Online Learning

It’s looking likely that if you’re not already, you’ll soon be getting to enjoy some extra time with your kids.

Here are some great free online learning resources to keep the kids motivated – there may even be something that appeals to you to learn a new skill.

 

Covid-19 (Corona Virus)

What are the symptoms of Covid-19

The WHO have identified that close to 90% of cases had a fever and two-thirds had a dry cough.

The third most common symptom was fatigue. Almost 40% of cases suffered from it.

Source: https://ourworldindata.org/coronavirus

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How is Covid-19 Spread?

It is spread through

  • “Respiratory droplets” – when a person coughs or sneezes and these land in mouths or noses of people who are nearby.
  • Contact with an infected person’s droplets through touching surfaces where these have landed and then touching their own mucus membranes (eyes, nose or mouth). This is why hand washing is so important.

 

What is the progression of Covid-19

Currently it appears to start with a fever, followed by a dry couch. Most people will go on to improve following this stage.

However, after several days some patients experience shortness of breath. Symptoms can increase in severity leading to pneumonia, respiratory failure, septic shock, multiple organ dysfunction which can lead to death.

 

What is the incubation period for Covid-19?

The WHO reports people generally develop symptoms 5 -6 days after infection. This can vary between 1 – 14 days although in a few cases it has been as long as 20 -27 days.

 

How long does Covid-19 last once infected?

The WHO reports the average time from onset to recovery for mild case is approximately 2 weeks.

For severe cases it can be 3 – 6 weeks.

 

What do if you think you  have Covid-19

  • If you are really unwell phone 111 for an ambulance and let the operator know your concern.
  • Do not attend your GP or Accident & Emergency. Instead ring Healthline’s dedicated number for advice and next steps 0800 358 5453.

 

Arc Flash

An Arc Flash is an electrical explosion due to a fault or short circuit where electric discharge travels through the air between conductors or from a conductor to a ground. An Arc Flash can last anywhere from a fraction of a second to several seconds.

Most 400v and above electrical machinery has the capacity to cause an Arc Flash.

When an Arc Flashes happens they create a very bright light and intense heat and have the potential to create an arc blast.  Arc Blasts and the resulting heat can lead to fires, pressure waves and flying shrapnel that result in serious damage to people and property. These explosions generally occur without any warning.

The arc blast will travel towards a ground of some type. The exact distance an arc flash can travel is known as the arc flash boundary. This is determined by the potential energy present and a variety of other factors including air temperature and humidity.

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Image Source: http://badgerstateconsulting.com/

 

Arc Flash fact

 

Potential causes of Arc Flash

An Arc Flash can be caused by a wide range of reasons but often the cause will be a damaged piece of equipment such as a wire. It could also be the result of someone working on a piece of equipment that makes it possible for electricity to escape from its normal path.

Electricity will follow the path of least resistance, so an arc flash will not necessarily occur as soon as a piece of equipment is damaged, instead it will continue to work as normal until another path with less resistance becomes available.

Things that can create a path with lower resistance include:

  • Dust – in dusty areas electricity may be passing outside the wiring or other equipment through the dust.
  • Dropped tools – if a tool is dropped on a wire, it can damage it and allow electricity to pass into the tool, from there it can find another path to travel.
  • Accidental touching – if a person touches a damaged area – the electricity can flow through their body or at least out of its normal path.
  • Condensation – when condensation forms, electricity can escape wiring and travel through the water.
  • Material failure – if a wire is damaged to the point where the electricity has trouble passing through, there may be less resistance for it to go outside the wire.
  • Corrosion – corrosion can create a path outside the wire.
  • Faulty installation – if equipment is installed incorrectly it can make it difficult for electricity to follow the intended path.

 

Protecting against Arc Flash

To minimise the risk of an Arc Flash occurring your plant should identify where the biggest dangers are. Anywhere in a facility where high electrical current can exist should be properly labelled with arc flash warnings. Regular checks of all high voltage equipment and wiring should also be done to make sure there is no sign of corrosion, damage to wires or any other issues. Key areas to focus on include electrical switchboards, panels, socket enclosures and motor control centres.

When a machine does need to be worked on it should be completely de-energised. Not just switched off but shut down and physically disconnected from any power source. Once this is done a voltage check should be done to ensure there is no latent energy stored up.

If a machine cannot be de-energised while working on it, head-to-toe PPE should be worn to prevent serious injury. As per the NFPA70 standards (do you want to hyperlink to these?), arc flash boundaries should be clearly marked so anyone working within these areas is aware of the need to wear PPE.

Circuit breakers should be installed in all machines. These ensure that if a sudden surge in electricity is detected it will stop the flow immediately. Circuit breakers cannot stop arc flashes occurring but can ensure they only last a fraction of the time. If your machines do not have these in place, the arc flash will continue until the electricity is physically stopped; either by someone cutting the power or the damage from the arc flash stopping the flow of electricity.

 

At EAS, our team is experienced in working in hazardous areas. If you need assistance to ensure that you have taken all the necessary precautions to reduce the risk of Arc Flash in your plant or need support from a team of knowledgeable experienced industrial electricians – give the team at EAS a call on 07 834 0505.

arc-flash

Instrumentation & Calibration

INSTRUMENTATION

Instrumentation is the term used to describe all the different devices (or instruments) that are indicating, measuring and recording physical quantities within your plant to ensure that your production processes are operating effectively.

Some types of measures commonly monitored include:

 

Flow 

Flow meters are used to measure the flow in a process pipe. This can be product, water or chemicals used to sanitize the plant. They are used to record trends in product movement; how much water a plant uses or chemical usage for Clean in Place (CIP).

EAS has recently installed flow meters for clients to measure site water usage to identify opportunities for water saving initiatives. We have installed vortex flow meters on Demin and condensate water lines where there is low conductivity.

 

Temperature

Temperature is one of the most important measures in production processes. Temperature monitoring can be used for anything from room temperature for controlling air supply to monitoring fluids in process pipes and many more. There is a diverse range of temperature measurement devices depending on the process or part of the plant being monitored.

Some of the ways we have assisted clients with temperature gauges include:

  • monitoring chiller rooms to control the temperature in the room and of the product
  • measuring flue temperatures on gas boilers and for over temperature protection
  • controlling the temperature of hot glue lines on packaging machines
  • monitoring chilled water supply and return temperatures and alsoassisting in calculating the load on chillers
  • in motor control centres to control ventilation and cooling into a room.

 

pH

pH measures how acidic or basic a solution is. In food manufacturing changes in pH levels can affect the taste, freshness and shelf life of products. pH is one of the most common chemical measures as it is used in waterworks, sewage treatment plants and the production of food/beverages and health products.

EAS has recently installed pH sensors to provide pH protection on irrigation lines to prevent pasture loss and in stormwater lines to identify any spills before they get into our waterways.

 

Pressure

Measuring liquid, gas and steam pressure is a key requirement in many manufacturing processes to ensure safety, efficiency and quality control. Pressure measures can also be used to infer flow rates, fluid levels and product density.

EAS has recently converted tanks from using radar to pressure monitoring as foaming was causing problems with achieving accurate readings. On the farm we’ve installed pressure transmitters to prevent overpressure on irrigation lines and in stormwater sumps we’ve installed pressure sensors down in the sump; which have really proved themselves reliable where other contact types have failed.

 

Conductivity

Conductivity measures are a useful indicator of the number of dissolved ions in a water sample and can serve as a measure of water quality.

Conductivity can be crucial for process control, product monitoring, water monitoring or leakage detection.

For example, in the dairy industry conductivity is used to measure how effectively the machinery has been cleaned and flushed. A low conductivity measure would indicate that all the cleaning products had been flushed and the equipment is ready to use again.

EAS has also installed conductivity sensors on condensate recovery systems to assist clients with minimising energy wastage and conserving water by returning suitable hot water back to the boilers to be reused.

Conductivity measurement is also useful in stormwater monitoring systems, CIP return lines and reverse osmosis plants to reduce losses.

 

Chlorine

In food processing chlorine is often used as a sanitizer. Chlorine will destroy bacteria, yeasts, moulds, spores, and viruses, significantly reducing their levels. As water is often recirculated it is important to monitor chlorine levels to ensure that there is still enough chlorine present for the chlorinated water to do its job.

EAS has used chlorine instrumentation to help determine the right dosing rate for ensuring bore and rainwater supplies are safe to drink. We’ve also installed chlorine monitoring systems to ensure that waste water has enough chlorine in kill off any bugs and to meet site compliance requirements.

 

Turbidity

Turbidity is the cloudiness or haziness of a fluid caused by large numbers of individual particles that are generally invisible to the naked eye. If there is a lot of these small solid particles in a liquid, they cause it to appear turbid.

Turbidity in drinking water can make it appear unappealing and may also represent a health concern.

Measuring turbidity is essential for quality assurance in a variety of applications such as drinking water production, effluent monitoring and sludge concentration measurement in wastewater treatment plans, monitoring of seawater inlets in desalination projects or product loss in dairy factories.

EAS has installed turbidity measuring devices for clients to detect any unwanted spills and to ensure that site drinking water meets the NZ drinking water standards.

 

CALIBRATION

Calibration is about ensuring your instruments (like those outlined above) are working as they should. For example, if you were checking your weight, you would ensure your bathroom scales were set to zero before you began – no one needs an extra couple of kgs added to their total. By ensuring the scale is set to zero before you begin you can be confident the results produced are accurate.

By regularly calibrating the instruments in your plant you are ensuring accurate results from the measures they are monitoring. Calibration however is a bit more technical than turning a dial on your bathroom scales to reset it to zero. Calibration involves comparing the measure produced by the device being tested and the standard. Calibration allows you to be confident that you are accurately measuring your inputs and outputs to ensure your facility is operating at peak performance.

 

The EAS team are qualified and experienced in calibrating all your plant instrumentation. In face in November last year, our team completed further training with Endress & Hauser on installing and calibrating a wide range of instrumentation devices.

If you would like advice or assistance with ensuring you have the equipment in place to ensure the productivity for your plant or want to ensure that it is operating at peak performance then give the team at EAS a call today on 07 834 0505.

Why we’re sponsoring Kidney Health NZ

Electrical & Automation Solutions (EAS) signed on as a sponsor of Kidney Health NZ in 2019. Kidney Health is a topic close to our hearts as Carey Penn, Managing Director of EAS, is currently on his own journey with kidney disease.

On the face of it, you’d think Carey was a pretty normal, healthy guy. He’d probably like to think even a bit fitter and active than many people his age. But in 2017 he found out he had kidney disease.

There were no obvious signs to make Carey think he had any serious health problems. He was a bit tired and hadn’t been feeling 100% for a while; but he put it down to putting in long hours building the business and with young kids, most parents are tired. Carey’s wife, Gemma, encouraged him to get a check-up and within days his test results were back, showing his kidney function (EGFR) was down to 21%. Which meant he was at stage 4 kidney failure .

As you can imagine this all came as a bit of a shock. Kidney Health NZ played an important role in helping Carey understand his illness and the journey he was now on. Carey says “I fully support the work they do especially around educating everyone about the simple steps they can take to ensure their own kidney health.” As Michael Campbell, General Manager of Kidney Health NZ says, “early detection is key in reducing the impact kidney disease has on people, their families and the wider community.”

In 2020, Carey’s kidney function dropped to a level where he needed to start peritoneal dialysis. Peritoneal dialysis involves the patient being hooked up to a fluid called dialysate four times a day which helps with removing fluid and waste products from the abdominal cavity. The fluid is placed into the abdominal cavity and remains there attracting and absorbing the waste materials until it is drained. The exchange takes about 30 – 40 minutes each time.

While some may have taken this as an opportunity to take a break, Carey instead viewed it as an opportunity to help others. He found being stuck in one location while having dialysis very limiting so set about designing a mobile stand that gave him the freedom to move around at home or work and interact with his family and colleagues.  Carey then went on to design and manufacture ten of these stands with the help of Mitchell Race Extreme to donate to the renal unit at Waikato Hospital so others could also enjoy that freedom.

Carey’s dedication to helping others with kidney disease has inspired the whole of EAS as well as his family to get behind Kidney Health NZ.  In August 2020, EAS staff along with family and friends got together to undertake Lugton’s Round the Bridges, raising $5,000 for Kidney Health NZ.  Carey’s daughter Molly and her friends also put in an amazing effort to raise nearly $1,000 running a bake sale at Te Kowhai school in December 2020.

Unfortunately, there is no cure for kidney disease and Carey is now on the wait list for a donor kidney. Carey says “I’m really grateful for my supportive friends and family who are going through the process of getting tested to see if they may be able to donate a kidney to me. Having kidney disease is not something I’d choose to have but I’m also not letting it slow me down. I’m staying focussed on the present and dealing with each step in the process as it comes up. Over the last few years I’ve modified my lifestyle – less beers with the boys (not that they seem to mind as they’ve always got a sober driver), healthier food and I’ve upgraded to an e-bike. The new bike means I can still smash out 50k on the hills without feeling exhausted. In fact, I find it makes me feel better not just physically, but mentally too as it sets me up for the week ahead.”

 

What does this mean for EAS and you our customers?

It’s all business as usual. EAS has full team on board both in the office and on the tools to ensure that when Carey needs to take time off for a transplant everything will keep running just as you’d expect. Carey says “I’m grateful for the support of our fantastic customers which have allowed the business to grow to the size where we now have a team of highly skilled electricians who are there to help solve all your electrical and automation problems.”

 

What can you do to help?

Take care of yourself. Make sure you treat your health as a priority and get regular check-ups. If you want to find out whether you could be at risk of kidney disease check out the Kidney Health NZ website.

 

We’d also love your help in raising funds for Kidney Health NZ. You can donate to the cause on their webpage or look out for the next challenge the EAS team decide to take on and make a contribution to our fundraising.

Referral Offer Terms & Conditions

referral-offer

How to take advantage of this great offer, plus the terms & conditions:

  • Encourage your colleagues, friends or family at other businesses to get in touch with Carey to discuss how EAS can work with their business – make sure they mention this offer so you can get your reward; or
  • Provide Carey with the contact details of your colleague, friend or family member who may be interested in EAS’ services. Remember they need to book a job for you to earn your reward so it would be a great idea to talk to them about it first.

 

Please note:

  • this offer applies to new industrial clients only.
  • the job must be booked before 31 May 2020 for you to be eligible for the voucher offer.
  • Vouchers will be sent out on invoicing of the job.

Are your switchboards in top shape for the year ahead?

With the start of the New Year we are often setting personal goals to get in better shape but now is a great time to make sure your switchboards are also in great shape ready for another busy year.

 

Switchboard checks that should be made include:

  • Replacing all rewirable porcelain fuses with miniature circuit breakers (MCBs)
  • Replacing your main switch with RCD circuit protection
  • Ensuring your earthing bars and grounding stakes are sound and comply with the latest EWRB regulations.

 

How to tell if your switchboard requires upgrading

 

If you’re switchboard looks more like photo A than photo B it may  be time for a switchboard upgrade.

old-switchboard switchboard-photo

Photo A                                                                                                Photo B

 

Checks and upgrades that may be required:

  • Wiring should be checked to ensure that is not made of rubber or other non-compliant material.
  • Redundant and dangerous wiring should be removed.
  • The earthing conductors should not be bare copper. All bare earth wires should be sleeved.
  • All connections should be checked and comply with the latest EWRB regulations (AS/NZ5300:2007)

 

In addition to electrical checks, it is also important to check for any signs of water damage or habitation or damage by animals, including spiders, birds and vermin. Bird droppings are very acidic and can cause corrosion of metal, while nests increase the risk of fires and vermin are often responsible for damaging wiring.

 

If you would like assistance with checking or upgrading your switchboards, please get in touch with the EAS team today on 07 834 0505.

Health & Safety at EAS

AT EAS we have a strong commitment to health and safety. Our priority is not just about ensuring your standards are up-held; we believe in going above and beyond to ensure both our team and yours go home safe and sound at the end of each day.

We ensure all our staff are certified to work on your site prior to commencing a job. All staff working onsite have attended both the permit receivers and hazard ID courses. We also have staff certified in:

  • working in confined spaces
  • working at heights
  • elevated work platforms
  • hazardous areas.

Our team are encouraged to take a responsible approach to health and safety at all times with:

  • Daily toolbox talks
  • The wearing of protective clothing as required
  • Adhering to the correct procedures and equipment use
  • Ensuring all accidents and incidents are reported including the early reporting of any pain and discomfort
  • Informing the Managing Director immediately of any health and safety hazards or safety concerns.
  • We also utilise technology to ensure that staff have all health and safety paperwork on hand at all times.

As a member of Master Electricians we are audited on our health and safety, electrical testing equipment and quality assurance systems.

In fact our team is so passionate about health and safety, our administration manager even makes sure we’re aware of the hazards of an after work beer!

drinking

 

If you need an electrical team you can rely on, get in touch with the EAS team today on 07 834 0505.

Why upgrade to LED Lighting

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While budgets are tight across many sectors at the moment, investing in a LED Lighting upgrade may be the best way to save your company money in the long term.

High Bay LED Light Fitting High Bay Metal Halide Light Fitting
Power 200 watts 400 watts
Output 25,000 lumens 32,000 lumens (fast depreciation)
Estimate Cost per fitting $300 $250
Life 50,000 hours 5,000 hours
Warranty 5 years None

 Figures sourced from stouchlighting.com

 

The key benefits of upgrading to LEDs include:

  • Lifespan
    LED lights have a lifespan of 50,000 hours and include a 5 year warranty compared to Metal Halide’s which carry no warranty and have a lifespan of just 5 years. Most Metal Halide light fittings in use today will be past their 5-year lifespan and their lumen output would be well below their maximum output of 32,000 lumens; while still using full power input of 400 watts. The lumen output of a metal halide lamp depreciates much faster than an LED. In fact, they depreciate about 20% each 1,000 hours.
  • Reduced Power Consumption
    High bay LED lights have a lumens/watt ratio of 125 vs Metal Halide Light with 80 lumens/watt.
    This means the LED light is 56% more efficient than its Metal Halide counterpart and this efficiency only improves over the lifetime of the fitting as the lumens in a metal halide light depreciate quite rapidly while the LED lumen output hold steady.
  • Better Lighting
    LED lights emit light over 180° vs the standard metal halide light which emits light in a 360° range. With the LED light, lighting is being directed where you need it, so your energy consumption is reduced – saving you more money.
  • Reduced Maintenance
    With a lifespan of 50,000 hours the LED lamp will require less changes which means less maintenance work for your team and less interruption to your business.

 

If you would like to find out about the cost saving your business could make by moving to LED lighting, get in touch with the EAS team today on 07 834 0505.