Is Infrared Testing the Best Use of Your Maintenance Dollars?

By May 12, 2016Conduit

CRAC-IR

Find it Early

An unplanned outage of any kind is intolerable – and expensive. Preventive maintenance of electrical equipment plays a key role in minimizing outages, yet this type of maintenance is often overlooked. Without an effective electrical preventive maintenance program, the risk of serious electrical failure increases.

According to IEEE 493-2007 — Recommended Practice for the Design of Reliable Industrial and Commercial Power Systems, electrical equipment deterioration is normal, but left unchecked it can progress and cause a malfunction or electrical failure. Excessive heat is a major contributor to decreased efficiency and life expectancy. Some common causes of hot spots include loose or corroded connections, overloaded conductors, and unbalanced loads. These problems are rarely visible to the naked eye until damage has occurred.

 

Why Infrared?

IR20100716_0163An infrared survey is an inexpensive and effective means of maintaining a reliable electrical distribution system. It can alert you to conditions or concerns that impact equipment life expectancy, downtime, energy consumption, and even insurance premiums.

The infrared principle is simple; electrical problems generate abnormal heat prior to failure. Using an infrared camera, a certified infrared technician can determine if a potential problem exists. Once the technician identifies an electrical problem, he can recommend necessary repairs that your maintenance personnel or an electrical contractor can take care of at a scheduled time with planned and controlled outages.

Since infrared thermography is a non-contact form of electrical testing requiring no equipment shutdowns, it can be conducted during normal working hours. With an assistant electrician to remove and replace electrical equipment covers, a trained infrared technician can scan the equivalent of a typical five-story office building in one day.

 

Hiring a Qualified Infrared Thermographer

IR-TeamWhile infrared cameras are readily available, an inexperienced, untrained operator may find a “hot spot,” misinterpret it as a problem, and initiate costly but unnecessary repairs. A certified, trained technician knows the difference between normal operating conditions and problem areas, and can produce a comprehensive infrared survey report with a complete list of all devices and locations that were scanned. The report should include a detailed maintenance sheet with problem areas clearly identified, infrared pictures of each “hot spot,” a priority status based on temperature rise and function, a description of the problem, and the recommended corrective action.

Contact HP&D today to schedule an infrared scan of your facility.