Thermography Inspections and How They Can Work for You
Thermal imaging is a powerful tool used to detect problems that typically go unnoticed with sight alone. Problems can create a heat signature or a lack of one, and while we can’t see those heat signatures for ourselves, they show up in the brilliantly colourful landscapes of infrared. It takes a specialist to read these thermal maps and decipher what they’re indicative of, and that’s where infrared inspections come in.
Thermography is applicable to a broad array of fields and situations, and often makes up a part of regularly scheduled inspections and maintenance checks. Any planned maintenance should be plotted out with the help of thermal imaging, as it gives you an idea where maintenance is needed most, what repairs can be scheduled for a later date, and where you can save on costs or fully direct your efforts.
No matter your industry, there’s a way that thermography can help you. Here are some of the inspection types that we can offer you.
Infrared Inspection Types
When your machinery starts to fail, the deterioration and failing parts can create a heat signature that’s indicative of high levels of friction, high electrical resistance, a reduction or total loss of air/fluid cooling, and a poor flow of current in your motor. If left to continue, it can result in further damage to your machinery, so it’s best to address these issues as soon as they arise.
They may be used to generate heat, but solar panels shouldn’t get excessively hot, and that means there’s something wrong. The best part about testing solar panels with infrared technology is that you don’t have to send it in for testing; with thermography equipment, solar panels can be scanned during use to test for faults.
Heat signatures for problems aren’t exclusive to machinery and equipment. That happens in organic and living creatures as well, hence we see things like fevers and inflammation. In the veterinary sciences, particularly with horses, infrared technology is used to assist in the diagnosis and can be used to check for signs of internal bleeding, infection, inflammation, fever, and broken bones. While a heat signature doesn’t directly tell you the cause, it does indicate a problem and can be used in conjunction with other tests to make a diagnosis.
Scanning your electrical equipment is a must to protect yourself against short circuits or worse, electrical fires. These can be caused by what we call ‘hot circuits’, and as the name suggests, these circuits get very hot. This heat can be caused by a resistance to the current passing through them, and this resistance, in turn, happens when your electrical components oxidize over time. Electrical resistance can also be caused by bad connections, overloaded circuits, broken strands in copper wires, unbalanced loads in the system, running an open circuit, and short circuits.
While heat is often a sign of a problem, this is especially true for refractory equipment. Refractory machinery and equipment are designed to contain heat and are often installed around boilers, furnaces, ovens, kilns, smelters, and any kind of unit used to store superheated materials. If that heat were to leak out, it can cause damage to the rest of your machinery and can be catastrophic overall. Refractory equipment is harder to repair and replace than other types of equipment, and can even result in a complete shutdown of your operations until it’s repaired. So refractory inspections allow you to detect these problems and plan for the downtime for maintenance before it takes you by surprise or worse.
Homeowners and architects can also benefit from infrared inspections - homeowners can check a roof for leaks, or check their insulation and underfloor heating for consistency. Architects and construction teams can check their work as they build for quality control, and plumbers can even detect leaks and blockages in pipes.
By enlisting infrared technicians to do inspections for you, you can more accurately tackle repairs, budget around your maintenance, and save costs on anything from repairs to heating. And in the instance of roof repairs, for instance, thermal imaging shows you if there are areas of your roof that are still in good condition. This allows you to do spot repairs rather than a total overhaul of your roof, which is more costly.
If you’re looking to make thermographic inspections a regular part of your maintenance schedule, or need the help to detect and diagnose a problem you might face in your field, feel free to contact us. Our team of technicians is ready to assist with inspections, armed with a range of top tier infrared camera equipment.