Insulation Mats- Your Safety Inspector

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The world is running fast and producing commodities through factories in each and every commercial sector. All the sectors which deal with electricity should have a certain safety procedure and equipment to avoid any hazard.

We read it in newspaper and surveys that injuries and deaths are increasing day by day in sectors which has the electrical equipment. Workers will get electrocuted if not taken necessary precautions while dealing with electrical appliances. Therefore it is the employee’s responsibility to look into the safety guidelines and avoid any electrical hazard.

There are lots of electrical safety gears and equipment available in the market. Some of them are: Insulation mats, Rubber mats, Rubber gloves, Rubber Shoe, Helmet, and Protective goggles. So let’s view in detail about insulation mats.

What are insulation mats?

Insulation mats are designed to use in front of live electrical equipment and are made of special grade of rubber which has excellent insulating properties.  These mats protect us against electrical shocks due to earth faults.

Behind the scenes

The material of rubber is known for its resistant and natural dielectric. This prevents the free flow of electrons and stops the flow of electric current which makes it an ideal insulator. The rubber’s flexibility and cushioning also make it a perfect choice for safety matting.

Other names

Insulation mats are also known by the following names Switchboard matting, Non-conductive matting, Dielectric carpet, Switchboard runner, Safety mat Rubber mat

Limits of insulation mats

Insulation mats can only protect against earth contact through the floor. These mats will not provide any protection against electric shock where the operator is in contact with a large area of metal which has an earth and exposed live conductor. A lethal shock such as this can be avoided by wearing further personal protective equipment such as electrical safety gloves, boots etc.

Placements of insulation mats

Insulation mats are usually placed in locations where there is a risk of an electrical shock.Examples of such locations are as: in front of the switchboard, in front of machine control gear, plant rooms, and lift control rooms

Best practice

The best way to avoid any shock or injury is to use place insulation mats in the above area and wear personal protective equipment such as insulation gloves, boots, safety goggles etc.

Size of insulation mats

The thickness of the mat will depend on the working voltage and preference of specification. The various sizes that are available are given below

Width– The standard width of insulation mats will vary. However, the common available sizes are 1 metre. 1.5 metre width is also available

Length– The standard length of insulation mats are 10 metres. Even though 10 metres is the standard, you can also cut the mats according to your required size.

New market trend of insulation mats

Zero-halogen

In the world of insulation mats, the word about zero-halogen is the one which is most talked about. These type of mat is free from halogens. Halogens such as chlorine, fluorine, bromine and iodine can cause casualties due to fire accident in confined spaces.

REACH

Reach stands for Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restrictions of Chemicals. It is a regulation of the European Union adopted to improve the safety of humans in the environment posed by chemicals. It promotes alternate methods in order to reduce the number of tests on animals.

ROHS2

ROHS2 stands for Restriction of Hazardous Substances. They restrict hazardous substances such as lead, mercury, cadmium, polybrominated diphenyl ethers, hexavalent chromium, polybrominated biphenyls from using in electronic equipment.

Production of insulation mats

The following are the steps in making a high-quality insulation mats

Mixing– All the ingredients are mixed thoroughly after accurately weighed and heated between 95°C and 104°C. The mixed compound is put through a roller to remove air. This produces an unvulcanised sheet 2mm-3mm thicker than the requirement. Curing process takes 3-4 days.

Calendering– The compound is then passed between more rollers to form rolls with correct thickness. This process is called calendaring and this flattens and mixes the compounds. Calendaring ensures steady operation and minimizes shrinkage. The temperature of the roller surface is controlled to +/-1°C. Using a vertical calendar sheeting is produced with thickness control.

Rotocuring– This is the see one part of calendaring and is performed on rotocures. a ribbed pattern or fabric is achieved. The marking od the mat is carried out in this process.

Drying and testing- Before passing through a 2-electrode testing station rolls are air-dried to ensure every running master complies to the specification according to its thickness.

Finishing–  After the above processes, the finishing material is wound into rolls.