Why the right tools matter for maintaining a U.S. oil refinery

Thermal imaging

Maintenance Manager Brian Foster knows what it takes to maintain a motor. He has worked for Madsen Electric at U.S. Oil & Refining Co. in Tacoma, Washington, for 16 years—six of those years with him at the helm of the team.

Madsen Electrical’s 10 employees focus on the electrical systems in all maintenance, new construction, and remodels at the oil refinery. They regularly use infrared guns, thermal image cameras, data loggers, multimeters, and insulation testers.

When inspecting motors, Foster employs an array of Fluke tools including: the 1587 FC Insulation Multimeter, the 810 Vibration Tester, and the Ti400 Infrared Camera. These all help diagnose when a motor needs to be changed out.

“Having those tools has put us to work in more than just the electrical way, which makes it nice for us,” Foster said. “We’re more needed now because of the tools we carry that Fluke provides for us.”

The 1587 FC saved Foster’s team a lot of time. Last year, their plant became a TWIC (Transportation Worker Identification Credential) facility. This security precaution is for workers who need frequent access to United States maritime facilities. As there is only one gate for entry and exiting at U.S. Oil & Refining Co., Foster says having a two-in-one tool saves both time and money.

With the light-weight 1587 FC his team doesn’t need to make as many trips to their trailer or trucks to retrieve additional tools, which is especially handy when they are working 150 feet up in a tower.