Seaward’s Apollo delivers improved electrical safety testing

Investment in advanced portable appliance testing technology is enabling a manufacturer of custom-made personal computers to improve its safety testing protocols during production cycles.

PC Specialist designs and manufactures a range of high-spec PCs and laptops, primarily for the consumer gaming market, at its manufacturing centre in Wakefield, West Yorkshire. There, upwards of 5,000 bespoke systems designed and produced monthly for the rapidly growing global gaming market as well as supplying several major UK electrical and electronic goods retailers.

The company is using an Apollo 600+ from Seaward as part of a quality control programme to ensure that in-house electrical power connection leads and monitors are safe to use and perform to optimum output levels.

Manufacturing operations can see hundreds of test monitors running concurrently during peak production periods with over 180 power lead safety checked and tested daily using the portable Apollo 600+. This involves completing a series of continuity tests, 500V insulation tests and cable insulation resistance tests following visual inspections of each lead to ensure compliance with IEC 60502 regulations.

The Apollo 600+ carries out all of the electrical safety tests required under the current edition of the IET Code of Practice, with the instrument automatically sequencing through the required tests, which can include earth continuity, insulation resistance, protective conductor current, touch current, IEC lead polarity and RCD trip times.

This lightweight, versatile and compact tester, together with a Seaward Elite test and tag printer, is carried from one production cell to another at PC Specialist to undertake each safety check. After a test is complete, a bar code label is printed off and attached to the lead to confirm that is safe to use, complying with health and safety requirements.

The incorporation of a large internal memory supports data handling needs, allowing the user to upload test records and transfer them directly to a central database on his PC as and when required. The use of these features is completed with the production of test labels, certificates and reports to demonstrate full compliance with in-house safety management and quality protocols.

This approach has led to PC Specialist establishing improved practices and standards across its manufacturing operations during product build phases, delivering a fully automatic and integrated electrical safety testing regime for every unit that leaves the factory gate.

The tester is also used to check the in-service safety of dozens of other electrically powered items across the company’s factory site as part of an ongoing asset management and maintenance programme. These include appliances such as fridge freezers, staff laptops, kettles, dishwashers, microwaves, power tools, washroom hand dryers and desk lights.

Maintenance engineers Craig Lindley and Graham Williams, who are responsible for electrical safety testing, say, “We are 100% committed to safety – it’s of paramount importance to us. We therefore take our compliance responsibilities extremely seriously, which is why we have invested in a high performance, extremely capable portable appliance tester as part of our general quality control and safety commitments.

“Quick and extremely easy to use, the Apollo is a great tester and capable of meeting the demands of a busy production line and rigorous testing regime. We really appreciate its portability and capacity to integrate testing swiftly and seamlessly with asset identification and record keeping. This enables us to undertake our responsibilities efficiently and contribute effectively to the overall running of the factory. It ultimately provides peace-of-mind, knowing that we are meeting our compliance requirements.”

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