What Do You Expect from an Infrared Survey?

Executive summary

Infrared thermography is an effective tool to help avoid electrical breakdown claims. Testing equipment for electrical “hot spots” may pinpoint potential problems while there is still time to take preventive action. Virtually any company of any size should have a formal infrared thermography program. But it’s not enough to say you want to have your electrical system surveyed, and then do it. You need a plan that presents not only your end results, but also how you expect to get there.

The full article

What Do You Expect from an Infrared Survey?

Determining Needs and Goals

A formal infrared thermography program includes more than the qualifications of the thermographer. You must determine what you plan to have scanned and how you intend to record these findings and their repairs. Don’t simply leave it to the guidance of the thermographer. First, ask yourself, what are the needs and goals that you would establish? One place to start is to break things down into categories. These can then be refined, but the following are some general examples:

  • Electrical — supply from utility transformers, main distribution panels that can be opened safely, control panels for machines, all circuit breakers greater than 50 amps, motor casings.
  • Mechanical — bearings on line shafts, motors above 25 hp, and all fans.
  • Steam traps.
  • Insulation panels for heat-treat ovens.
  • Boiler insulation and refractory.
  • Sludge build-up in tanks.

Lessons Learned

These are only a sample of what might be tested with infrared thermography. The list could be made extensive by taking an inventory of equipment. A list is helpful in recognizing what was surveyed and what was not because the equipment was not in service. It is seldom that a survey will be conducted when all equipment is subject to conditions applicable to infrared surveys.
Knowing in advance what equipment you want surveyed, what qualifications the thermographer has, how you want findings categorized and the resolution will help you choose a thermographer who has the training, skills and experience that will meet your needs. It also will aid you in determining the benefits of infrared.
Disclaimer statement:

All recommendations are general guidelines and are not intended to be exhaustive or complete, nor are they designed to replace information or instructions from the manufacturer of your equipment. Contact your equipment service representative or manufacturer with specific questions.

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