Identifying and rectifying equipment issues before they become problems are a critical part of averting loss and maintaining uninterrupted service. Routine inspections and preventive maintenance can reduce failures, but they cannot reliably identify trouble spots.
More than meets the eye
An infrared survey can help keep small issues from becoming disasters. Repairing a loose connection easily found with a thermograph, It is low cost services. If undetected, that same connection could result in a fire. That might mean injury, loss of life or damage that makes the whole building unfit for occupancy and shuts your business down.
Thermograph is a wise investment. Industry sources show that the monetary savings they produce can be 20 times as much as the initial cost of the survey. This does not include the potential losses due to damage associated with fire.
How infrared thermograph works
All electrical and mechanical equipment radiates heat. Infrared cameras that are sensitive to this thermal radiation detect and measure the temperature differences between surfaces. The cameras then convert the information and display it as an image visible to the human eye, allowing us to “see” a heat signature.
Abnormal or unexpected thermal patterns typically indicate a problem with the equipment, including conditions such as:
- Loose electrical connections
- Overloaded circuits or phases
- Deteriorated or damaged insulation
- Three phase imbalance
These and other issues show up as hot spots that a trained professional can interpret to determine the likely cause and potential remedy.
Overheated transformer bushing
This transformer experienced an internal problem that manifested itself as an overheated bushing. Within 24 hours, it was removed from service and the back-up unit was installed. This averted potential spoilage of millions of dollars in agricultural products.
If a fuse shows up hot on a thermal scan, it may be at or near its current capacity. However, not all problems are hot. A blown fuse, for example, would produce a cooler than normal temperature.
Connection and Wiring
Look for connections that have higher temperatures than other similar connections under similar loads. That could indicate a loose, over tightened or corroded connection with increased resistance.
Motor Control Center (MCC) and Feeder
To evaluate an MCC and Feeder under load, open up each compartment and compare the relative temperatures of key components: bus bars, controllers, starters, contactors, relays, breakers, disconnects and feeders. Incorporate the guidelines above for inspecting connections and identifying phase imbalance.