A leading global business insurance company, Allianz Global Corporate & Specialty (AGCS), has published an article listing FIPRES as a solution to the problem of electric contact connections overheating31.01.2022
A leading global business insurance company, Allianz Global Corporate & Specialty (AGCS), published an article about contact connections overheating problems, and existing technological limitations of infrared thermography inspections.
Tech Top is a series of documents that covers specific technical problems and their influence on health, safety, and businesses. It helps engineers, clients, and third parties to avoid these problems, to be aware of them and take certain actions to increase reliability and decrease the risks.
The latest Tech Top article is related to the problem of contact connections overheating. Allianz’ engineer mentions that the vast majority of fires (estimated at 40% by the Electrical Safety Authority of Canada) involving electrical installations occurs when the electrical connections overheat. When the connection is loosened – it becomes a source of heat as the resistance is increasing. And at a very high temperature, fire may occur due to the temperature of the connection.
Nowadays, maintenance personnel use InfraRed Thermography (IRT) to detect overheating of electrical equipment. Regularly performed, it can help identify hotspots, so personnel can take preventive actions to avoid material damage, production down time, and threat to life. Therefore, IRT inspections are necessary, but there are certain limitations for this solution. For instance, IRT inspections depend entirely on the periodic time of the inspections and human factors.
The article illustrates three examples where IRT couldn’t prevent fires. In the first example, a company faced a fault in the connection of a circuit breaker that led to short circuits, resulting in a fire that then spread outside the electrical room, and generated a loss amount of 56M EUR. In the second case, the fire started in the electrical panel; the total loss is 2M EUR. Finally, the third one shows that fire started in the control panel, the loss of which is the 36 hours stop of production, loss of the batch production, and 1.7M EUR loss.
In all three cases, IRT inspections were performed. Still, it is insufficient to avoid losses because IRT is not a continuous solution, and some MV electrical panels' inner spaces have restricted visibility to perform it.
Allianz offers FIPRES as a solution to get more reliable operation and decrease the risk of an electrical fire in LV and MV electrical panels. FIPRES is a continuous system that detects hot spots of problematic (loose) connections months before a fire occurs.
FIPRES has three products: the stickers with encapsulated signal gas inside that should be wrapped near to concerning connection points; a Fire Prevention Alarm (FPA) including a gas sensors which will be installed in the same volume and will detect the signal gas after sticker releases this gas at abnormal temperature (80-130 degrees); and a hub that gathers information from many FPAs. In case of an alarm, this information is sent to maintenance personnel via Modbus, discrete output, or SMS so that the personnel can take preventive actions to avoid fire in the future.
If you want to know more about overheating problem, the disadvantages of the infrared thermography inspections, cases when IRT doesn’t help avoid fires and why FIPRES should be used in addition (or instead) of IRT inspection – read the article from Allianz Global Corporate & Specialty (AGCS).