Electrical & Mechanical Thermography

The Benefits of Thermal Imaging for Electrical, Mechanical & Industrial Applications

Thermal imaging cameras are powerful tools for industrial applications, providing a non-invasive method of monitoring and diagnosing the condition of electrical and mechanical installations and components. With a thermal camera it is possible to quickly and accurately scan an entire surface and instantly gain a visual representation of the thermal condition and temperature distribution.

Why use a Thermal Imaging Camera?

Thermal cameras offer non-contact inspections that are extremely safe, reducing the need for predictive maintenance teams to put themselves in harm’s way when performing an inspection. Other technologies available that allow PDM professionals to perform non-contact temperature measurements include infrared thermometers.

Motor Bearing Thermal Image Electrical Thermal Image
Motor Bearing Electrical Panel

IR thermometers are reliable and useful instruments for single spot temperature readings; however for scanning large areas or components these tools can often miss critical faults. Even the lowest resolution FLIR i3 Thermal Imaging Camera offers 60 x 60 pixel resolution, making it capable of offering 3,600 temperature measurement spots i.e. the equivalent of using 3,600 IR thermometers at the same time. Top of the range thermal cameras can offer 640 x 480 pixels, equivalent to 307,200 measurement spots.

Using an infrared camera to perform predictive maintenance within electrical and mechanical machinery allows hazardous and costly faults to be identified before they become more serious and expensive to repair. The sooner these anomalies are detected, the cheaper they are to correct and the chance of unexpected downtime is greatly reduced.

Thermal Imaging for Inspection of Electrical Systems

One of the major advantages of thermal imaging is the ability to perform surveys while electrical systems are under load, as such infrared cameras are commonly used by electrical contractors for thermal inspections of electrical circuits and components in both high and low voltage installations.

Over time the resistance of electrical connections will increase due to corrosion and poor connections for example. The corresponding rise in temperature can cause these components to fail. Thermal cameras allow faults such as these to be located at an early stage, before costly energy losses or hazardous situations arise.

IR cameras are also a valuable predictive maintenance tool on low voltage domestic installations, allowing electricians to check electrical cabinets and circuits for potentially dangerous hot spots, loose connections and load imbalances.

Thermal Imaging For Industrial Applications

  • Electric Panel Faults
  • Hot Spots
  • Load Imbalances
  • Oxidation of HV switches
  • Overheated and loose connections
  • Insulator defects
  • High resistance connections
  • Corroded and loose connections
  • Internal fuse damage
  • Circuit breaker faults
T640 Thermal Image

Thermal Inspection for Mechanical Applications

Mechanical systems will heat up if there is a misalignment at some point in the system or when components become worn and less efficient. The temperature of faulty equipment will increase rapidly so by periodically comparing thermal data and infrared images with those taken when the machinery is operating correctly you can detect any potential failures.

Mechanical Faults That a Thermal Camera Can Detect

  • Brush contact wear and armature shorts in motors
  • Lubrication issues
  • Misalignments
  • Overheated motors and bearings
  • Suspect rollers
  • Overloaded pumps
  • Leakage in pumps, pipes & valves
  • Pipe blockage
  • Insulation breakdowns
Defective Rollers Thermal Image

Infrared Cameras for Utilities Companies

Thermography has become a vital part of the predictive maintenance process within utilities companies worldwide and has proven to be an extremely effective cost saving investment. A utility company relies on the use of a thermal imaging camera to avoid costly failures in transmission, power generation and distribution. By using an IR camera to accurately produce a thermal overview of an installation, PDM professionals are able to proactively repair and replace equipment before a costly fault occurs.

Examples of Thermal Camera Applications

FLIR T250 Thermal Imaging Camera Berlin Water Company use Thermography to quickly find faults to maximise effectiveness of their maintenance crew.

FLIR T250 Thermal Imaging Camera Coservices use Thermal Cameras in industrial environments for predictive maintenance.

FLIR T250 Thermal Imaging Camera Eaton Group save $250,000 a year by using Thermal Imaging Cameras to spot faults early.

FLIR T250 Thermal Imaging Camera E.ON Bayern detect maintenance issues before failures using Infrared Cameras.

FLIR T250 Thermal Imaging Camera INTEL use Thermal Cameras to predict electrical faults on power supply systems.