Predictive Maintenance using Thermal Imaging

Thermal imaging cameras from FLIR Systems are increasingly used in industrial environments for predictive maintenance inspections. Thermal imaging is the fastest growing predictive maintenance technology on the market today. The main advantage of thermal imaging is that you can locate mechanical and electrical problems very quickly and accurately as you will be able to immediately see which component is causing the problem. This is crucial to allow for swift inspections. In some cases there are also simply too many pieces of equipment or equipment components to test using vibration analysis or other methods. If a production plant features a row of conveyors the fact that you can walk along this row of conveyors and swiftly scan them with the thermal imaging camera is a mayor time-saver. The fact that thermal imaging technology is visible and intuitive makes it very easy for new users to learn. However, the thermal imaging cameras from FLIR are so easy to use that you might think it is just a matter of pointing the camera and pressing the right button. It is very important to know what you’re doing. You need to know, for example, how to accurately correct for emissivity and reflection; otherwise you might draw false conclusions

Electromagnetic radiation is emission of energy from a source, which could be a solid, liquid or gas. This radiation is given off in the form of alternating electric, magnetic waves produced by the acceleration and deceleration of charged electric particles. Although the electromagnetic spectrum is comprised of many different types of electromagnetic radiation there are similarities that must be recognized. As mentioned all electromagnetic radiation is produced by the movement of electric particles. A second point is that all electromagnetic radiation, unhindered by gases, travels at the speed of light. As the intensity of the radiation increases, the wavelength becomes shorter and the frequency becomes higher. On the other hand as the intensity decreases, the wavelength becomes longer and the frequency lower. The main difference between the various classes of electromagnetic radiation is the wavelength and frequency, as well as the way it is produced and the "equipment" used to detect it.

Thermal imaging cameras are also crucial to allow swift inspections. In some cases there are simply too many pieces of equipment or equipment components to test using vibration analysis or other methods. If a production plant features a row of conveyors, the fact that you can walk along this row of conveyors and swiftly scan them with the thermal imaging camera is a major time-saver. The same goes for electrical equipment, if you are inspecting an electrical cabinet with thirty fuses you don’t want to go and check each individual fuse using a spot pyrometer to find out which one is going to fail first. For some types of equipment thermal imaging this really is the only technology you can use. For instance, with refractory linings thermal imaging cameras are the only practical condition-monitoring tool available today. Inspections using thermal imaging technology can accurately determine whether a piece of equipment needs to be replaced or not. This is important information for companies to guarantee the continuity of production without unnecessary equipment replacements, leading to cost savings of thousands of dollars

                  

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