What is Thermal Imaging ?
Thermal imaging is a testing method which does not require penetration or destruction of the equipment being examined. This is referred to as non-destructive and non-contact testing. It is the study of infrared radiation emitted from a surface.
Figure 1: switchboard thermogram and control image
Why is it necessary to engage a qualified electrician with training in thermographics?
Only Licensed Electricians hold qualifications which meet the Australian standards to allow full testing of all electrical equipment and have the knowledge and understanding of electrical components. In conjunction with this, training in the understanding of thermographic principals, diagnostics and reports is vital. Whatalec has a number of trained Thermographers who are certified to ISO9712/AS3998.
What can a thermographic survey achieve?
Safety, security and savings.
Early detection of faults can –
- Reduce costly equipment damage;
- Limit downtime/production loss from equipment failures;
- Allow for planned downtime to ensure equipment is operational during peak periods;
- Extend the life of equipment and reduce capital costs;
- Enhance equipment operation and provide savings through improved energy consumption;
- Limit the potential for fire damage to property;
- Assist in employee, public and property safety.
When is an inspection undertaken ?
Thermographic inspections can be undertaken at any time and are usually arranged at the convenience of the client. In electrical inspections equipment is tested LIVE and must be under a minimum of 75% of its full load with all parts exposed. This test is governed by the Electrical Codes of Practice on Safety and the AS/NZS 3000 Regulations.
When is it used and what can it detect ?
Prevention and diagnosis.
It is used as a part of an effective maintenance programme to detect latent defects before they pose significant risks or, in general maintenance to speed diagnosis and repair of a defect once it has manifested. Industries utilising this technology include electrical, mechanical, building, plumbing and air conditioning.