes 2-layer cotton models with mouthpiece, insulated ear barriers, and which have been FR (flame resistant) treated. They come in mid lengths and shoulder lengths.
For its gloves and sleeves, PIP uses Dyneema® and DuPont® advanced fibers as well as other proprietary engineered yarn blends and coatings to meet ANSI and EN standards. Breathable cut resistant gloves allow for dexterous work with wires and other components. Some versions can be used for dry and light-oil applications, and offer good grip and excellent abrasion resistance.
PIP will also feature air-activated hand warmers. The Heat Pack Mini Hand Warmers, which uses oxidation from the interaction of iron powder, activated carbon and water when it is exposed to air, provides 8 hours of warmth. It can be activated and reach full temperature in 2-5 minutes. Heating can be suspended at any time by resealing the inserts in an airtight container.
Frozen pipes can be an aggravating experience for maintenance workers no matter the location.
Pentair’s Raychem products on display include self-regulating trace heating cables that are used for frost protection of pipes, temperature maintenance of process fluids, tank heating, and other applications.
The self-regulating heating cables automatically adjusts its power output to compensate for temperature changes. According to a Pentair video explaining the process, a protective core surrounds two parallel conductors. As the ambient temperature drops, the core contracts microscopically and the number of electrical paths increase and generates heat. Conversely, as the temperatures increases, the core expands and the number of paths decrease.
Pentair will showcase its Raychem QuickNet and Nuheat floor-heating systems. These products are for installation under tile, granite, marble, stone, laminate and engineered wood flooring.
Also on display is the T2Red electric underfloor heating cable that the company says is ideal for temperature sensitive floors such as wood, laminate as well as for natural stone, and ceramic tiles. The self regulating cable can be cut-to-length on site, and can be overlapped or narrow spaced without danger of overheating, the company says.
Illuminating in the cold weather
Cold weather can also play havoc with lighting, especially fluorescent and high-intensity discharge (HID) lighting.
On display in Rockford will be a series of lamps and ballasts that work well in the cold. In addition to the lamps, some of the latest in lighting-control technology will be on display.
For those looking to replace lighting technology that works well in outdoor cold temperatures, then LED might be the answer as they tend to work better in this environment. Cold weather helps the LED stay cool.
RAB will display wall packs and area lighting. Models on display include the RAB HPS Wall Packs for wide light distribution that feature a die-formed aluminum reflector and a prismatic polycarbonate refractor. Metal halide RAB Wall Packs feature symmetrical light patterns to maximize lighting distances between fixtures, while the prismatic optics minimize glare. For security and energy efficiency, RAB will showcase CFL motion controlled Wall Packs that are fully adjustable for 24-hour operation and feature custom applications.
In low-temperature environments such as refrigerated areas, fluorescent lamps can experience adverse performance problems such as “fluttering,” reduced light output and difficulty starting by a traditional ballast.
Cold weather ballasts from Philips can start the fluorescent lamps at temperatures expected to be below 50°F. Cold weather electronic and magnetic ballasts can be specified for lamps that can start them at temperatures as low as -20°F.
Philips will also be showcasing some of its vast range of LED products.
Maintaining machines in the field
Since its 2014 introduction, Fluke Corp.’s Connect technology has won awards from trade show judges, such as the AHR Expo, and from many trade magazine award competitions (EDN, Control Engineering).
The technology allows data collected from a growing number of the company’s handheld instruments such as its multimeters, infrared thermometers, and AC/DC current meters, to be shared via Smartphones to anywhere in the world.
Fluke Connect Assets is a cloud-based wireless system of software and test tools that gives maintenance managers a comprehensive view of all critical equipment — including baseline, historical, and current test tool measurement data, current status, and past inspection data — enabling them to set up and sustain a preventive maintenance or condition-based maintenance system easily with minimal investment.