Spotting and Addressing Potential Process Problems Using Thermal Imagery
Some technologies once used expressly for predictive maintenance (PdM) are actually just as useful for troubleshooting and regular maintenance. This includes vibration, thermal imaging, ultrasound, and a few others.
This article specifically addresses thermal imagers.
With the advances in thermal imaging over the last several years, these tools have transformed from a specialist only device to the perfect tool for process equipment maintenance – from troubleshooting to scheduled maintenance. By using a thermal imager for troubleshooting, the technician can diagnose the root cause more efficiently while also often identifying other potential problems during same inspection, PdM-style.
Use Thermal Imagery For Process Problems
Advances over the last several years have transformed thermal imaging from a tool for the specialist to one that plant personnel can use for regular maintenance and troubleshooting process equipment. A thermal imager enables a technician to diagnose root-cause more efficiently while also often identifying other potential problems during the same inspection.
Unlike regular digital cameras that capture images of visible light reflected by objects, thermal cameras create pictures of heat, essentially measuring infrared energy emitted from objects and then converting the data into corresponding images of temperature. In a “radiometric” imager, each pixel of color on screen represents an individual temperature.
Thermal Opportunities in The Grocery Store Market
Thermal imaging may be the ticket you need to win new or larger contracts with clients who previously delayed repairs until catastrophe struck. With a thermal imager, the evidence is right there, in color, on screen.
Doing the math is easy: Compare the expense of a catastrophic repair to the cost of quick, regular scans by your thermal imager and preventive electro-mechanical repairs, and you should have a convincing argument.
Making Thermal Imaging Part of Your Predictive Maintenance Process
For plant engineers, finding new ways to avert costly failures in their facilities is practically second nature. Particularly when it comes to industrial maintenance, thermography testing in one approach that’s become much more popular over the last five years or so. Used as a condition-monitoring technique, thermal imaging enables users to identify potential areas of equipment failure and limit downtime.
As part of a comprehensive preventive or predictive maintenance program, it’s a good idea to create a regular inspection route that includes scanning systems associated with critical assets – those whose failure would threaten people, property, or product. That way, you’ll have baseline images for comparison, which will help you determine whether or not a hot spot is unusual and require repair as well as verify that repaires are successful.
Planning to do a Thermal Inspection
There are some simple but important things to think about prior to getting into your car to head for your first appointment, or walking across the plant floor to the first asset you need to scan. At first glance, you may see these steps as totally obvious and may think, “How would anyone forgot these common sense actions?” Unfortunately, sometimes it’s the simple things we forget, so these plans are definitely worth reviewing! First tip? Creating a quick check list may save frustration when you start.