DNV-cer­ti­fied ir win­dows as­sure re­li­a­bil­ity and safety at sea

DEMM Engineering & Manufacturing - - PETROCHEMICAL -

Man­u­fac­tured in 2013, the Maersk In­trepid is a drilling rig that has been de­signed to op­er­ate in the ex­tremely harsh en­vi­ron­ment of the North Sea. Up to 150 peo­ple stay on the rig at any one time so, safety and fire preven­tion are paramount and to min­imise the risk Maersk op­er­ates a rig­or­ous pre­ven­ta­tive main­te­nance pro­gramme for all elec­tri­cal equip­ment on board, in line with NFPA 70E and SO­LAS reg­u­la­tions.

Ther­mal imag­ing is an es­sen­tial el­e­ment of this regime and Maersk has re­cently taken fur­ther steps to un­der­pin the safe use of this method. It has cho­sen to in­stall IRISS IR win­dows, the only prod­ucts of their type to carry Lloyds, ABS (Amer­i­can Bureau of Ship­ping) and DNV ac­cred­i­ta­tion.

Re­mov­ing pan­els to gain ac­cess to switchgear for ther­mal in­spec­tion is a very risky busi­ness. The dan­ger of arc f lash – a short cir­cuit through the air that creates a fire­ball ex­plo­sion – is huge. Sim­ply drop­ping hand tools or a cover panel, mak­ing ac­ci­den­tal con­tact with en­er­gised parts or chang­ing the state of equip­ment are com­mon trig­gers and the re­sults can be fa­tal. Th­ese haz­ards are bad enough on land but at sea, they are even more acute.

Safe, live in­spec­tion

The use of an IRISS IR win­dow ef­fec­tively al­lows the switchgear to re­main in an en­closed and guarded con­di­tion, so the IR scan be­comes a non-in­va­sive task. In­frared passes through the win­dow’s trans­mis­sive poly­mer lens with­out com­pro­mis­ing the IP65/NEMA 4X seal on the en­clo­sure panel.

This not only keeps per­son­nel safe but it also al­lows the sys­tem to be ther­mally in­spected un­der nor­mal load con­di­tions. As a re­sult both quan­ti­ta­tive and qual­i­ta­tive data can be ac­quired on the sta­tus of the elec­tri­cal sys­tem. Fur­ther­more, ap­pli­ca­tions pre­vi­ously con­sid­ered to be too haz­ardous for ther­mal imag­ing, can be brought into the reg­u­lar in­spec­tion sched­ule.

Maersk chose IRISS win­dows be­cause they are the most tested win­dows on the mar­ket and com­ply with all safety stan­dards re­quired by the off­shore in­dus­try. The prod­ucts were rec­om­mended and sup­plied by TCAM AS of Nor­way, a lo­cal part­ner of IRISS that spe­cialises in pre­ven­ta­tive main­te­nance so­lu­tions. The lion’s share of the thirty IRISS win­dows or­dered by Maersk were cus­tom rec­tan­gu­lar CAP-CT 24 and CAP-CT 12 made from a trans­par­ent poly­mer with grill re­in­force­ment. They al­low as­sets to be mon­i­tored in the vis­ual, ul­travi­o­let and all in­frared spec­trums.

The IRISS poly­mer win­dow pro­vides many ad­van­tages over a crys­tal al­ter­na­tive. Firstly it is de­signed for harsh en­gi­neer­ing use. Un­like crys­tal, it with­stands vi­bra­tion and won’t shat­ter. Nor will it lose its trans­mis­sion qual­i­ties in the pres­ence of UV or salt wa­ter so for mar­itime and off­shore use IRISS is a clear front-run­ner.

An­other ad­van­tage is that an IRISS win­dow can be vir­tu­ally any size and shape. The op­ti­mum size of a crys­tal win­dow is just 4” in di­am­e­ter and can only be round, the shape in which it is grown in the lab­o­ra­tory. IRISS CAP-CT Se­ries win­dows are avail­able in a wide va­ri­ety of stan­dard sizes from 10cm to 60cm in width but can also be sup­plied in cus­tom sizes and to fit curved sur­faces. In­deed Maersk took ad­van­tage of this de­sign free­dom by in­clud­ing a be­spoke win­dow in its or­der.

“We sup­plied the IRISS win­dows for Maersk In­trepid in Septem­ber 2015 and they are now al­low­ing rig en­gi­neers to un­der­take fast ther­mal in­spec­tion of crit­i­cal com­po­nents,” con­firms Tor­mod Sel­bekk of TCAM AS. “Elec­tri­cal in­spec­tion in heavy seas is ex­tremely haz­ardous and this is why the IRISS prod­ucts are par­tic­u­larly help­ful in the mar­itime and off­shore in­dus­tries. They en­sure the com­pli­ance with in­dus­try stan­dards, re­li­a­bil­ity of as­sets and most im­por­tantly per­son­nel safety.”

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