AN international speciality chemicals group is dramatically improving the efficiency of its hazardous area inspections with pioneering data capture technology developed by Terrington Data Management.

Warwick Chemicals has reduced contractor hours input for its inspections by 40 per cent by using York-based Terrington's revolutionary IndEx software package, a special-adaptation of its data capture system Transform, designed to enhance efficiency of ATEX 137 electrical inspections.

IndEx is an innovative, handheld, secure and scalable system which creates paperless inspections through a complete set of one-touch data entry forms for all explosion protection types, schedules, audit and reporting functions.

US-owned Warwick Chemicals, which has its UK and group headquarters in Holywell, Flintshire, UK, previously used paper-based records in which inspectors completed asset inspection forms for its 5,000 assets at nine different plants ranging from electric motors to instrument transmitters and valves.

This was done under guidance from hazardous area facilitator Steve Williams and relied upon inspectors' familiarity with each site and ability to find the assets. Valuable time was lost when new inspectors visited sites.

Steve Williams extracted inspection details from completed forms, filed documentation as evidence for the health and safety executive and so the history of each asset could be tracked.

He says: "Weaknesses in the paper-based system became apparent when we populated IndEx with our asset inventory. Details of manufacturers, model numbers, exact locations and certification details were either inaccurate or not properly recorded. It was easy to miss asset inspections as a result."

By designing the asset detail header on its IndEx forms to be the same for each piece of equipment, Warwick Chemicals has now created an accurate, easy-to-access record of every asset.

"Individual inspectors' descriptions of equipment, which were sometimes confusing, have been eliminated" says Steve Williams. "We are now also able, through IndEx, to tell inspectors the precise location of each asset. This also significantly contributes to time and cost savings.

"After inspections, details are entered directly into IndEx. This eradicates office administration of paper records and saves considerably more time. The inspectors like the IndEx system which has eliminated tedious paperwork from their task. As a result, since switching to IndEx, the number of daily inspections has risen from between only 7 to 12 to between 15 and 20."

Terrington managing director, Mark Williams, says: "IndEx is faster, more cost effective and far more accurate than paper-based records, improving efficiency and reducing costs.

"Companies are using IndEx because, if an incident occurs, they have total confidence in the system to provide instant detailed records of their inspection and prevention measures which could prove crucial in an emergency."