Remote Safety Audits Lower Risks For Manufacturers

According to insurance provider FM Global, electrical issues are the primary cause of fires in factories. Issues can range from faulty wiring to overloaded circuits. This is a big concern, especially when health guidelines make it tough for experts to check these systems in person. The solution may be remote safety audits, especially crucial for factories in the food and beverage sector, in order to lower risks for manufacturers.

A Real-World Problem: Electrical Fire in a Food Factory

Food and beverage industry stakeholders are particularly sensitive to electrical system sparking and malfunctions due to potential on-site hazards. These can affect both the MV and LV electrical distribution systems. During social distancing, one major food producer was so concerned, they asked Schneider Electric to propose an innovative solution.

Schneider Electric’s Remote Safety Audits: A Game-Changer

Schneider proposed a new kind of safety check called a Modernisation, Performance, and Safety (MPS) audit, but managed remotely. This allowed Schneider Electric’s team to evaluate important electrical equipment like substations from afar and avoid COVID and on-site limitations.

How Does It Work?

1.  Use your phone for a virtual walk-through: Schneider Electric created a special app that factory engineers could download onto their phones. This let the remote experts see the factory through the engineers’ phone cameras.

2. Identify risks from afar: a team of specialists, situated all over the world, used the information collected to identify potential electrical safety risks. They then offered insights and suggestions based on what they found.

3. Detailed reports: a complete report summarised the condition of the factory’s electrical systems, and suggested ways to improve them.

Revealed risks and remediation plans

The remote audit unearthed numerous electrical safety issues that had previously gone unnoticed. For instance, high harmonic levels on the switchboard posed a significant fire risk due to potential overheating. The recommendation for this was to consider a power quality analysis. Furthermore, the proximity of capacitor banks to other electrical assets risked rapid fire spread and consequent damage. The suggested remedial action was a relocation of these banks.

The report eventually revealed over a dozen areas requiring attention. It was also enough for the management to extend this audit approach across all their 200 global manufacturing sites.

So, in a time when in-person safety checks are hard to do, remote audits are proving to be a valuable alternative. They are a way to follow safety guidelines while uncovering issues you might not even know exist. This approach could be the new normal for factories looking to keep their operations safe and efficient.

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