Infrared Electrical Thermography

An infrared photo shows up the hot spots in this electrical distribution board.

An Infrared Thermography scan, also known as a Thermal Scan, saves companies and factories downtime by predicting electrical breakdowns by identifying fire hazards in electrical installations.

When Electrical components are under stress or start to go faulty they give off heat. It is this heat signature that is picked up by the scan to identify components that are about to fail. This is why Thermal Scans are often referred to as “ Predictive Fault Finding.”

Following is an overview of this service and how it can save you money by preventing production down time and losses due to electrical fires.

What is infrared electrical thermography?

Thermography is the use of an Infrared Camera to determine different heat signatures of electrical components within an installation. The technique has many different applications but is extremely useful in identifying stressed , overloaded or failing electrical components and cables.

Benefits of a survey.

The main feature of an infrared thermography survey of an electrical installation is that it identifies stressed components of the installation by its heat signature. The benefit of this predictive maintenance is the identification of:

  • Hot spots such as loose connections and bad contacts.
  • Under-rated cables overheating under existing demand.
  • Unbalanced loads.
  • Stressed earth leakage units, circuit breakers, contactors and other electrical components.

Benefits to client.

An infrared electrical thermography survey can result in significant financial savings for the client by:

  • Fast, Efficient and accurate.
  • No interruption to work place or production during scan as scan performed under normal working
  • Reducing the risk of an electrical fire.
  • Reducing the risk of an unplanned electrical outage.
  • Identifying priorities for planned maintenance, resulting in your spend going where it is needed most.

What does a report look like?

Here is a sample page of an infrared thermography report we produce. In it we see the infrared photograph indicating the hot spots, and alongside it a photo with markers indicating the problem areas.

Get the right person for the job.

Alan Swartz is an experienced electrician and qualified wireman with 15 years experience in the field of thermography. This ensures that not only is he competent in taking the required photographs and analysing them, he is also familiar with the electrical components of an electrical installation, ensuring improved identification of potential problems and recommending the appropriate solutions.

The advantages of using qualified people for the job is two fold:

  • Faults are correctly identified.
  • The faults are not misdiagnosed resulting in unnecessary repairs.

More about infrared thermography surveys of electrical installations.

Infrared Scanning of electrical installations falls under the category of Predictive Maintenance Fault Finding. The value is that we are now able to predict an electrical fault before the component fails completely.

We are able to achieve this due to the heat build up of any electrical component under stress and predict that it will fail while it is still operational and appears normal to the naked eye or any other test equipment. The heat signature is identified with the use of an Infrared camera. The pictures are then analysed and put into an easy-to-follow report so that they can be rectified before a breakdown occurs, preventing loss of production due to unplanned down time.

Unexpected breakdowns in electrical supply can be very inconvenient and costly. Infrared electrical thermography is a useful tool that can identify stressed components of your electrical installation before they break down or cause a fire. This gives you the opportunity to solve the problem as part of planned maintenance before it causes a serious problem.

Another result of failed or stressed electrical components is the risk of fire; in fact the risk is more real than commonly realise. It is in this vein that insurance companies are increasingly calling for infrared electrical thermography surveys as a valuable risk assessment aid.

In the past this service was only available to very large companies and mining houses due to the cost factor, but as with everything there have been massive advancements in the last few years and Thermo Scanning has now become a very cost effective tool in the small to medium size business world.

Now everybody can enjoy the benefits of predictive fault finding.