Panel Builder System Integrator

August 27, 2019

Do you know the first question you should ask before opening an electrical enclosure? Plant managers, building maintenance staff and electrical repair personnel repeat the question “Is it safe?” so often that it’s practically a mantra. And rightfully so. The people in these professions are constantly at risk of experiencing a life-threatening current while on the job. They regularly take precautions such as removing their wedding bands and must be vigilant in checking and rechecking for telltale signs such as alerting lights and sounds—all in the hope of returning home safe and sound at the end of their shifts.

The rates of accidental injury or fatality related to the risks of voltage testing in industry. (Image courtesy of Panduit.)

According to Panduit, 18.3 percent of facilities surveyed reported that personal injuries occurred when a worker was using a handheld voltage test instrument. The risk associated with voltage testing should not be ignored, especially when the rate of “near misses” is 36.7 percent.

Companies and agencies have developed processes to help ensure worker safety around live wires. Most commonly these processes include protocols such as the lockout-tagout (LOTO) method. In fact, some jurisdictions in the United States and Canada require the implementation of the LOTO method whenever workers are dealing with heavy, hazardous machinery during repair or maintenance. While LOTO works to represent that voltage testing has taken place and that machinery is safe to work with, there are cases where the LOTO protocol failed (sometimes due to criminal negligence).

The network infrastructure and electrical wiring company Panduit, based in the United States, claims to have simplified matters by creating a device that can be installed in the enclosure and, with a simple red or green indicator light, shows if it is safe for workers to proceed.

Voltage Indicators

A voltage indicator is a tool used by workers to check to see if it is safe to touch or be near electrical equipment. These tools can indicate the hazardous presence of voltage and alert workers if there is. However, these tools cannot verify if the equipment has been de-energized. To have the ability to confirm that the equipment has been de-energized, such a tool or device would need to be able to be grounded. If equipment cannot be de-energized—or it cannot be verified that it has been grounded—then there is a risk for workers on such equipment.

Voltage Testers

The reason that indicators are necessary is that the devices known as voltage testers aren’t able to warn of the presence of hazardous voltages unless a test has been run. This means that if a worker runs such a test and there is a hazardous voltage, the worker will be exposed to injury in the time before they can run the test. It would be helpful if there were a device on the machine that could alert workers to the presence of hazardous voltages.

Moreover, voltage testers are often portable. This means that they too are not often grounded while they are being used and so are also unable to verify if a process of de-energizing has taken place on electrical equipment. Just because electrical machinery has been turned off, that doesn’t mean that DC voltages aren’t lingering in some way; a possibly harmful static charge could even have been built up in the machinery without a ground. Developing a sensor that would be able confirm to workers if the ground is working properly and is properly de-energizing the machinery could make strides toward worker safety. This could decrease the rate of worker injuries as well as decrease the occurrences of delays in workshops or manufacturing floors.

How AVT Works as a Tester and an Indicator

So why not combine voltage testers, voltage indicators and grounding, and develop a simple method of alerting workers to the safety of their surroundings that is integrated directly into machinery or electrical equipment? This is precisely what Panduit has done with its VeriSafe Absence of Voltage Tester (AVT).

The way the device works is simple. The interface for the AVT—the indicator module—has a button to interact with, and an array of LEDs using red, yellow and green to represent how safe the equipment is. Red for not safe. Yellow for a test that cannot confirm the safety of equipment or that should be retested. Green for confirmed an unhazardous presence of voltage and that the equipment has been de-energized. The indicator module is usually installed into the door of a panel that accesses the electrical equipment.

Tests can be run by simply clicking the button on the front of the device. The absence of any LED light being alit doesn’t necessarily mean that the equipment has been de-energized and suggests that a test should be run. If a hazardous voltage is present, the red LED will be alit without the need for a worker to run a test: this would alert them that the equipment or panel is not safe to work with and should be turned off and de-energized in some capacity.

The way that the indicator module knows which LED to activate is where the tests take place: in the isolation module. The isolation module has four leading wires running from it. Two are integrated into the electrical equipment itself at two distinct junctions with the main power lead. This will test for any presence of hazardous voltages, including those that residually remain even after equipment has been turned off. The other two leads act as grounds, allowing for proper de-energization.

Between the indicator and isolation module, the AVT runs as a voltage indicator (by showing a red light whenever there is hazardous voltage), a tester (through the sensor leads that test for residual voltages), and a ground (through the ground leads). Not only does this simplify the process of checking for hazardous voltages, but it also makes it safer and is reliable. The AVT brings together the necessary features of indicators, testers and grounds.

What’s in the Box and the Installation Process

Installation is relatively easy. As mentioned, both the sensor feeds and the ground feeds must be separated from one another. Otherwise, the indicator can become confused and will continue to ask to be tested—never being able to indicate if the equipment is safe or not. Attach the sensor feeds to where a worker would usually test for voltage. The isolation module can be installed onto a rack within the panel. The indicator module can be installed into the door, so that it is accessible from the outside.

Saving Lives

One of the main advantages of installed detectors versus portable ones is that they decrease the opportunity for hazardous voltages to injure workers. Even after going through a LOTO process, there is still a risk that lingering voltages can remain in equipment and can harm workers. The AVT works to ensure that workers know more about their surroundings to protect their health.

Changing Scene

  • Prev
The Canadian Apprenticeship Forum-Forum Canadien sur l’Apprentissage (CAF-FCA) has announced ...
Intertec Instrumentation is launching a range of tough field enclosures for housing remote I/O and ...
nVent Electric plc recently announced it has signed an agreement to acquire Eldon, a privately held ...
Canada continues to be an excellent performer for HARTING, recording double digit revenue growth on ...
  For the past number of months Proax Technologies Ltd. has been in discussions with ...
  Phoenix Contact Canada is pleased to announce that Roger Hallett has accepted the ...
  Machine designers are required to design safety into more industrial systems than ever. ...
Pilz Canada officially opened their Canadian Facility surrounded by Industry Partners, colleagues ...
Allied Electronics & Automation has announced the addition of the new TM Series of ...
Cybertech Automation is proud to announce the expansion of services into Texas, Pennsylvania and ...

One of Canada’s largest wastewater treatment plants at Annacis Island provides secondary treatment to approximately 175 billion litres of wastewater every year for over 1 million residents in 14 municipalities. After almost 20 years in operation, the variable frequency drives supporting the critical pumping systems for the primary treatment and secondary treatment facilities had to be replaced to ensure that the plant’s high operational availability and reliability will not be compromised in serving the plant, the surrounding municipalities and the environment. Metro Vancouver Regional District chose to deploy Rittal’s enclosure and power distribution solutions with E-plan software to efficiently support vital infrastructure improvements by reducing equipment replacement times and thereby minimizing risk to plant operations.

PB 25 Phoenix ControlCabinet 400

Phoenix Contact will provide you with support as your reliable partner in the optimization of your processes in control cabinet manufacturing.

Phoenix Contact provides you with holistic solutions in a cooperative partnership, based on their products, services, and experience. Digital data is used consistently, processes optimized, and time saved. The PROJECT complete planning and marking software supports your entire control cabinet manufacturing process. The program provides you with an intuitive user interface that enables you to individually plan, automatically check, and order terminal strips.

Thanks to optimized interfaces, you can easily integrate data from common CAE systems. This enables you to save significant amounts of time in the overall engineering process. Read More


 Like many cyclical industries, mining is reviving, driven by steady global economic growth and an increasing demand for materials to support new technologies like electric vehicles, renewable energy and mobile devices. Despite the optimism, the industry still faces major operational challenges including process efficiencies, cost control, worker health and safety, and skills gaps. To address these challenges, Rockwell Automation introduced The Connected Mine, leveraging the latest enabling and digital technologies.

Utilizing advanced analytics, The Connected Mine helps mining companies collect and aggregate data to gain end-to-end visibility into their operations and make informed business decisions to improve mining operations.

Read More

PB 25 Rittal MarineWaves 400For almost a half a century Canal Marine & Industrial of St Catharines, Ontario has provided electrical design, engineering and services around the clock to the merchant marine, naval and coastguard fleets in Canada and the rest of the World. In recent years, Canal has become a leader in the design and supply of marine hybrid power and propulsion systems. These systems utilize alternative methods for supporting propulsion and the vessel’s electrical power plant, so that fuel consumption and emissions are reduced.

Great Lakes Towing of Cleveland, Ohio (popularly called “The Towing Company”) operates the largest and most experienced U.S.-flag tugboat fleet. The Towing Company is a significant marine operations link in North America’s U.S. Great Lakes-Saint Lawrence Seaway marine transportation network, the fourth seacoast of the United States, an operating area that extends over 8,300 miles of shoreline, encompassing a water surface area of roughly 100,000 square miles. Read More

HARTING Electronics: Circular Connectors – A Round Thing

Circular Connectors 400

Jonas Diekmann, Technical Editor at HARTING Electronics

The metric system of units was introduced for the first time in 1793 during the French Revolution and is used even today in almost all countries worldwide. The metric round plug connectors are also based on this system of units and are a known standard in raw industrial applications. In various diameters and codes, they are a reliable connection for the three lifelines of industrial applications. Data, signals and performance are essential for drive, control and communication. The typical round appearance with the thread for screwing in is a success story up to the present. But classics often also still reveal unexpected potential. With its new PushPull Locking and Com-Lock HARTING is making two round guild models ready for the future.

Metric round plug connectors are some of the most widespread interfaces worldwide, when it comes to cabling for machines, industrial plant and devices under demanding conditions of use.

Read More

Rockwell SleemanTen years ago, tourists looking for a taste of the local life in Southern Canada may have asked for one of the region’s best wines. Today, it’s all about craft beer.

From entrepreneurial newcomers to large-scale producers, brewers in Canada are cashing in on the thirst for craft beer. The number of microbreweries – ­producing less than 25,000 cases of 24 – has more than doubled in the last seven years.

The explosion in craft beer popularity had one company – Sleeman Breweries – bursting at its production seams. The third-largest brewer in Canada, Sleeman brews and distributes popular beers from lagers to pale ales.

 Read More

 

Product News

  • Prev
Continuous data flow ensures transparency in the product development process and allows ...
Inductive proximity sensors are the preferred choice for the majority of applications ...
The bus controller makes it possible to connect X2X Link I/O nodes to POWERLINK. It is also ...
Balluff’s U-890 Ultra High Frequency (UHF) handheld RFID reader simplifies mobile data ...
Pfannenberg, a leading global manufacturer of thermal management technologies, highlights ...
One of the many advantages gained by the integration of TwinCAT 3 into Visual Studio® is the ...
Certified for use in Zone 2/22 and Div. 2, the Smart-Ex Watch 01 from the Pepperl+Fuchs brand ...
As a specialist for safety, Pilz invests not only in functional safety but also in IT security for ...
Balluff's new EtherNet/IP IO-Link master block insulates against inductive, conductive, and ...
Remee Wire & Cable, a leading manufacturer of electronic wire and cable, announces new ...
Kerrwil Publications

538 Elizabeth Street, Midland,Ontario, Canada L4R2A3 +1 705 527 7666
©2019 All rights reserved

Use of this Site constitutes acceptance of our Privacy Policy (effective 1.1.2016)
The material on this site may not be reproduced, distributed, transmitted, cached or otherwise used, except with the prior written permission of Kerrwil