Join us in welcoming Project Engineer, Andrew, to the Quasar team.
Originally from Scotland, Andrew gained a Bachelor of Engineering in Electrical and Electronics Engineering with Honors from the University of the West of Scotland. With over 30 years of experience gained from working in Scotland, New Zealand, and Australia, Andrew has built an impressive track record in the field of engineering.
Throughout his career, he has worked in various industries, such as mining, renewable energy production, and factory automation, and has contributed to the success of several well-known companies.
We are delighted to welcome someone with such a diverse and extensive background to the Quasar team. Your global perspective and experience will undoubtedly enhance our team, and we look forward to collaborating with you on exciting projects that push the boundaries of engineering.
The valley between Te Anau and Milford Sound is Andrew's favourite spot in New Zealand. He loves to admire the reflective pools in the valley and the mesmerising sight of the long grass moving in unison and forming beautiful patterns, especially when the wind blows. As Andrew describes it, this picturesque valley scene is reminiscent of the captivating imagery from the movie "Dances with Wolves".
Once again, welcome to the Quasar team, Andrew! We are excited to see what you will achieve with us.
We are excited to introduce a new member of our Software Development team, Scott!
Scott joins us with a wealth of experience in his field and a reputation for being a top-notch problem solver and innovator.
Scott brings a deep understanding of industry best practices, and his expertise will be invaluable as we continue to grow.
His skills range from data intensive ETL and reporting projects to web and mobile development, making him a versatile addition to our team.
Not only is Scott a talented professional, but he is also a great communicator and a team player. His active listening skills and ability to explain complex concepts in a straightforward way have already made him an asset in project discussions.
At Quasar, we value a collaborative work environment where everyone's contributions are respected, and Scott's positive attitude and willingness to help others make him an excellent fit for our team culture. We're excited to have him on board and look forward to working together to deliver outstanding solutions to our clients.
Scott’s favourite biscuits are those that he can find at home, made by his talented daughter. “You can’t beat homemade cookies with both white and milk chocolate and way too much brown sugar.”
Please join us in welcoming Scott to our team!
Despite significant investments in safety, utility substations remain a hazardous environment. With high voltages and the potential for catastrophic failure, utilities must mitigate the risk of injury or death when operating in or around a substation.
As demonstrated in previous articles, industrial thermal sensors make it possible to reduce maintenance costs, improve reliability, and allocate resources more effectively. In addition to these benefits, thermal and visual sensors can also be used to enhance safety and security for both workers and the public.
This article will highlight four of the ways that utilities can mitigate risk and improve safety with thermal and visual sensors.
1) Workers Spend Less Time On-Site
Working at a utility substation will always come with some level of risk. Up to 80 utility workers are killed each year in the US from injuries sustained on the job. Line workers, specifically, have among the highest risk of workplace fatality of any job in the US.
Automated and remote thermal imaging enhances safety by providing maintenance teams with greater situational awareness before they arrive at a substation. Rather than conducting a physical inspection on a substation that is still operational and delivering power, remote thermal sensors allow technicians to detect hotspots and diagnose threats in advance.
Aware of the potential risks, such as an overheating arrestor or bushing, technicians can take steps to protect themselves and safely repair or replace the asset. Knowing that these components can potentially explode when they fail, the circuit would be de-energized before entering the substation.
With an advanced view, crews can spend less time working in hazardous environments, further reducing risks. They can get in, make the repair, and get out in minimal time.
Finally, an advanced view of the substation can be vital after severe weather, wildfires, or natural disasters. For example, crews can check the visual sensor to see if there is damage or flooding before going to the site.
2) Crews Spend Less Time on the Road
Workers are not only at risk once they arrive on site. Driving to and from remote substations can be dangerous as well. Nearly 43,000 people died in motor vehicle traffic crashes across the US last year, with nearly 1,300 deaths resulting from work-related crashes across industries.
Physical inspections put maintenance teams on the road more frequently as they travel to remote substations. Visual and thermal sensors, on the other hand, allow utilities to monitor substations from a central location. Crews can then be dispatched based on the actual condition of the site and assets, reducing the need for manual inspections and limiting the amount of time spent behind the wheel. Not only does this approach enhance safety, but it is also more cost-effective and efficient for the utility.
3) Improved Security and Reduced Public Access
Utilities are also responsible to the public, even if they’ve entered areas that they are not supposed to be in. Vandals, for example, may try to get into a substation to cause mischief, damage equipment, or steal copper. There were at least 274 significant instances of vandalism or deliberate damage to electrical infrastructure in the US over a recent three-year period, and each of these incidents creates a safety concern for the utility. For example, removing ground wire from a system is not only dangerous to the thief but also creates a dangerous condition for utility workers. Installing a remote monitoring system lets potential intruders know they are being watched and will deter them from breaking into the site.
Compared to commercial-grade security cameras, utility-grade thermal and visual sensors are designed to operate in harsh outdoor conditions, withstand electromagnetic interference from high-voltage electrical infrastructure, and operate on backup power if necessary. Utilities can increase security and restrict the public from getting inside the substations – further protecting them from potential harm.
4) Fewer Life-Threatening Outages Through Condition-Based Maintenance
Reliability is vital to a utility for many reasons. Not least of which is that blackouts can result in a significant number of injuries or deaths. A recent report found that the 2021 Texas power outage resulted in at least 1,400 emergency visits for carbon monoxide poisoning and at least 11 deaths. In another case, a Yale report on the 2003 New York blackout found that at least 90 people died, and accidental deaths spiked 122 percent compared to non-blackout periods.
Thermal sensors make it possible to shift to a condition-based maintenance strategy and take a proactive approach to maintenance and repairs. By improving reliability and mitigating the likelihood of severe failures and unplanned outages, utilities can keep power flowing to customers and reduce the risk to the general public.
Putting Safety First with Industrial Thermal Sensors
Industrial thermal sensors allow utilities to reduce maintenance costs, improve reliability, and shift toward a condition-based maintenance strategy. But they can also play an important role in improving safety for both workers and the public. With remote monitoring, maintenance teams spend less time on-site and traveling to and from remote substations. Similarly, visual sensors keep substations secure from vandals and other members of the public, while fewer outages ensure that customers can depend on access to electricity when they need it most.
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Sustainability and energy efficiency have become important goals for commercial building owners and tenants and a green building rating is a great way to measure progress towards these goals.
A green building rating offers many benefits, some of which are:
NABERSNZ and Green Star are the two systems used in New Zealand to rate the energy efficiency or green building standards of buildings.
The Difference Between NABERSNZ and Green Star
NABERSNZ (link) rates the energy efficiency of office buildings after they have been occupied for at least a year and offers ratings for base build, tenancy or both.
Green Star (link) rates all types of buildings and measures a buildings overall environmental impact across nine categories including energy.
Welcome to our team Cambo!
Cambo is our new Project Engineer and is responsible for developing, designing, and commissioning energy and power management systems using a range of Schneider Electric products.
He moved to Christchurch to attend University of Canterbury, where he achieved a Bachelor of Engineering with Honours. Whilst studying he worked as a Student Engineer and has since worked his way up to Project Engineer gaining experience and knowledge along the way.
Outside of work Cambo likes gardening, growing his own vegetables, he has also built and implemented smart systems around his home.
Welcome again Cambo, we are excited to have you as part of the Quasar team!
Welcome to our team Alice!
We’re excited to have welcomed a new face to the Quasar team. Alice Cole is our new Office Administrator and is responsible for keeping our office running smoothly. Alice is our first point of contact for customers, manages inwards and outwards goods as well as purchasing and order processing. She also takes care of a variety of finance, marketing and contract administration tasks.
Alice has held various administrator roles in the UK and New Zealand over the past ten years and is a highly experienced administrator.
Outside of work, Alice enjoys spending time with her family and dogs and her favourite place in New Zealand is Lake Pukaki due to its amazing views and serenity, as well as being a great place for a refreshing swim.
It’s been a busy month for us as our team continues to grow! We’re pleased to have also welcomed Stuart Sanderson to our team as our new Engineering Manager. Stuart is responsible for planning, monitoring, and closing our projects as well as leading the engineering team.
Stuart joins Quasar from his role as Network Investment Manager at Enable Fibre Broadband where he was responsible for ensuring network assets were capable of achieving business objectives now and in the future. He also has extensive experience in project and service delivery management roles in the telecommunications and IT industries across New Zealand, Saudi Arabia, the UK and Iraq.
Outside of work, Stuart runs a small farm with his family and when he has spare time, he enjoys maintaining his organic fruit and veg garden, going for a 5k run or bike ride, or relaxing on the patio with his wife.