Thursday, September 26, 2013

Proactive Maintenance

Buildings and business operations rely on critical equipment to function. While this may differ between industry sectors and business operations, for instance within manufacturing where machinery is mission critical or within a high-rise office park where air conditioning is vital, the fact remains that without this equipment, the business would be unable to function.
Maintaining this equipment then is a matter of some importance, and a proactive building maintenance strategy cannot only help to manage expenses by prolonging the lifecycle of equipment, but can also reduce the likelihood of this equipment failing without warning, causing loss of productivity and potentially causing disruption, depending on the nature of the machinery.
However, intrusive equipment maintenance may not be necessary, as it can cause problems of its own, including loose connections, shortened equipment life and actually introducing points of failure where they may not have existed before. Infrared testing is one method of proactive maintenance that circumvents this issue, since it is non-invasive and can help to identify if there are any problems with equipment without physically examining it.
This method can be used on any equipment that generates a heat profile when in operation, including the main electrical infrastructure, critical electrical equipment, transformers, switchgear, transmission lines, distribution boards, motors, compressors, boilers, air conditioning systems, lighting and other electronic devices. Using infrared testing, it is possible to run diagnostics and identify points of failure through variations in temperature profiles without physically touching the equipment.
Infrared advantages
This has several advantages. Testing can be conducted in real-time at peak operational times, without the need to switch equipment off and disconnect it, enabling inspectors to verify and monitor operational aspects on equipment. The infrared testing also provides a visual overview of the status of the equipment. Being highly sensitive, it can pick up even the smallest anomalies which may indicate points of failure. These can then be checked against benchmark thermal profiles for particular equipment to determine if action needs to be taken.
This method can be used effectively on equipment that is dangerous to get physically close to, such as high voltage equipment. It allows diagnostics to be conducted on a wider variety of machinery. It also enables remote inspections on critical equipment and equipment that is difficult to access, since an infrared tester can be installed on the machines themselves for constant monitoring.
Infrared and other non-invasive techniques are more cost and time effective than traditional maintenance methods and enable proactive programming to be developed based on the data obtained from monitoring equipment. This can then help to identify future points of failure, improve the longevity of equipment, and create a managed environment which is far more effective in the long term than a reactive approach.
However, proactive maintenance should always be combined with a tailored maintenance strategy that is specific to the needs of an individual building or the business as a whole, linked in with the financial performance and strategy of the organisation. There is no ‘one size fits all’ approach when it comes to building maintenance, and this strategy should balance the risk associated with failing equipment with the cost associated with maintenance.
The correct strategy
Some organisations require constantly running equipment, whereas others can withstand a certain amount of downtime, which should be considered in the maintenance strategy. In some instances, running equipment to failure may be the most cost effective option, so this must also be taken into account, along with legislated scheduled maintenance on certain equipment such as fire prevention systems, elevators and escalators, vessels under pressure and load equipment. These must be maintained at specified intervals for insurance, warranty and legal purposes.
When it comes to developing a maintenance strategy, it is useful to work with a specialised outsource provider who can help organisations to determine how to maintain equipment and drive this. Each client and environment is unique, so the approach should be tailored based on a basic strategy outlined which can then be refined by the service provider to deliver the best solution for an individual environment.
Proactive monitoring and maintenance can be a complex and expensive process to bring in-house, due to the cost of labour and equipment, the specialised skills needed and the part time nature of this type of job. Outsourcing this process to an experienced service provider will not only ensure that organisations can leverage economies of scale and access a cost effective service. It will also provide assurance that the provider will have the most up to date knowledge of what points of failure to look for across different equipment, as well as the latest information, equipment and technology to provide the best levels of service.
Maintenance of buildings and the variety of equipment they contain is a vital part of running any successful business. By defining the maintenance strategy correctly and adopting the right mix of proactive and reactive maintenance, organisations can save money, prolong the life of equipment, managing both operational and reputational risk through an intelligent process that matches the finances, needs and strategy of the business as a whole.

Saturday, September 7, 2013

What is the Registry

What is the Registry?

The Registry is a database used to store settings and options for the 32 bit versions of Microsoft Windows including Windows 95, 98, NT/2000, Windows ME, Windows XP, Windows Vista and Windows 7 operating systems. It contains information and settings for all the hardware, software, users, and preferences of the PC. Whenever a user makes changes to a Control Panel settings, or File Associations, System Policies, or installed software, the changes are reflected and stored in the Registry.

However, just like every other part of your computer, your registry needs occasional cleaning and reorganization. Using a top-rated registry cleaner will help you clean your computer registry painlessly.

Friday, September 6, 2013

Linux VS. Windows DVR

There are two different types of surveillance DVRs – those that run on a Windows operating system, and those that run on a Linux operating system.  Years ago, the Linux DVRs were more reliable due to weaknesses in the Microsoft ME operating system.  However, due to the stability of Windows XP, both types of products are now equally as reliable when it comes to the core operating system.  However, due to large inadequacies that exists in the hardware construction and DVR software design of Linux type DVRs, Windows DVRs have become the clear choice for most surveillance applications.
So…. what exactly is a “stand-alone? surveillance DVR?  Frankly, we don’t know who coined the term.  However, we do know that it is highly misused and misunderstood.  The fact of the matter is that both Windows and Linux style DVRs are similar in hardware design.  Both style DVRs require a main board (motherboard), processor, RAM, a graphics card, video processing chip, network adapter, and storage hard drive.  However, a main, and very critical, difference is that most all Linux DVRs put all required hardware on a single board.  This creates a situation whereby once a single component on the main board fails, that the product is commonly rendered useless.  And since the main selling point of Linux DVRs is their low price-point, they are very commonly constructed as economically as possible typically using below-par unskilled labor and manufacturing techniques.
Unlike Linux style DVRs, Windows DVRs are almost always constructed of mainstream hardware components.  These components are most always of higher quality than those found in Linux DVRs.  Perhaps even more importantly, they are also readily available from most any computer or consumer electronics store.  Therefore, if a hardware failure is recognized in a Windows DVR, it should be relatively easy to quickly find an inexpensive replacement part to repair the problem.  The only exception would be the actual multi-capture PCI card.
Hardware Bottom Line… Windows DVRs typically utilize higher quality hardware components that are readily available in the event of failure.  In the event of component failure in a Linux style DVR, the entire unit typically has to be sent back to either mainland China, Taiwan, or South Korea for repair (if still under warranty).
Software design, reliability, usability, and overall practicality differences between Windows DVRs and Linux DVRs are also greatly different.  Although there are many grades of surveillance software that drives Windows-based DVRs, overall, even moderately well designed Windows DVR software will almost always out perform that found in Linux-based DVRs.  Simply, it’s a matter or usability as most all Linux DVRs operate off of deep menu-driven controls rather than being point & clickable with a PC mouse.  Although low level controls like start, stop, play, etc can typically be easily controlled via the front panel on a Linux DVR, other important functions like camera set-up, record scheduling, motion detection control, video searching, and so on are typically controlled via difficult to use menus.  Even worse, many features like advanced motion detection zoning and automatic user notification via phone, fax, or beeper when motion is detected are not even available on most all Linux DVRs.  Perhaps even of greater concern is that most Linux DVRs use open source surveillance software that is not properly tested for commercial surveillance applications.
Software Bottom Line… Windows-based DVRs are easier to use and offer greater features than Linux style DVRs. 
So, when is a Linux style DVR a better choice?  Given that the hardware is typically manufactured on a single board and the Linux operating system being free of charge, Linux DVRs do typically cost considerably less than Windows DVRs.  Provided that cost is a greater issue than system reliability, ease of use, and features, Linux DVRs are a very viable option.  Although Linux DVRs have their shortcomings when compared to Windows DVRs, the fact remains that they are typically by far a better and more viable option than any Analog CCTV system (time lapse vcr, multiplexer, etc).