Engineering consulting expert Carab Tekniva has introduced the innovative and technologically advanced U-Fi wireless communication solution that is specifically designed to track and record maintenance and testing undertaken on power plant boilers.

The U-Fi interface is an innovative wireless communication solution developed by the group and enables a seamless transition from the physical plant inspection to an electronically stored format.

Carab Tekniva software developer Morn Ausmeier explains that the system uses the in-house developed U-Fi technology, which wirelessly links the test and inspection equipment and a tough book tablet device to record measurements electronically during inspections. The populated data template can be uploaded to the Carab Plant Care maintenance management system for further evaluation and repair recommendations.

Ausmeier points out that U-Fi was tested and benchmarked against the current manually supported solution at two plants of South Africa‘s biggest power producer during the course of 2012, with results yielding zero data loss, while operational improvement exceeded 400%.

U-Fi enables the user to wirelessly transmit thickness readings to an MS Excel template or utilised database with 100% accuracy of readings from gauge to templates. Whats more, it entirely eliminates manual capturing errors, while automatically uploading inspection templates directly into the system in seconds,” he explains.

According to Ausmeier, U-Fi provides total operational freedom between a thickness gauge and the workstation. “Our technology is hierarchical and plants can add hierarchies to tasks to enable risk and asset management.Further, owing to our systems, plant engineers gain deeper insight into the precise work that has been done or still needs to be done in the entire plant,” he says.

The Carab T module, in addition to the Carab Plant Care Maintenance management system, is a management and real time progress tracking tool.It can be fully customised to the clients requirements to include all the steps needed to complete a work package. Role players are assigned to specific steps, which only allows them access to the work they need to do, thus adding another level of control.

The U-Fi module consists of a sender and a receiver unit, which communicate wirelessly for distances in excess of 100 m, effectively eliminating the need for cabled communications. The receiver unit links into a portable pre-configured workstation and communicates wirelessly via the U-Fi firmware with the sender unit, which is configured for an Olympus thickness gauge (MG2-DL).

Carab Tekniva technical marketing and sales representative Billa Pansegrouw says: “The sender unit is powered by a rechargeable 2 200 mAh, 8.2 Lithium-ion sealed battery pack and both units are encased in an anodised dye cast extruded aluminium case, with SAB plastic sealed end caps to minimise performance degradation as a result of dust and moisture found in most industrial environments.”

To meet the specific requirements of the Carab Tekniva Group customer suite, the optimum current configuration includes an Olympus MG2-DL thickness gauge and the Algiz 7 Tough Tablet with Win 7 pro 32-bit operating system. After the thickness gauge acquires a thickness measure, the master unit initiates a request for data and stores it on the workstation.

The U-Fi module is due to be implemented at the two power plant sites during the first half of 2013.

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