Test and measurement equipment has advanced hugely since the days of the analog Volt-Ohmmeter (VOM) in the phenolic case. In addition to the highly advanced DMMs that have replaced those instruments, we are now empowered by other test equipment such as:
- Clamp-on meters. In essence a variation on the DMM, these come in a variety of configurations that help in difficult measurement situations.
- Infrared tools. These have opened up a whole new way of (literally) looking at maintenance. The tools in this category range from spot temperature thermometers to highly capable thermographic cameras. Simply adding an entry-level thermographic camera to your instrument collection provides solid gains; fully embracing a thermography program brings even greater benefits.
- Vibration testers. Gone are the days when you were limited to taking voltage measurements to maintain your motors.
- Insulation testers. If you care about your cables, you perform insulation resistance tests. Taking baseline measurements after installation then then trending periodic (e.g., annual) test results enables you to predict and prevent catastrophic failures.
- Ultrasonics. Useful in many ways. Finding leaks in a plant air-distribution system is one way to bring electrical demand down.
- Moisture meters. If you’ve encountered corrosion, you already know why these are essential.
- The videoscope. This is hard to beat on cool factor. And it can eliminate a lot of very uncomfortable contorting as you try to see behind, under, or over things.
But with all of this testing and measurement capability, what are you actually doing with the test results and measurement data? If you have not done so already, start looking at connectivity-capable (e.g., Bluetooth) instruments that enable you to go well beyond the old-school paper reporting process.
As you add connectivity-capable tools to your testing and measurement arsenal, you’ll begin to change your processes to make them more agile and your team more capable.