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Effective PAT Testing at Airbus Site
27th June 2011

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Versatile electrical safety testing technology is helping a specialist facilities management and building services company, Inviron, to maintain safe working conditions at one of the UK’s largest manufacturing sites.

As part of its responsibility for providing planned preventative and reactive maintenance for the mechanical and electrical systems at the Airbus Broughton site in North Wales‚ technical facilities management specialist Inviron undertakes all of the plant’s portable appliance testing (PAT) requirements using Seaward PAT testing equipment.

Airbus’ Broughton facility includes two large industrial manufacturing units‚ with supporting administration and staff service areas. The largest of the engineering areas‚ at over 83‚500 sq metres‚ houses the manufacturing and wing assembly for the A380 airliner. Around 6‚000 people work on the site.

Inviron’s PAT services include the scheduled and reactive testing of all electrical equipment and appliances‚ alongside test data records management and electrical repairs.

Given the variety of working environments and activities present on the site – including engineering‚ construction‚ office‚ kitchen‚ shop and public areas – there is an extremely wide variety of electrical equipment in use. These include both 230V and 110V hand held tools and portable equipment‚ 3-phase equipment‚ IT and office equipment and catering appliances.

As a result‚ Inviron’s team of engineers based at Broughton use different Seaward safety testers to meet the electrical test needs of different types of appliances.

Hand held electrical tools and portable appliances used in production areas are monitored‚ tested and repaired on a daily basis using a Seaward Supernova Plus.

The Supernova Plus is a comprehensive dual voltage electrical safety tester that is ideal for use in engineering workshop locations. The robust tester includes a flash test capability, accurate earth bond and leakage measurements when multiple earth paths exist, multiple 250V/500V insulation testing and an internal storage capacity of up to 5,000 appliances.

Electrical equipment used in office and other non-manufacturing locations at Broughton are tested in periodic phases by Inviron engineers using the Seaward PrimeTest 350. This lightweight‚ handheld tester is battery powered and specifically designed for maximum portability – enabling engineers to carry out all required electrical tests quickly and effectively.

All PAT procedures adopted by Inviron at the Airbus Broughton facility are in keeping with the 3rd edition of IEE Code of Practice for In-service Inspection and Testing of electrical equipment.

Any electrical equipment that fails any of the safety tests is immediately removed from service and retained in a ‘quarantine’ compound until it is repaired or disposed of appropriately. All safe appliances are marked with a distinctive ‘pass’ label.

All test results‚ records and data gathered from the inspection and testing programmes are retained in a dedicated PATGuard Elite database. This enables full and easy access to equipment safety records‚ the production of test certificates for all electrical items and the scheduling of future test dates.

In this way‚ with such a large site to cover and so many electrical appliances in use‚ the key to managing electrical safety at the Airbus Broughton site is the effective integration of equipment records‚ test procedures and future test scheduling.

Steve Salter‚ Inviron Engineer ‚ said: “Portable appliance testing is an important part of the health and safety and equipment maintenance policies.

“To meet this need‚ Comprehensive testing‚ traceability of results and unambiguous test records are all vital to demonstrate compliance. The use of Seaward PAT test technology helps us to achieve this and enables us to prove a proactive and electrical safety testing service to Airbus.”

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