Proving the Business Case for the Internet of Things

State Grid opts for RealWear wearable for HV workers

Steve Rogerson
February 19, 2019



China’s State Grid, the world’s largest utility, is boosting worker safety compliance and productivity for high-voltage live-line maintenance using an Android head-mounted hands-free wearable computer from Vancouver-based RealWear.
 
State Grid said it chose the HMT-1wearable over AR smart glasses or other headsets because of its purpose-built, safety-conscious form factor, including a 100% hands-free user experience.
 
“For decades, knowledge transfer via heads-up display systems has increased situational awareness and saved lives in the military,” said Andy Lowery, CEO of RealWear. “RealWear brings those increases in safety and situational awareness to industry. This is why the HMT-1 is the preferred wearable choice for hazardous environments like the utility sector. Having the support of your team right there with you when handling dangerous procedures can help mitigate accidents while speeding maintenance procedures. We’re proud to see the HMT-1 help keep the lights on safely for 1.1 billion energy consumers.”
 
State Grid completed a pilot in Shanghai. The goal, with 200 HMT-1 computers deployed in the field, was to provide real-time remote assistance safely to workers for live-line maintenance without the use of workers' hands. Hands-free computing is critical to workers as insulated gloves cannot operate touch screens and will occupy hands required for the work.
 
At a minimum, the work procedure is a three-person operation. There are two workers in the bucket of the crane, the second worker holding tightly onto an insulated rope tied to the first worker working with his or her gloved hands, the third worker on the ground in a special insulated cabin watching the procedure on a mobile device. There could even be a fourth worker or more viewing remotely via laptop as though through the eyes of the first worker.
 
The HMT-1 computer has a high-resolution video camera that the worker operates by voice, even in extremely loud environments due to its noise-cancelling technology.
 
RealWear, through a certified third-party testing agency, previously performed arc-flash testing of the HMT-1 to determine suitability for electrical generation, transmission, construction and maintenance industries. The agency tested the HMT-1 in its lab, following the ASTM F2621-12, the standard practice for determining response characteristics and design integrity of arc-rated finished products in an electric arc exposure.
 
The testing system standard is used in more than 140 countries and involves exposing the HMT-1 to an open air arc at 8kA, with a varied duration to attain a target energy exposure level of 20-25cal/cm². That target level is a severe event that an electrical worker could be exposed to during routine work in the field.
 
RealWear is a knowledge transfer company providing in-situ information and in-the-field training with software and hardware to help people improve safety and increase productivity at work.
 
The hands-free monocular HMT-1 is purpose-built for connected worker programmes in the industrial enterprise, safely controlled with voice, even in noisy environments. With a growing number of hands-free partners, enterprise customers gain instant knowledge with remote mentor, document navigation, industrial IoT visualisation and digital workflows.