Electrical IR Basics
Infrared thermography is used to perform P/PM inspections on electrical equipment because excess resistance on electrical apparatus indicates electrical faults such as loose connections, overloaded or imbalanced circuits, faulty breakers, damaged switches, faulty fuses and a wide range of other unwanted electrical conditions. Before an electrical component burns up, it heats up. Thermography is used to see the excess heat (resistance) so that problems can be found and maintenance personnel can act to correct the problem before the component fails, causing damage to the component, safety hazards and/or production downtime.
What Electrical Distribution Equipment Should Be Checked?
- Utility substations, transformers and feed poles
- Main incoming services, plant main knives, capacitor banks, etc
- Main switchboards and disconnects
- Main distribution panels and main disconnects
- Uninterruptible power supplies
- Generator controls and transfer switches
- Main I-Line panels
- Lighting and receptacle panels
- Disconnects and combination starters
- Service disconnects for motors
- Machine control panels
By far, the most popular and widely used application of infrared thermography is electrical switchgear testing. No other commercial application has achieved the level of interest than that of electrical infrared thermography. Daily, the electrical switchgear in thousands of buildings are checked by thermographers all over the country. Electrical Infrared is now an integral part of any facility manager's preventative/predictive maintenance (P/PM) program.
Need an Electrical Survey in Multiple Locations?
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Downtime at Computer Centers is not an option. CompuSCANIR™ thermographers specialize in the infrared inspection of the electrical and mechanical systems that support the continuous operation of these centers. Computer centers are often checked during “maintenance windows” or times designated by management when test are to be performed and maintenance activities can be safely carried out. We realize that this work is not done on a M-F/8AM-5PM schedule. That’s why our thermographers are available 24 hours a day/365 days a year.
Infrared thermography is used to perform P/PM inspections on electrical equipment because excess heat on electrical apparatus indicates electrical faults such as loose connections, overloaded or imbalanced circuits, faulty breakers, damaged switches, faulty fuses and a wide range of other unwanted electrical conditions. Before an electrical component fails, it heats up. Thermography is used to see the excess heat so that maintenance personnel can act to correct the a problem before the component fails and causes damage to the component, safety hazards and/or production downtime. Protect your Computer network with regular IR Surveys.
Computer equipment and related systems that should be inspected
- UPS (Uninterruptible Power Supply) systems
- ATS (Automatic Transfer Switch) systems
- Main Switchgear systems
- Computer and Server Systems
- Generator systems
- Battery systems
- Cooling systems
Why Mechanical Surveys?
Infrared thermography is used to perform P/PM inspections on mechanical equipment because excess heat means excess friction. Before a mechanical component fails, it heats up. Thermography is used to see the excess heat so that maintenance personnel can act to correct the problem before the component fails and causes damage to the component, safety hazards and/or production downtime.
Energy Efficiency and Heat Loss
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Understanding CMU Infrared Imagery
Infrared imagery is often a grayscale picture whose scales (or shades of gray) represent the differences in temperature and emissivity (opposite of reflectivity) of objects in the image. As a general rule, objects in the image that are lighter in color are warmer, and darker objects are cooler. No object in the images is detected via visible light wavelengths (400-700 nanometers) rather, only from infrared wavelengths in the 3000-5000 nanometers or 3-5 micrometers (microns) range. Lights and other relatively hot objects are very evident, but as a result of their heat---not light emissions.
When an image is taken with an infrared camera, it is often recorded onto videotape and digitally saved to an onboard PCMCIA card. The image may be then modified in a number of ways to enhance its value to the end user. In the case of the printout that will be enclosed with this package, the building images will be digitized, saved and converted to TIFF images through the use of FLIR Systems Thermotechnix Thermonitor Pro and Researcher software. The images will then adjusted for color, contrast and brightness before being scaled and placed in a PowerPoint file. The file is then printed on photographic paper by using a photo quality printer. Images are recorded onto a digital videotape via S-Video direct cabling, then recorded onto any format that is desired by the client, for example VHS, 8mm, DVD, mini-DV or CD-ROM.
Infrared Testing Methodology
To find out what is inside a wall, we scan them looking for surface temperature differences. These differences in temperature indicate a difference in mass, since heat energy is gained and released at different rates from objects of different densities. Since we scan the walls with extremely sensitive infrared cameras, we can see the patterns as a ‘picture’ of the different densities. Wall areas that contain grout, insulation or are empty are displayed as a different color (or shade of gray). Since we can “see” all areas of different mass, we can immediately determine if there is a component misplaced, incomplete or missing. When deficiencies are found, we make a matching visual image with a high resolution digital photo camera for reference. The orientation of the building to the Sun, the weather - as much as 3 days prior to the survey, the type of surface, status of the HVAC systems and many other factors make the ‘window’ of uneven heat dissipation different for each building and building component. For this reason, surveying must be done day and night, under varying conditions.
Old-fashioned methods of testing (on-site testing companies, installing Inspection ports, performing destructive testing and X-raying) are generally ineffective and expensive. An experienced buildscanirservices™ infrared thermographer can successfully survey just about any building, given proper thermal transient conditions. Infrared thermography can be used on the job site as an effective way to improve the quality of construction and the accountability of the contractors. This brings benefits to the building owner, general contractor, structural and thermal engineer and to the building industry in general.
Advantages of Building Infrared Testing
- The building owner gets a permanent record of the building, documenting that it is safe, code-compliant and built to the architect’s specifications.
- Confident that what he puts in the specifications will be built and verified, there is no need to ‘over-design’ the building to compensate for inevitable, previously unseen faults. This will save the owner time, money and simplify the construction process.
- General contractors can reduce the costs of inspections, since the building can be verified to specifications at any time during the construction. If faults are discovered, high quality reports can be generated and presented to the responsible party quickly, so that repairs can be carried out in a timely manner.
Research and Consulting Services
The IRresearcher™ division performs applications-specific infrared research such as carbon fiber composite infrared inspections, automotive and aircraft welding inspections, micro-circuitry inspections and sports medicine applications.
IRresearcher™ Consulting services group advises those interested in purchasing infrared systems, but do not have the inclination or engineering background to evaluate which system is the most cost-effective or appropriate for a given application. This group also provides on-site customized training services for those companies who want to set up an IR program or improve their current IR program.
ProcessSCAN™ – ProcessSCAN™ is part of the IRresearcher division. Our expert thermographers help manufacturers solve process-related problems, improve machine efficiency and reduce product returns. Services include:
- Product Monitoring Infrared Analysis
- Process Control Improvements
- On-Line Infrared Systems
- System Feasibility Studies
- Finite Element Analysis
- Machine Vision
- Quality Improvement
Let Us Help You With Your In-House IR Program
One of our services is an on-line store which sells infrared equipment, infrared windows, and training at significant discounts. Visit www.contractir.com to check it out. Couple that with our consulting services and we can help you your in-house program off the ground. Don’t re-invent the wheel, let our experts guide you through the process.