It was my first time getting kicked off a job-site and I was honestly at a loss as to why?
It certainly didn’t help that I had just traveled by plane 8 hours to get to the job-site and to add to that, it was also my first day on the job-site. I knew my customer, the end user manufacturing facility, my boss, and I as someone who prides themselves on professionalism were all going to be cranky about me getting kicked offsite.
This was not a good step towards getting this equipment running. The equipment that I was supposed to be commissioning (getting running) was badly needed in production so that everyone could get paid.
Everyone was counting on me to do my job and now I was being kicked off site for 2 days for a safety infraction.
There is more to the story; at that time I was a controls engineer specializing in electrical control Panels and PLC systems for about 20 years. I’d worked in a multitude of industries; food, auto, petro chemical, water and HVAC. I’d been around North America starting up automated equipment to fast paced deadlines in production environments.
So although I was not brand new at this time the reason for me being kicked offsite was absolutely eye opening and staggeringly new to me.
See what happened was I was in the main panel doing basic I/O commissioning, I had my safety lock on the main disconnect of the panel so the panel power was locked out properly. So I had faithfully thought….
What happened was the plant safety rep saw me working and asked me why I had the panel open without wearing the proper and appropriate arc flash protective gear.
This was curious to me, I immediately pointed to my lock and the state of the disconnect blades. The power was clearly off… or was it?
Well it was but the plant safety rep informed me that the concern was about the electrical power that was still live on the top of the main disconnect. The main disconnect had removed the power from the circuit below it, but not above it.
He informed me that the appropriate bus plug switch needs to be switched off for this panel drop, if you’re planning to go inside the panel without full ARC Flash gear.
Being that I had not done that I was within the arc flash hazard area and there was an electrical shock hazard to me as well.
It’s really a victory that our awareness of hazards and how people get hurt has increased, it’s wonderful that industry is taking note and making correction. But in that moment is was bad news to me.
Well in the end luckily no harm was done, but I had an education and two days to think about the problem and situation.
Remember this was a new facility less than 8 years ago. I knew that this manufacturing plant’s power systems were current and like almost all plants.
I also knew that donning arc flash protective equipment was highly cumbersome and time consuming, it would ultimately take much longer to complete the commissioning of the equipment if we needed to do so every time we need to access the panel.
Don’t get me wrong I appreciate the consideration for my safety, but I was also aware of the huge expense that the delays would create when donning and removing the arc flash equipment. Also consider the arc flash equipment added cost, the stuffs not free.
This really got me to thinking there had to be a better way, a safe way and a more convenient way to do all this.
How could we keep commissioning of automation moving quickly and efficiently without sacrificing safety?
The answer unfortunately was not on that jobsite and its not most jobsites, the sad truth is that projects are sacrificing on something crucial; timing, cost, convenience or safety. In most cases they’re missing out on more than one of these things.
Since that job, the better way has been developed and patented into an easy to use product known as the BSAFE.
The BSAFE product addresses safety head by compartmentalizing the panel’s main disconnect. It also provides a clear view via a blast resistant window of the disconnect blades actuation. This helps because now an electrical technician can clearly see that all three blades have mechanically actuated; this check is critical to following recommended safe work practices guidelines. It is done to ensure one of the blades has not broken free and left one conductive line under invisible yet lethal electrical power.
When you use the BSAFE you all but eliminate shock hazard and arc flash hazard!
Not only is the BSAFE super easy to use and cheaper than traditional systems, it ensures that you follow recommended electrical safe work practice guide lines.
Another fantastic bonus with the BSAFE is that it does not require special training because of its intuitive design, meaning you start using it and saving money right easily and right away.
The reason why the BSAFE is so easy to use is because it was designed by electrical technicians for technicians and by business owners for business owners! As fellow business owners we gave equal consideration to the BSAFE as a cost savings tool, we’re confident when you consider it you’ll quickly see several ways it will save you money over traditional PLC or Control panel power management systems.
So you’re probably asking, how does the BSAFE save money?
And we’re glad you asked, because the answer is easy, it’s a convenient to use power management system know as the BSAFE.
Here’s how it works, during the commissioning phase of new equipment it will save you valuable time, meaning your equipment will get into production faster. Lost time during the commissioning phase is tremendously expensive; we want your equipment running in production as quick as possible, the BSAFE helps with that goal.
The BSAFE allows for a technician to quickly reference and control the state of dangerous electrical power. It allows for the technician to easily turn that power OFF or ON and verify that it is off at a glance, no time need be wasted with big lengthy procedures or arc flash suits.
Then the other real advantage is in the design of the lower electrical voltage system, another great benefit of the BSAFE is that the low voltage power remains on!
Let me say that again and simply: low voltage electrical power stays on when the panel doors are open.
This means faster more accurate equipment commissioning. The power needs to be on to the processors and instruments for the system to be commissioned. BSAFE is designed with that in mind.
Plus computers, processors and other instruments do not like to have their power interrupted. They need clean steady power and using the BSAFE during commissioning means having the PLC and other instrument items powered more of the time. This means less device failures due to constant power cycling.
Another big advantage of using the BSAFE is that it’s already designed, why pay to reinvent the wheel, especially when afterwards you’ll have to source the components and have special units fabricated.
That’s just needlessly complicated and you’ll have to manage more stuff while paying to do so, it’s just smarter to use the BSAFE.
The BSAFE is bolt on ready for an automation and PLC control panels, with all its convenience and safety features built right in!
So after getting kicked offsite 8 years ago we now bring to market our patented power management system as a solution to all these problems. We figured out how to do things a better way and we came up with the BSAFE product and we want it to help you with your next automation project.