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Cooper Wiring Devices’ Arrow Hart Engineering Sales team was recently tasked with conducting a wiring devices audit for Crown Candy Corporation, an 85-year-old candy manufacturer in Macon, Ga. The audit identified opportunities for improvement in the areas of employee and equipment safety, compliance with codes and standards, reduced maintenance and downtime, and overall product performance and longevity. With more than a century of leadership in designing and building quality wiring devices for tough applications, the Arrow Hart team was able to identify a range of areas for improvement, ultimately contributing to enhanced safety, productivity and cleanliness for Crown Candy.
The primary reason for a facility to undergo a complete wiring devices audit is to provide a safe and productive work environment. Electrically unsafe conditions can contribute to workplace injuries, manufacturing downtime and loss of productivity. Faulty electrical wiring and devices are consistently among the top OSHA-cited infractions and are a leading cause of workplace hazards. A proactive and ongoing review of the quality and service of a facility’s wiring devices can enable cost-effective upgrades that will improve safety and productivity while reducing downtime. For Crown Candy Corporation, these were all competitive necessities that prompted the company to seek a professional audit of their electrical infrastructure.
A detailed auditing process uncovered numerous opportunities for improvement within Crown’s manufacturing plant. Arrow Hart’s recommendations included replacing standard devices with those that are designed for use in more complex environments. This includes the replacement of receptacles, plugs, connectors, switches and motor controls throughout the Crown facility.
In food and beverage manufacturing environments, it is common for the electrical infrastructure to be exposed to water, hose-down, extreme temperatures, cleaning agents and physical abuse. Standard industrial devices repeatedly used in these harsh manufacturing environments will corrode, break down and present potential issues with safety and electrical integrity. For these unique environments, it is recommended to use devices that are watertight (IP66 or greater) to resist ingress of water, dust and other contaminants. Devices also should be constructed from durable materials designed for use in harsh, corrosive environments – like stainless steel, glass-filled nylon, nickel plated metals, etc. Further, it is vital to protect devices wherever possible from the hazardous environments to which they are exposed with covers, flip-lids and strain relief solutions.
Replacing standard products with these devices designed specifically for harsh environments will maximize safety, productivity and longevity.
Understanding the environment
Arrow Hart discovered multiple opportunities to upgrade devices in the facility. In those areas that are regularly exposed to hose-down or spray with cleaning agents, watertight receptacles, plugs and connectors were recommended. These will provide the water and dust protection required for safe and dependable use even when exposed to repeated hose-downs and cleanings. In areas exposed to incidental water spray, humidity and airborne contaminants, Arrow Hart recommended corrosion-resistant receptacles, plugs and connectors. These devices are constructed from special materials made for long-term use in corrosive environments.
Arrow Hart also recommended a variety of flip covers to protect receptacles and switches throughout the facility. These common points of electrical control and distribution can easily fall victim to corrosion and physical failure, presenting a common safety hazard, and often requiring repeated replacement in a food and beverage facility. By simply using the right kind of device and protecting it with a cover while not in use, you can drastically extend the life of the device and the safety of employees and equipment.
Another common point of failure with wiring devices is due to strain on cable and conductors. It is common on plugs and connectors used in industrial applications to have the cable jacket fray or pull away from an installed device, exposing the user to live conductors. This hazard can easily be avoided by properly installing the device to the cable and using a wire mesh grip for added strain relief.
This simple accessory is ideal for any plug or connector used as a service drop, moved frequently or could be pulled from the cable. Wire mesh grips are also ideal for cables dropping from enclosures or power distribution points, as they service to relieve strain from these entry and exit points.
Another recommendation was to upgrade multiple motor control switches. In industrial manufacturing facilities, an auxiliary means of motor disconnect is required within line-sight of the motor it controls. In food and beverage facilities, these motor disconnects are typically in close proximity to the food production line, which is often exposed to liquids, food particles, water and cleaning agents. In the case of Crown Candy, these motor controls were regularly exposed to sugars and syrups, which took their toll on device integrity over time. For these applications, Arrow Hart recommended the X-Switch, an industrial motor control switch designed specifically for food and beverage applications. The compact, stainless steel, NEMA 4X enclosure and rugged switch design is ideal for motor control applications like those in Crown Candy, and will provide quality, maintenance-free performance for years to come. Further, due to its unique design, the X-Switch is certified by the National Sanitation Foundation (NSF) for use in food and beverage “splash zone” applications, making it an ideal “clean” solution for motor control within a food manufacturing facility.
One of the more challenging evaluations involved the facility’s chemical waste building, which houses spent chemicals used in the manufacturing and cleaning processes. The pumps housed in this building required a local means of connectivity, but the receptacles and plugs used in the past were prone to failure on a monthly basis. For this application, Arrow Hart recommended a rugged portable outlet box with corrosion-resistant receptacles and flip-lid cover plates, which will ensure longlasting durability in this extremely corrosive environment.
Following the initial wiring devices audit and results, Arrow Hart conducted a follow-up visit with Crown Candy to further detail the exact products and tools required to best perform the replacement of the devices needed. All applications were documented and a detailed list of materials was created for the recommended upgrades. Crown Candy is currently in the process of integrating all recommended changes and products into their facility, taking advantage of equipment changeover and downtime of specific lines. Upon full integration, Crown Candy Corporation will enjoy a variety of long-term benefits, including increased efficiency, reduced downtime, code compliance and workplace safety.
Recognizing the benefits of this and numerous other facility audits, Arrow Hart has developed a comprehensive, easy-to-use auditing program for any industrial manufacturing environment. The program, called SAFE Solutions, now allows Arrow Hart representatives to assist other facilities in identifying challenges faced as a result of improper or failing wiring devices.
The tools help facility managers, engineers, and maintenance to perform wiring device audits using a convenient audit pad to locate and recommend solutions that meet a specific facility’s needs. The program has helped facilities to better identify and recommend extensive improvements in safety and compliance.
About Cooper Wiring Devices
Cooper Wiring Devices, a trusted name in electrical products, features Arrow Hart commercial and industrial solutions and CORE Lighting Controls. Including such product lines as ArrowLink, RhinoBox, Aspire, Aspire RF, and MediaSync, Cooper Wiring Devices provides products that increase productivity, energy efficiency, safety at work and in the home, and provide reliable performance. A division of Cooper Industries plc, Cooper Wiring Devices is headquartered in Peachtree City, Ga. For more information, visit www.cooperwiringdevices.com.