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Maximizing Payback on Infrared Imaging Purchase

By Dan Hounsell, Editor - August 2014 - Energy Efficiency


The most important question for managers is whether investing in a piece of technology pays tangible dividends for the department and the organization. In many cases, infrared technology has delivered more than managers initially hoped in terms of both applications and benefits.

"I thought by purchasing the one unit, it would be it would be tough to get the volume of jobs to get the technicians to use it," Arnold says. "But word travels fast. It's kind of a fun device to use, and it's pretty neat the kind of information you can pull off the device and how it's shown on the imager."

The savings in many cases have been large and from a variety of applications.

"I can be searching for an underground steam leak one day and then loose connections inside of a transformer the next," Thomas says. "We pinpointed some of the major steam leaks going across major thoroughfares to within 2 feet of where we have to dig. That's a savings in labor and searching around with a backhoe.

"As far as electrical equipment, just in the past month, we've spotted two loose electrical connections on some of our distribution equipment, which resulted in a two-hour preventative maintenance shutdown to tighten the bolts. If that had gone undetected and become loose just a little bit more, we're talking about a fault inside of a $50,000 piece of equipment that could have caused extended outages."

Turner emphasizes the importance of overcoming any hesitation technicians might have about embracing infrared imaging as another tool of the trade.

"The lesson I would point to — it's true of any kind of technology — is don't be afraid to exercise it," he says. "It's just a tool — a sophisticated tool — so don't be afraid to pick it up and use it, even if you don't have a trainer standing by. Then continue to develop new uses for the tool to maximize its value to your organization."





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