Thermal imaging has quickly become a common practice in electrical maintenance. When performed correctly and in conjunction with other electrical testing methods, an accurate analysis of the condition of electrical equipment can be made.
As humans, we have an extremely limited visible spectrum. Electromagnetic radiation in the form of wavelengths present in our reality far outreaches our capacity to perceive it. Thermal imaging cameras extend this visible spectrum into the infrared spectrum of electromagnetic radiation, producing an image on the screen of the camera that we can perceive. This technology allows us insight into the heating characteristics of electrical equipment. By analysing the heat signatures present, we begin to get a grasp of how efficiently an electrical system is functioning. When utilised in conjunction with live electrical testing we can pinpoint very particular functioning errors of equipment, which is extremely beneficial for the smooth operation of plant and equipment.
The benefits of thermography far outweigh the potential costs of replacing large electrical assets due to poor maintenance practices. Some benefits include:
- Early detection of electrical faults
- Trending of electrical faults as they progress from minor to severe
- Accurate fault detection resulting in the correct action of repair
- Photographic evidence which provides a visual representation for reference
- No interruption of supply or to business operations
- Reduced risk of electrical fires
- Assists with insurance compliance requirements
- Peace of mind – knowing your installation is safe and reliable
Thermography can also detect a large variety of electrical faults including:
- High resistance terminations due to loose connections
- Excessive loading of electrical accessories and cabling
- Faulty internal contacts on small & large switchgear
- Excessive current and voltage harmonic distortions
- Excess heating on power transformers
When utilised effectively, thermography can save businesses thousands of dollars on repairs and not to mention the huge production losses caused by equipment failure. It is vital to obtain a thermography technician who has been trained appropriately. Many electricians perform thermography while not fully understanding or being able to analyse the data that is presented which leads to misdiagnosis of faults. Instead of being able to pinpoint the exact reason to why the piece of equipment is not functioning efficiently, they generally present insufficient evidence in their report to justify what they recommend for repair. For example: Some thermographers understand there is excess heat present when there should not be, however failed to recognise the nature of the fault and recommend replacement of the equipment. If this is a large piece of equipment it can be very costly and unnecessary.
At Eccentricity, our technicians have been trained to the highest standard in thermography and can grasp simple and complex problems resulting in accurate diagnosis and cost-effective solutions for businesses of all sizes. If you think your business can benefit from using thermography, give us a call to see how we can help.