Workplace Solutions Arc flash Electrical

Arc flash protection

What are thermochromic solutions, and how can they help protect workers from arc flash hazards?


Photo: IRISS Inc.

Responding is Adam Rouff, marketing director, IRISS Inc., Bradenton, FL.

Thermochromic solutions are innovative technologies that offer a visual indication of electrical asset health and provide an additional layer of safety in various applications.

By incorporating thermochromic components into electrical equipment – such as clips, stickers, strips, paint or other forms – a color change occurs based on specific temperature ranges. This color change serves as a 24/7 safety monitoring system, enabling inspection workers to visually detect potential dangers.

The permanent quality of the color change is particularly valuable in straight and noncontinuous load applications. In scenarios in which a bundle of wires is present in a panel, each equipped with thermochromic clips, a distinct color change on a specific clip during an inspection indicates a thermal (heating) issue. This immediate visual feedback allows workers to identify the problematic area promptly. By recognizing the color change during subsequent inspections, they can take appropriate actions to address the underlying problem before it leads to a possible electrical fire, arc flash or equipment failure.

One of the key advantages of thermochromic solutions is their simplicity and non-tech nature. They provide a safe visual and accessible method to protect against arc flash incidents, requiring minimal technical expertise for implementation. Whether applied to switchgear, cables, bus bars, or used in general home or office settings, thermochromic indicators serve as a visible warning system before electrical incidents or fires occur.

The installation of thermochromic solutions is straightforward and quick, often involving push-on mechanisms. This means there’s no need to de-energize or disconnect the equipment during installation, minimizing downtime and ensuring continuous operation. Inspection windows – often present in electrical equipment – allow workers to view the thermochromic material and its color change, providing a highly visible predictive warning.

In summary, thermochromic solutions offer a reliable and cost-effective means of enhancing safety measures in electrical applications. By using color changes based on temperature ranges, these solutions provide continuous monitoring and early warning capabilities, enabling timely intervention to prevent incidents and equipment damage. With their ease of installation and non-tech nature, thermochromic solutions serve as valuable tools in protecting workers and assets from arc flash incidents and ensuring a safer work environment.

Editor's note: This article represents the independent views of the author and should not be considered a National Safety Council endorsement.

Post a comment to this article

Safety+Health welcomes comments that promote respectful dialogue. Please stay on topic. Comments that contain personal attacks, profanity or abusive language – or those aggressively promoting products or services – will be removed. We reserve the right to determine which comments violate our comment policy. (Anonymous comments are welcome; merely skip the “name” field in the comment box. An email address is required but will not be included with your comment.)