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Thermal Imagers Play Role in Preventive Maintenance Programs

By Michael Newbury    Power & Communication   Article Use Policy

Increasingly, technicians are incorporating thermal-imaging cameras into preventive and predictive maintenance programs to help detect excess heat in electrical components, such as motors. This non-invasive technique can detect loose connections, corroded elements, short circuits, overloaded circuits, and other dangerous faults.

A huge advantage to this application of thermal-imaging technology is technicians can perform testing while the system is under a full load with no impact on the facility or its operations. In the past, technicians had to schedule power-system shutdowns to physically check equipment connections for damage or wear.

Thermal-imaging technology now allows them to conduct inspections, such as busway-joint analysis, at a safe distance from the equipment. They also can analyze the gathered data in a facility's office or at a remote location, away from potentially dangerous situations.

Since nearly every electrical component heats up before it fails, infrared inspection as a diagnostic method can provide a cost-effective means of identifying potential problems in electrical systems before damage occurs and safety hazards arise.

If technicians find potential problems early enough, they can take steps to resolve the problems during a scheduled outage, eliminating unplanned productivity downtime.

posted on 3/3/2010