According to Fluke, the vast majority of handheld test tool measurements are taken in the moment and never recorded, despite the realisation that technicians would be more efficient if they could share measurement data as a team. To help, the company has introduced a system which transfers measurement data from test tools to smartphones and the cloud, improving communication, safety and productivity.
When using handheld test tools to carry out inspections, repairs and so, engineers and maintenance technicians will often be taking the measurements in the moment and not recording them. However, according to research by Fluke, it was discovered that technicians would be more efficient if they were able to share this measurement data as a team. According to the company, the list of sharing opportunities was almost infinite – between one shift and the next; between junior and senior technicians; between field and office; or even just the ability to access previous measurement data when carrying out inspection or troubleshooting to compare the baseline, etc.
In fact, maintenance technicians can make better, faster decisions when they have field access to maintenance records and can review measurements in real time with team members and supervisors who may be in different locations.
Fluke has therefore made it its mission to make the connection between job and tool easier and has introduced ‘Fluke Connect’, a system than enables maintenance technicians to wirelessly transmit measurement data from the company’s test tools to their smartphone for storage on the cloud. Here, it can then be accessed by any team member.
Fluke Connect utilises existing smartphones and an external high security Fluke Cloud database.
The Fluke Connect app can be downloaded free from the Apple App store and Google Play store, and is compatible with iPhone 4s and upwards running iOS 7 or higher; and Galaxy S4, Nexus 5, HTC One, running Android 4.4.x and up.
More than 20 Fluke tools can connect wirelessly with this. These include digital multimeters, thermal imagers, insulation testers, process meters, and specific voltage, current and temperature meters.
Using the app, technicians can Autorecord measurements and infrared images to Fluke Cloud storage from wherever they are working; and everyone in the team with a smart phone and the app can see the data. Also included is ShareLive video calls, which enables technicians to share measurements with other team members in real time, get approvals for repairs, and have questions answered while still in the field.
An additional feature of the app is EquipmentLog history. This allows technicians to assign measurements to specific equipment, creating a cloud-based history of test measurement data for easy access during troubleshooting and reliability maintenance. TrendIt, meanwhile, enables data to be instantly graphed, helping to identify trends.
As for security, Fluke Cloud storage is, the company claims, built on state-of-the-art security, including secure access, electronic surveillance, multi-factor access control systems, built-in firewalls and encrypted data storage.
The technology is therefore suitable for a wide range of applications. As an example, it can be used for electro-mechanical troubleshooting and preventative maintenance. Here, the technician could use the app with the 3000 FC series DMM and/or current, AC/DC voltage and temp modules, and the Ti 100 or Ti 400 series thermal imagers. It would then be possible to:
• Carry out basic circuit checks with simultaneous three point testing from incoming supply to output to load.
• Compare the thermal signature between phases and against baseline; thermally inspect wire insulation and connections.
• Check loading and balance across phases, simultaneously; DC load checks.
• Test electronically-controlled equipment by placing modules at the point of electrical connection (at supply, load, etc.) and monitoring while standing at the controls.
• Use AutoRecord to capture measurements and images and EquipmentLog history to save data for future inspection comparison.
• Use ShareLive video call to consult with team lead as needed.
Fluke Connect can also be used by instrumentation technicians for troubleshooting and predictive maintenance; in the HVAC industry for troubleshooting heating/cooling electro-mechanical equipment, plus much more.
With Fluke Connect, the company is giving technicians the ability to leverage tools they already know how to use, while giving facilities affordable access to a reliable data management system.
The Cloud provides a means to store and share data, and the new system therefore takes full advantage of this.
Click here to see the video.