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ANALYSIS


Previous handwritten information can be easily exported in a PDF format using Fischer DataCentre® software.


Having an organised series of directories and subdirectories is good business practice. An example of a directory might be called “Sea Water Ballast Tank” with subdirectories labelled as, application names, devices, images, readings and report templates. SSPC names the surfaces of a steel beam.


HARD COPY VS ELECTRONIC TRANSFER Those inspectors taking readings to meet IMO PSPC and SSPC PA2 may choose to keep all of their records in hardcopy. While this may be necessary in some places, it certainly does not take advantage of technological advances that streamline the evaluation and reporting process. Besides the entry-


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level models, most electronic dry film thickness gauges offer some form of download capability. Common forms are USB, RS-232 and Bluetooth. When


measurements are transferred from the gauge to the Fischer DataCentre® software program developed by Helmut Fischer GmbH, administrative time previously required by these inspections is drastically reduced. Without using these advances, a huge and almost unmanageable paper system is necessary. Since up to tens


of thousands of measurements are required, it is highly likely that multiple


gauges will be used in the inspection process. Identifying each gauge by name and storing this information in a commonly used file folder structure in the Fischer DataCentre® software will organise the process. Furthermore, it will map the type of device and the device’s serial number to the inspection. This is important to the inspector for verification that the gauge has been certified. When the time comes to transfer the readings, results may also be named by the inspector, i.e. lower portside readings. A sub directory for readings is automatically date and time stamped.


30 PCE APRIL-JUNE 2013


This can be used as a practical example of how applications can be named in the FMP® series of instruments to eliminate confusion as to where the readings were taken. SSPC details 12 different surfaces in a beam. Each of these surfaces is identified on the display of the instrument. Measurements clearly correspond with the surface area names, so if re-work is required, the specific surface can be addressed. Storing the application names in the subdirectory of the inspection folder enables the user to transfer the names to multiple units. Today, inspectors can also have visual guidance of the measurement sequence. Digital images of the project can be loaded onto the instrument and viewed on the display of the gauge while measurements are being taken. This further reduces the ambiguity of where the exact measurements have been taken.


TRANSFERRING TO REPORT TEMPLATES Each shipyard, third-party inspector, owner and/ or paint manufacturer is likely to have their own report format. Each logo will be different. Likewise, some will want the readings populated vertically, while others will prefer the values populated in horizontal form. Having the flexibility to duplicate a specific format within a software platform is therefore beneficial. This can be accomplished easily with Fischer’s DataCentre® by simply copying the form from a Word document and pasting it into the report template folder of the subdirectory. Multiple report formats can be saved in a library. A third-party inspector using the same coating thickness gauge can put the results in multiple report templates at the press of a button to satisfy the facility’s, ship owner’s or paint manufacturer’s reporting requirements. Using the SSPC-PA2 example, a report template was created that allows for the exact sequence of readings to be uploaded. With the press of a button, the results from the instrument will be transferred directly into the appropriate field. An advanced instrument such as the Dualscope® FMP100® will also prompt the user to fill in necessary information pertaining to the inspection while the inspector is on the job site. For instance, the coating name and colour being used can be added and selected from a pull-down menu on the screen of the FMP100®. Notes can also be added to the gauge, eliminating the need for pad and pencil. Fischer DataCentre® software is flexible in that data can be saved in a variety of formats. For instance, the readings, specification limit display, final results (all pertaining statistical data), histogram, probability chart and Factory Diagnosis Diagram® (FDD®) can be exported as PDF files. The Factory Diagnosis Diagram® is used for the graphical


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