By far the most common use of infrared thermography, is on electrical installations, whereby one can identify “hot” connections. These electrical connections have a higher temperature than normal due to oxidation or other causes. If not treated in time, an electrical failure will happen. Maintenance by this method is classified as preventative maintenance.
• Another useful application is the inspecting of refractory deterioration on furnaces. This is a very effective and quick way of determining refractory deficiencies.
• Mechanical items like bearings can be inspected for deterioration. This is a quick and effective method of checking bearings for wear.
• Effective building isolation is increasingly becoming an issue with limited electrical capacity available in South Africa. This method is fast and effective to “see” areas where buildings loose heat.
• Infrared thermography is being used increasingly in the medical field and veterinary field where it provides a safe and inexpensive way of identifying medical conditions.
• Reduces the time of planned shutdowns.
• Reduces number of unplanned shutdowns.
• Increases AVAILABILITY and RELIABILITY of plant equipment.
• Infrared Inspections lead to early detection of fault conditions
• Infrared Inspections take place under full load, no production interference
• Safe, non-contact, non-invasive inspection.
• Reduce the risk of electrical fires substantially
Possible cost savings
Directly:If a fault is detected, it can be repaired before it fails. Replacing a failed component is more expensive than fixing a hot connection.
Indirectly:If a piece of equipment does fail, the indirect costs involved could be 10 to 1000’s times the cost of a simple repair. Equipment downtime equate into production losses which can sometimes reach astronomical proportions.
Other indirect costs could include:
• Call-outs for maintenance personnel
• Extra labour required to do repairs
• More than 70% of all fires in buildings are caused by electrical faults. Cost due to fire damage could bankrupt companies. Fire could also result in loss of life.
• Catastrophic failures could result in damage to adjacent equipment.
Infrared radiation can be detected over long distances. Many times the distance is only limited by the resolution of the imager. Normal scans or surveys are performed from a few meters away, but greater distances are certainly possible.
Clinics in the USA and Australia are using breast thermography increasingly to detect anomalies in female breasts which can become cancer in later years. The advantage is that the inspection in non-intrusive and relatively cheap to perform, but the biggest advantage is that such an anomaly starts showing years before it actually becomes cancer. Thermal imaging together with mammograms are possible the most effective way of detecting breast cancer early. Search “breast thermography” on the internet for more information.