Inspecting and Cleaning Energized Utility Equipment Dry Ice Blasting

Thermal imaging combined with dry ice blast cleaning provides a newer and safer option for utility infrastructure inspection as part of preventative maintenance programs.

By Brett Fleming, SPI Inspections Inc., and Rob Milner, Teledyne FLIR

A SPI powerline technician conducting dry ice blast cleaning of an energized 25 kV switching cubicle. The operator is wearing class-three rubber gloves and boots (not shown). It is important to have proper training and use proper PPE to eliminate the electrocution hazard

Following the near total grid failure in Texas during last winter’s record-cold temperatures, and with the increased occurrences of weather events around the world, utility customers and regulators are questioning utilities about the reliability of power infrastructure. Managers are being pressured as never before, as aging plants reach end of life. Capital and maintenance budgets are constantly under scrutiny. In response, power utilities across the world are taking stock and examining system resiliency in the face of climate change.

Meanwhile, proactive steps are being taken to strengthen the grid through inspections and regular maintenance performed to ensure power transmission and distribution systems can maintain reliability. Proactive maintenance is vital to ensure the reliability that customers expect while preventing outages that can cost millions—if not billions—in lost productivity and revenue.  

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