Thermal scanning of electrical equipment is quickly becoming a common practice in the electrical industry with companies realising the importance of their electrical systems. Thermal scanning has been proven to significantly increase the safety and reliability of electrical systems. Companies are also looking to comply with their building insurance requirements and relevant Australian Standards which has several cost related benefits as well as the peace of mind knowing your installation meets current statutory requirements.

Thermal Scanning & Certification in Australia 1

It is not uncommon for businesses to overlook their compliance requirements when it comes to insurance and the relevant Australian standards. Sometimes their limited knowledge can undermine the integrity of their insurance coverage putting the business in a vulnerable position. This article outlines the importance of ensuring your business is compliant and operating in a safe and effective manner to minimise the risk involved with electrical equipment.

The relevant Australian standards for thermography are AS ISO 18434.1:204 Condition Monitoring & Diagnostics of Machines – Thermography – General Procedures and AS ISO 18436.7:2014 Condition Monitoring & Diagnostics of Machines – Requirements for qualification and assessment of personnel – thermography. These standards require businesses to perform regular thermal scanning on electrical equipment to verify safety and reliability. They also outline the requirements of technician’s requirements with appropriate qualifications and certifications to perform the thermal scanning.

AS ISO 18436.7:2014 Condition Monitoring & Diagnostics of Machines – Requirements for qualification and assessment of personnel – thermography clearly states in its first four words, ‘thermographers shall be qualified. This statement clearly outlines the ‘must have’ requirements for thermographers. However useful a trade electrical qualification can be for performing thermography, it is not considered a thermographer’s qualification to AS ISO 18436.7:2014.

There are three categories the standard lays out for thermographers performing inspections which outlines what they can and cannot do:

Category 1:

  • Apply specific measurement techniques
  • Set up and operate thermal imaging equipment for data collection
  • Perform basic fault detection and severity assessment
  • Perform basic image post-processing
  • Maintain a database of results and trends
  • Verify the calibration of thermal imaging equipment
  • Evaluate and report test results and highest areas of concern

Category 2:

  • Select an appropriate thermography technique and understand its limitations
  • Apply thermography techniques, including test measurement and interpretation of data
  • Specify the appropriate hardware and software
  • Perform advanced fault diagnosis
  • Recommend appropriate corrective actions required
  • Perform advance image post processing
  • Use generally recognized advanced techniques
  • Prepare reports on equipment condition, fault diagnosis, corrective actions and effectiveness of repairs
  • Be aware of alternative or supplementary condition monitoring techniques
  • Provide guidance and supervise category 1 personnel

Many electricians these days believe their trade certificate is certification for thermography. A lot of companies use internal electricians as thermographers without them having any thermography certification which has no validity under the Australian standards. This results in insufficient diagnosis of thermal patterns which can lead to false recommendations for repair. As electrical assets can be quite expensive (especially large ticket items) the wrong recommendation can be very costly to businesses. Eccentricity provides certified thermographers who are also electrical tradesman with over 10+ years industry experience. Our capabilities to make accurate diagnostics of electrical systems are second to none, providing our clients with a fully comprehensive condition assessment of equipment so the right repairs can be made the first time. If your current thermography program does not meet the requirements of the Australian standards mentioned above feel free to contact us to see how we can help.