The Top 5 Reasons for Modernizing Your Electrical Safety Program

Updated safety standards provide opportunities to modernize your electrical safety program.

In your plant, there’s a good chance your facility’s electrical equipment is constantly being changed or updated (moves and adds) and maybe even improved. Thus, your electrical safety program should also address these changes.

In keeping up with new technology and evolving safety concerns, safety standards are periodically revised. Updated standards should be viewed as a benefit to facility and safety managers, bringing opportunities to modernized your electrical safety program and to stay up to date on existing trends in electrical safety.

Below, we outline the top five reasons for modernizing your electrical safety program:

1. Changes in standards.
If there’s ever a constant, it is change. The NFPA Standard for Electrical Safety in the Workplace (NFPA 70E), is updated every three years. While NFPA 70E isn’t adopted into federal law or OSHA regulation, but OSHA has a history of citing it as a best practice when electrical incidents occur.

OSHA’s general duty clause requires employers (your facility) to provide employees with a place of employment that is “free from recognized hazards that are causing or are likely to cause death or serious harm.” Because OSHA regulations are not frequently updated, they will often reference consensus standards (like NFPA 70E) as a best practice when issuing citations to the general duty clause.

Therefore, even though NFPA 70E is a voluntary standard, and compliance is not required by law, it effectively describes electrical hazards and best practices to mitigate them. Thus, failure to comply with this or similar guidelines can result in OSHA citations.

2. Training will always be important.
For any worker who may exposed to electrical hazards, training is key. Employees performing electrical work need to understand the requirements of the electrical safety program, including the ability to recognize electrical hazards, know safe work practices and the procedures for protection against these hazards.

Non-electrical workers should also be trained to identify electrical hazards and recognize when electrical work is being performed so they do not put themselves or the electrical workers at risk. Training should be ongoing—do not underestimate the importance of retraining. Workers leave, new workers are added, and sometimes people simply forget what they have learned or they may become complacent as tasks become routine.

Additionally, retraining is important if you consider the Normalization of Deviance phenomenon, which is described as “when people within the organization become so much accustomed to a deviant behavior that they don’t consider it as deviant, despite the fact that they far exceed their own rules for the elementary safety.”

3. Facility updates and new equipment.
Electrical equipment in a facility is often moved, added, or reconfigured to keep up with changing production demands. Often, these changes may include updates to safety technology. Thus, the electrical safety program should be updated to address those changes.

So, when new equipment is added, a circuit is moved, protective devices get replaced or settings are changed and, generally, when any electrical wiring or cables) are modified in any way, it’s time to update your arc flash hazard analysis and revisit the safety program.

Retrofits and additions to existing equipment or reconfiguration of lines, are also a great time to evaluate if new electrical safety technology can be incorporated and will signal it’s time to update the electrical safety program.

4. Near misses.
According to the National Safety Council, almost 75% of all accidents are preceded by a near miss. It’s important to document and record near misses, minor accidents and close calls, especially those that have the potential for injury.

The overall safety culture in the facility gets stronger when reporting near misses are encouraged and not punished. If it’s not reported, the opportunity to mitigate hazards by taking corrective actions, including updates to the electrical safety program, are missed.

5. Employee and facility worker expansion.
A modern electrical safety program is all about teamwork. When a facility’s employee base has grown and/or when shifts are added, it’s a good opportunity to take the time to update the electrical safety program to demonstrate to employees – new and old – that the safety culture is strong.

Converse to expansion, if a plant experiences a reduction in staff, or significant employee turnover, this can lead to employees being asked to do other tasks for which they may not be adequately trained.

Therefore, changes that also affect the workforce should be a reminder to revisit the electrical safety program to assure that all workers are not only properly trained, but understand their roles in advancing the safety culture.

3 Way IIoT Technology Benefits From Moore’s Law

IIoT and Moore’s Law and Their Relationship with Bandwidth

There are three ways IIoT technology reinforces Moore’s Law. Bandwidth is a key component of this reinforcement and is the foundation for current technological advances.

 

Moore’s Law predicted the technological advances that we are experiencing today, and bandwidth is helping to propel those advances forward, specifically for IIoT. Panduit’s white paper, “The Ubiquity of Bandwidth,” explains how Moore’s Law factors into IIoT network capabilities.

Moore’s Law

Gordon Moore is best remembered as a co-founder of Intel. But while he was the director of Research & Development at his previous employer, Fairchild Semiconductor, he authored a paper in 1965 titled, Cramming More Components onto Integrated Circuits. In the article, Moore predicted that the number of transistors contained within a semiconductor will double approximately every two years.

Moore’s Law is applicable along three axes:

Cost – The cost for many transistors drops by almost half with every reduction in the size of the transistors.

Performance – Processor speeds increase because the smaller the transistor, the faster it can operate. Additionally, the transistors become closer to each other which reduces the latency between them.

Complexity – For a given size, the number of transistors doubles with the reduction in feature size. This allows more complex implementations and circuitry.

Although all three aspects of Moore’s Law are important, it is the ability to implement ever-increasing complexity that might be the most important.

For example, if a smartphone was built using the semiconductor technology available in 1971, the phone’s microprocessor would be the size of a parking space. In fact, the communication theories needed for ubiquitous bandwidth evolved in the late 1940s and 1950s.

They could not have been implemented at that time, however, because it would have been impractical to build with vacuum tubes or discrete transistors.

IIoT Technology

IoT has captured product developers’ imagination. In the consumer space, it remains to be seen what applications will take hold, but wearables seem a certainty.

It is a similar situation on the factory floor as numerous deployment scenarios exist, but we will need some history for us to see which ones provide a suitable ROI.

Tracking packages, monitoring, and alerting applications are one thing. Implementing advanced analytics and complicated algorithms to extract meaning from IIoT data that has been gathered is something else.

None of this would happen without the ubiquity of bandwidth.

To learn more about bandwidth and why it’s essential for your IIoT network’s infrastructure, download Panduit’s “The Ubiquity of Bandwidth”  white paper – or subscribe to our blog to access our IoT “101” white paper series.

 

 

Julio Franco, (2015, April 20). “50 Years of Moore’s Law: Fun facts, a Timeline Infographic and Gordon’s Own Thoughts 5 Decades Later.” Techspot. [Online]. Available: https://www.techspot.com/news/60418-50-years-moore-law-fun-facts-timeline-infographic.html.

Gordon Moore, “Cramming More Components onto Integrated Circuits,” Electronics, volume 38, no. 8, 1965.

M. Patel, et. al. (2017, May 19) “What’s New with the Internet of Things?” McKinsey & Company. [Online]. Available: https://www.mckinsey.com/industries/semiconductors/our-insights/whats-new-with-the-internet-of-things.

Reduce the Risk of Arc Flash With a Reliable and Repeatable Repair and Preventative Maintenance Program

The importance of preventative maintenance programs can’t be understated. Especially when it comes to reducing the risk for arc flash. Accuracy and repeatability are critical to any machine operation, but that also applies to the preventative maintenance program itself. Facility and safety managers understand that repeatability makes work easier to implement.

Even the most conservative estimates say that there are up to five arc flash explosions occurring in electric equipment every day in the United States. Even more electrical incidents happen daily, but there are ways companies can significantly reduce the occurrence of these incidents to create a safer workplace.

Preventative maintenance can increase machine reliability, which decreases the need to access that equipment for repairs. This, in effect, increases overall plant safety when machines and equipment are operating as planned without the need for unscheduled maintenance. NFPA standard 70B outlines the best practices for setting up and maintaining an Electrical Preventive Maintenance (EPM) program. Additionally, the InterNational Electrical Testing Association (NETA) offers tremendous resources on preventative maintenance with their PowerTest Conference seminars.

An effective Electrical Preventive Maintenance (EPM) program helps avoid extra expenses, disruptions and potentially lost profits that may result from equipment breakdown or an arc flash. Typically, in setting up an EPM, it begins at the main service entrance and works its way through the electrical distribution system to automation and controls all the way to the machine level.

There are a variety of reasons why an arc flash may occur; it could be an accumulation of conductive dust inside an enclosure or purely equipment failure – likely the result of inadequate maintenance. In short, if electrical equipment is not maintained, then something is going to give.

An effective means of preventing electrical incidents and arc flashes is the anticipation and elimination of the conditions that may cause them. Spotting potential signs of an electrical failure include:

  • Identifying and repairing compromised insulation before it fails.
    Predictive maintenance systems can provide early warning of insulation degradation or failure. Visual inspections of the condition of insulation and electrical joints should be conducted whenever maintenance is performed.
  • Monitoring electrical equipment at critical joints including, lugs and compression fittings.
    Over time, heat cycles and vibration can loosen connections which can cause overheating and may lead to an arc flash. Thermal sensors can help monitor these critical joints.
  • Using infrared windows.
    Using infrared thermal scanning through IR windows enable technicians to perform scans without removing equipment covers or opening doors, lessening the likelihood of arc flash events caused by accidental contact and exposure.

It should go without saying, that before performing any electrical work in any form of maintenance, that it’s important to de-energize the equipment and verify that an electrically safe work condition has been established.

Verifying absence of voltage is important and the testing method to work on de-energized equipment must also be safe and effective. The electrical worker who conducts the testing needs to understand testing procedures and be repeatedly proficient with the testing devices.

Verifying the absence of voltage with the Panduit VeriSafe Absence of Voltage Tester before equipment is accessed makes it easy to verify that an electrically safe work condition has been established without exposure to hazards.

The results of having a reliable electrical safety and preventative maintenance program will reduce risk, minimize business interruptions and even extend the life of your plant’s electrical equipment.

Understanding Electrical Safety in Today’s Changing Landscape

Being able to identify electrical hazards and having tools, safety procedures and instructions available to mitigate risk is essential to ensuring safety.

 

It’s important to have a workforce that understands how keeping up with the times is paramount to staying safe in the workplace. Much can said about the importance of creating an electrically-safe workplace, but it is the responsibility of any employer to provide a safe environment, free of hazards to its employees.

In 2015, the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) created an accreditation, the “Certified Electrical Safety Worker (CESW)” certification program, which was based on the most current edition of NFPA 70E, the Standard for Electrical Safety in the Workplace. The program ensures that electricians have the knowledge, training and experience to perform their jobs at the highest, safest level possible. Obviously, one key to safety during times of change is keeping aligned with consensus standards, which the NEC and NFPA updates every three years. Below are changes any plant might encounter and thus has a need to be prepared for.

VeriSafe – Absence of Voltage Tester

Changes in Standards
As safety standards evolve, so too must the company and its workforce. The latest release of the NFPA 70E-2018, includes updates that are essential for the company and its employees to understand. When NFPA 70E released its 2018 update, a new exception was included that allows Absence of Voltage Testers (AVTs) listed to UL 1436 to be used to verify the absence of voltage instead of a handheld voltmeter. Changes to consensus standards can take safety at a facility from good to great.

Changes in the Plant
When business grows, the facility grows. New machines are added, the electrical capacity needs grow, and thus an increased need for overall, plant-wide electrical safety grows. Sometimes, there can be an overcrowding in electrical rooms and production areas with added equipment. Other times, challenges are created when multiple suppliers of equipment create anomalies. While codes and standards evolve, and as equipment is added, there can be these compatibility issues. Standardizing processes and procedures can help minimize or prevent human error. Panduit provides solutions for the electrical infrastructure that can help bridge multiple equipment manufacturers or areas of equipment as additions take place. The VeriSafe Absence of Voltage Tester is compatible across many equipment types and manufacturers, provided the specifications have been met.

Changes in Plant Operations and Performance 
The rise in automation in plants today is proof that the robots are here. The qualified electrical worker meets all of the training requirements set by NFPA 70E and OSHA, and as a general rule, each qualified electrical worker may need several days of training each year to maintain the level of skill. It may be a good idea to plan for that training over a three-year period – which helps to ensure that the qualification process continues to track changing requirements. It’s possible that effective training may be something that is repeated in different formats periodically in order to keep if fresh and top-of-mind. This may toggle between classroom instruction, hands-on skills demonstration and audits.

New equipment brings new types of hazards and risks. Being able to identify these hazards and having tools, safety procedures and instructions available to mitigate risk is essential to ensuring safety. Perhaps even more game-changing than automation is the availability of connectivity and networking on the plant floor. This allows safety procedures to become more connected and integrated into workflow with the ability to track and log tasks, as well as access to video for training and recording purposes.

Why Your Electrical Infrastructure is Too Important Not to Be a Maintenance Priority

The electrical infrastructure of a building, including distribution and controls, is the heart of any facility.

 

Too often, electrical systems aren’t always given the maintenance priority they might deserve. Today, we understand the importance of why the electrical infrastructure is critical to doing business and why plant safety can be enhanced with a little thought and planning.

For the majority of electrical work that happens in a facility, including scheduled maintenance, de-energizing the system is the fundamental requirement for safety. The electrical infrastructure of a building, including distribution and controls, is the heart of any facility. Without a reliable source of electricity, production would not be possible. So, what can be done to make electrical system maintenance a priority?

Schedule regularly, avoid spontaneity.
Even with the critical nature of electrical equipment, regularly scheduled maintenance needs to be a primary focus. Facility managers don’t often think about maintenance until a disruption, like an equipment failure, occurs within the system.

Neglecting regular maintenance of electrical equipment, especially over a long period of time, may lead to a disruption in facility operations and possibly a damaging system failure or an incident. Reliable equipment will increase safety and decrease property risks.

Don’t overlook the obvious.
Electrical equipment, especially what modern facilities are installing today, is well-designed, it’s safe to operate and it generally has a long service life. By nature, electrical systems are usually hidden from sight.

Thus, when it’s out of sight, it’s out of mind – awareness may not be raised as long as lights turn on and everything operates as it normally would. Even new equipment requires a proactive maintenance and service program and then it needs to be inspected to ensure it is properly installed, functioning and can be well maintained.

The Electrical System Can’t Always Speak for Itself.
Though sensors and condition-based monitoring are becoming more and more common, particularly thermal monitoring of critical electrical infrastructure, a fair amount of electrical equipment in use today still can’t warn us when a failure is imminent.

It could be less disruptive to operations if workers could identify equipment that is about to fail, before the failure occurs, so proper steps could be taken to prevent or minimize the downtime impact to people, processes, equipment and operations.

Regular maintenance is required to ensure that equipment can be operated as expected. For example, contacts that are not regularly exercised have a tendency to stick, or not open at all, leading to longer clearing times than expected.

Plan for maintenance.
While de-energizing equipment is a fundamental requirement for electrical safety, de-energizing by its nature is disruptive to facility operations. Thus, it is best to anticipate and plan for maintenance.

A conscious plan for maintenance is far financially advantageous to the other option, when unplanned maintenance occurs when least expected. It also may be helpful knowing that a facility-wide shutdown is happening, so steps can be taken to ensure operational disruptions will be minimized.

Maintenance shutdowns have a cost and require planning, so it’s important to anticipate the need and even budget appropriately. If the facility does not have trained and qualified electrical workers to perform the system maintenance, then many qualified service companies exist and can offer these services.

Planned maintenance has the distinct advantage of making sure that experts can be present. Some equipment manufacturers can even be onsite to assist customers with large PM programs when maintenance is scheduled in advance and not unplanned.

From Problem to Solution: NFPA 70E and the VeriSafe Absence of Voltage Tester

The VeriSafe – Absence of Voltage Tester (AVT) from Panduit supports compliance in the lockout/tagout process described in NFPA 70E.

 

Electrical workers must comply with safety regulations that require a voltage verification test before servicing electrical equipment. NFPA 70E, the Standard for Electrical Safety in the Workplace, addresses best practices for protecting employees from electrical hazards through the use of safety programs, hazard and risk identification, training, and procedures.

One of the best ways to protect workers is to isolate the electrical supply, follow lockout and tagout procedures, and verify the equipment is de-energized before any electrical work is performed. Until now, this process has been complex and time-consuming, fraught with possibilities for human error and potential exposure to hazards.

The verification step often puts electrical workers at risk for exposure to electrical hazards while testing a handheld tester on a known voltage source, testing for absence of voltage phase-to-phase and phase-to-ground inside the equipment, and re-testing the tester to ensure it is still functioning properly.

Until these steps have been completed, it is best to assume the equipment may be energized and take all necessary precautions including use of adequate personal protective equipment.

In the 2018 edition of NFPA 70E, a new exception was included in Article 120.5(7) that offers an alternative to the traditional hand-held testers method used to verify the absence of voltage: the option to use a permanently mounted device.

The permanently mounted test device can be used to test the conductors and circuit parts at the point of work before the equipment is accessed preventing exposure to electrical hazards. These permanently mounted devices must be installed at the point of work in accordance with manufacturer’s instructions, listed and labeled for the purpose of verifying the absence of voltage, and satisfy additional requirements outlined in the standard.

The permanently mounted test device is different from the test portal interface that is sometimes used with a handheld voltage tester. Although the test portals reduce exposure when verifying the absence of voltage, this process– working with hand tools via a portal – does not meet the requirements of the new Exception 1 in 120.5(7) because:

  • It is not listed for the purpose of verifying the absence of voltage
  • There is no way to confirm that the probes of the tester are actually in direct contact with the electrical conductors inside the enclosure at the time of the test
  • They bring hazardous voltage to the door

An example of a permanently mounted device that does meet the requirements of NPFA 70E is the absence of voltage tester (AVT).

The VeriSafe Absence of Voltage Tester from Panduit is specifically designed to verify the absence of voltage and fully complies with the new NFPA 70E standard. This ultimately simplifies the testing process and reduces risk for the qualified worker performing electrical work.

Automating this process with the VeriSafe AVT:

  • Reduces testing procedure time and complexity
  • Reduces the risk of exposure to electrical hazards
  • Supports compliance in the lockout/tagout process described in NFPA 70E

A facility’s electrical infrastructure is a top priority. With more than 60 years of infrastructure expertise, Panduit is committed to developing innovative solutions to help companies achieve their operational goals, reduce risk, and increase electrical safety.

Learn more about the VeriSafe - Absence of Voltage Tester here: www.panduit.com/verisafe

How Electrical Safety Tools Evolved Using Prevention through Design Methods

VeriSafe™ Absence of Voltage Tester (AVT) from Panduit

The VeriSafe™ Absence of Voltage Tester (AVT) from Panduit simplifies the testing process by automating the voltage verification process.

Before performing electrical work, OSHA and the NFPA 70E Standard for Electrical Safety in the Workplace both direct workers to de-energize circuit parts to which an employee may be exposed.

After de-energizing, a qualified electrical worker is required perform a test to verify the absence of voltage. This is a complex testing process that includes a number of steps that can be cumbersome and time-consuming when using hand-held portable test instruments.

Tools that enable workers to safety monitor and test voltage have been evolving for decades. These range from non-contact proximity testers, solenoid testers, voltage detectors, digital multimeters, and an array of installed indicating devices. Each type of tool has advantages and disadvantages that may be specific to the application. Therefore, it is necessary for the electrical worker to understand any limitations of the tool he or she may be using. Selecting the proper tool is critical when verifying the absence of voltage.

Verifying the operation of the voltage test instrument itself is also a task that needs to be performed. Before beginning the absence of voltage test, it’s important to check the test instrument to ensure it is working properly – this is known as the “live-dead-live” test. The “live-dead-live” test is a best practice described in NFPA 70E. The “live” portion of the test involves using a known voltage source to verify that the test instrument is operating properly. After proving the tester is operational, you can then proceed to verify that the circuit parts are “dead” or de-energized by testing for voltage phase-to-phase and phase-to-ground. The final step is to verify that the test instrument is still operational by re-testing on a known “live” voltage source. Proving the test instrument is still operational on a known voltage source following the test ensures that there was no damage which would have caused an incorrect reading when performing the “dead” portion of the test. Similarly, OSHA has a requirement to verify the tester is functional after testing for voltage, but only above 600V.

The VeriSafe™ Absence of Voltage Tester (AVT) from Panduit simplifies the process to establish an electrically safe work condition by automating the absence of voltage verification process. The idea for the VeriSafe AVT is inspired by Prevention through Design. Prevention through Design is a methodology that focuses on preventing or reducing incidents caused by human error through design steps like eliminating the hazard, making substitutions that reduce the hazard, or introducing engineering controls.

The VeriSafe AVT is a permanently-mounted test device designed to verify that a circuit is de-energized prior to opening an electrical enclosure. With the VeriSafe AVT, the absence of voltage test is initiated with the push of a button; no additional tools are required.

More facilities are designing in advanced safety products that reduce the chances of human error and boost worker productivity. Just as the modern facility has advanced, so too has technology to verify the absence of voltage.

Learn more about Panduit absence of voltage testers here:
http://www.panduit.com/verisafe

Ten Top Electrical Hazards and Panduit Solutions

Panduit innovates the products that protect people, places and things

Here are 10 of the most common causes of electrical death and injury.

The world knows a lot about electricity. Humankind knows how it’s made, how to use it, and humans even have a rudimentary understanding of how to store it.

And while experts understand electricity, they also know to respect it.

Because even before Ben Franklin inexplicably survived his interaction with a key, a kite, and a bolt of lightning, humans have known electricity is dangerous.

What follows are ten of the most common causes of electrical death and injury. The reader should take heed; each of these represents a preventable mishap.

Much like poor or inadequate communication, or mislabeled wires, these hazards are rooted in human behavior. In fact, another type of article could simply list “human error” as a single major cause of electrical mishaps.

There can be accidents wherever there are humans and electricity; here are some of the most dangerous situations.

  1. Overhead power lines

In the United States, nearly 46 percent of fatal workplace electrical mishaps are caused by contact with overhead wires.

Conversely, overhead wires are involved with only two percent of non-fatal mishaps. Those statistics are a grim reminder of the danger posed by overhead power lines; they pose an exceptional danger to the life of anyone who comes in contact with one.

  1. Lockout/Tagout Failure

Lockout/Tagout literally means to lockout circuits during construction and other electrical work. And the process works well; OSHA estimates that nearly 50,000 injuries2 are prevented every year by using proper procedures.

Solutions such as Panduit’s full line of lockout/tagout equipment make it easier to comply with safety procedures. Check out the line here.

  1. Damaged tools and equipment

Damaged equipment and faulty tools cause 37 percent3 of non-fatal workplace electrical mishaps. Whether it’s an old electric hand tool, one that’s been dropped, by the time it starts smoking, it’s been dangerous for a long time. Regular checks, maintenance, and awareness are critical to keeping tools safe in the workplace.

  1. Overloaded circuits

The National Fire Protection Association (U.S.) estimates that more than $1.4 billion4 in property damage is caused by overloaded circuits in homes every year.

Commercial statistics are difficult to come by, but what’s certain is that overloaded circuits cause an enormous amount of damage to commercial and residential property all across the globe. It’s a problem that’s easily solved by accurate labeling.

Panduit labeling solutions make this safety step quick, easy, and a must-have for any commercial application.

  1. Damaged insulation

Mice chew on wires. So do squirrels. But even without a plastic-munching rodent problem, wires can be damaged when they rub on other surfaces.

Repeated wear on the wires can break the insulation, allowing electric current to escape. Much of this abrasion can be eliminated with a good pest control program and using abrasion protection products like these.

  1. Inadequate wiring and terminations

Non-home structure fires involving electrical failure or malfunction accounted for an estimated annual average of 12 civilian deaths5, 210 civilian injuries, and $614 million each year from 2010-2014. Some of that damage and loss of life can be prevented simply by terminating wires correctly. Learn how here.

  1. Exposed electrical parts

Inadequate labeling, poor equipment condition, and even user error can cause electrical parts to be exposed, posing a significant risk to safety.

Clear communication and labeling, along with using high-quality products at every turn is a critical step to reducing the thousands of injuries caused every year by exposed electrical parts.

  1. Improper grounding

Improper grounding is the #1 electrical violation according to OSHA. It’s often overlooked and poorly understood. The Panduit line of grounding solutions makes grounding a simpler task with a complete line of tools and products.

  1. Qualification of the “qualified” electrical worker

NFPA 70E and OSHA regulations instruct that electrical circuits or equipment with at last 50 volts of electricity must be covered, protected, or made inaccessible to everyone except “qualified electrical workers.”

That worker is considered “qualified” when they have attained the training and experience to be familiar with the construction and operation of the equipment, along with any hazards. But that vague definition allows for a huge range of experience. Only with an ongoing safety program can any organization determine its workers are “qualified.”

  1. Verification for Absence of Voltage

Test lights are decades old technology. But meeting the challenges of today’s regulations and expectations means using a tool that’s permanently installed, like Panduit’s VeriSafe.

VeriSafe minimizes risk by verifying the absence of voltage before equipment is accessed, making it easier for qualified electrical workers to identify an electrically safe environment in a fraction of the time of hand-held portable test instruments. Learn more about VeriSafe, and how you can meet the NFPA 70E requirements here.

 

1 (Source: Brenner B, Cawley JC (2009). Occupational Electrical Injury and Fatality Trends: 1992-2007. EHS Today. Available at: http://ehstoday.com/construction/news/occupational-electrical-injury-3991. Accessed 01/19/2018, via https://www.nfpa.org/News-and-Research/Fire-statistics-and-reports/Research-reports/Electrical-safety/Occupational-Injuries-from-Electrical-Shock-and-Arc-Flash-Events accessed 1/18/2018)
2 (Source: EFSI.org,  https://www.esfi.org/resource/lockout-tagout-your-life-depends-on-it-544 accessed 2/12/18)
3 (source: https://www.nfpa.org/News-and-Research/Fire-statistics-and-reports/Research-reports/Electrical-safety/Occupational-Injuries-from-Electrical-Shock-and-Arc-Flash-Events accessed 1/18/2018)
4,5 (source: NFPA fact sheet, accessed here: https://www.nfpa.org/News-and-Research/Fire-statistics-and-reports/Fire-statistics/Fire-causes/Electrical-and-consumer-electronics/Electrical accessed 1/25/18)
6 (source: Office of Compliance, Congressional Accountability, fact sheet. https://www.compliance.gov/sites/default/files/wp-content/uploads/2010/08/Exposed-Energized-Wiring-Fast-Fact-Feburary-2010.pdf accessed 1/25/18)

 

3 Ways Edge Computing Stimulates IoT Technology Capabilities

3 Ways Edge Computing Enriches IoT Technology

There are three ways edge computing enhances IoT deployments. These areas are key to increasing data gathering capabilities in a real-time world.

For IoT deployments, going to the edge may be the best choice when it comes to helping businesses deploy IoT technology across their network infrastructures.

Panduit’s white paper, “Edge Computing: Behind the Scenes of IoT,” explains the difference between the cloud and edge computing and three ways the edge can help IoT technology deployments.

It also discusses the following key areas for consideration when deploying edge computing: real-time requirements, environmental conditions, space limitations, and security.

Edge Computing

Edge computing is the opposite of cloud computing. With edge computing, the compute, storage, and application resources are located close to the user of the data, or the source of the data.

This is in contrast to a cloud deployment where those resources are in some distant data center owned by the cloud provider.

Although edge computing may appear to be a new concept, it is just the computing pendulum swinging to one side of the computing continuum.

Computing started with the advent of mainframes in the late 1950s. Mainframes are an example of centralized computing; they were too large and expensive for one to be on every user’s desk.

In the late 1960s, minicomputers appeared, which moved compute power away from centralized control and into research labs where they controlled experiments, the factory floor for process control, and many other use cases.

The pendulum moved all the way to the distributed side with the arrival of the PC in the mid-1980s. With the PC, individuals had computing power at their fingertips.

The computing pendulum swings back and forth, and today, it is swinging towards edge computing, which puts the processing and storage resources closer to where they are used and needed.

Why Edge Computing for IoT?

IoT deployments can benefit from edge computing in three ways:

  1. Reduced Network Latency

The latency in an IoT deployment is the amount of time between when an IoT sensor starts sending data and when an action is taken on the data.

Several factors impact network latency: The propagation delay through the physical media of the network; the amount of time it takes to route data through the networking equipment (switches, routers, servers, etc.); and the amount of time it takes to process the data. Implementing edge computing for IoT offers a reduction in network latency and improves real-time response.

  1. Reduced Network Jitter

The jitter in a network is the variation of latency over time. Some real-time IoT applications may not be tolerant of network jitter, if that jitter causes the latency to lengthen such that it prevents the system to act in the required time frame.

  1. Enhanced Security

Edge computing offers the opportunity to provide a more secure environment regardless of how one would deploy: co-location or directly owning the equipment.

Co-location facilities are physically secure locations. If one owns the edge computing equipment, it can be in the factory where the IoT sensors are located or in another company-owned facility.

To learn more about edge computing and why it is important for IoT, download Panduit’s “Edge Computing: Behind the Scenes of IoT”  white paper – or subscribe to our blog to access all the papers in our IoT “101” white paper series.

4 Factors Impacting IIoT Technology Right Now

Bandwidth has a major impact on IIoT technology and your IoT network – it’s one of four requirements that have enabled IIoT applications to flourish.

4 Factors Impacting IIoT Technology

There are four factors that are currently contributing to the growth of IIoT technology. Bandwidth is an underlying component that affects this growth.

Panduit’s white paper, “The Ubiquity of Bandwidth” discusses four reasons IIoT is trending now and how bandwidth plays an integral role in IT/OT data gathering and analytics.

Why is IIoT Happening Now?

What has occurred to propel the IIoT into one of the most popular concepts in IT/OT?

1. Smartphone/Tablet — The widespread adoption of smartphones and tablets has made us comfortable with small devices that provide information and interact with us.

2. The Internet — The Internet, or more specifically, the World Wide Web, is an intricate part of our lives; it is no longer a novelty. We have become accustomed to having our devices access vast amounts of data or upload our personal data to the cloud.

3. Cost — The cost of computing and communications has dropped to a level that makes IoT affordable.

4. Bandwidth — We are used to the increasing speeds of our communication networks but there is another aspect of communications-bandwidth is everywhere.

The Ubiquity of Bandwidth

At the dawn of the computer era, there was only one way to connect devices: wires. Times have changed.

Today, network connections can take many forms: DSL, cable TV plant (FTTx, cable modem), wired Ethernet, Fibre Channel, or Industrial Ethernet for the factory floor.

More impressive is the number of ways to connect wirelessly including Bluetooth, LTE, 5G, satellite, ZigBee, and Wi-Fi.

We now take these connections for granted. Today’s smartphone seamlessly switches between the cellular data network and Wi-Fi.

A decade ago, it would have been unthinkable to see passengers on a commuter train passing the time by streaming their favorite TV program to their hand-held device.

Another aspect of today’s communications links is that they are always on— ever-present. Having to wait for the dial-up modems to train themselves and synchronize is ancient history.

Bandwidth is everywhere. It is this ubiquity of bandwidth that is a necessary component for making the IoT possible.

To learn more about how bandwidth affects your IIoT network, download Panduit’s “The Ubiquity of Bandwidth” white paper – or subscribe to our blog to access all the papers in our IoT “101” white paper series.