A Focused Approach to Preventive Maintenance (pp-34; Nov. 2015)

Northern Neck Electric Cooperative Gets Smart Unifying its Substation, Line, and Pole Inspections 

 { The following paragraphs are excerpted from the 5-page narration of NNEC’s process of evaluation, selection, and deployment of SMARTest for their substation and distribution inspections and more ….}


At the North Carolina Meter School in 2014, NNEC engineering personnel discovered a program from MinMax Technologies called SMARTest designed to perform substation inspections on a mobile device. This program not only has the ability to link multiple different inspections to substation equipment, it also has the ability to link pdf documents and photos to the equipment records. Based on a cloud-based cyber-secure database and browser-based technology, SMARTest can be used from multiple devices such as PCs, iPads, and Androids. Most importantly, the program can use browser caching to enable inspections in internet-dead zones. This allows data to be collected offline and uploaded back to the cloud database once connected to the Internet. This offered an ideal feature for substations in remote areas that typically fall outside of reliable hot spots.

SMARTest seemed almost too good to be true. How could a comprehensive substation maintenance & inspection program complete with document management be packaged into a digital platform, run multiple types of inspection tests, be compatible with several different devices, and run in an offline mode? The program was initially met with skepticism from engineering management due to its reoccurring costs and concerns about whether it could be used for anything other than substation inspections. NNEC was in the process of looking for mobile solutions for line inspections and damage assessment and there was a concern over paying such reoccurring charges for multiple programs for different types of inspections. The program needed to work on the iPads that were already being utilized by the linemen for map viewing.

A web based demonstration was arranged and skepticism turned to promising enthusiasm as the various aspects of the program were demonstrated before the NNEC engineers and inspectors. NNEC felt that it could justify purchasing the program if it could be used for multiple types of inspections.


Full Article in T&D World – November 2015

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