In recent years, thermal imaging cameras have emerged as one of the most valuable tools to diagnose problems for industrial applications. It can detect abnormalities that we cannot see with our naked eyes, thus helping us identify issues that would otherwise be ignored and we will be able to take the necessary action to fix the problems before costly system errors happen. Many industries all over the world are currently using thermal imaging cameras for various applications.
Thermal cameras accurately detects temperature data and provides maintenance experts with crucial information about the condition of any object or equipment that is being inspected. These inspections can be done with the production process in full operation and most of the time, the use of a thermal imaging camera can help optimize the production process itself.
Here are just a few things thermal imaging cameras can do:
• Identify and locate where the problem is
• Accurately measure temperatures
• Identify what needs to be fixed
• Find faults before serious problems occur
• Save time and money
All cameras use light to develop an image. Traditional cameras use visible light that is light waves ranging in 300-800 nanometers in range. Thermal cameras capture infrared radiation, which is not visible yet omnipresent, to form their images. Thermal cameras have sensors that capture IR wavelengths of up to 14,000 nanometers. A camera’s temperature sensitivity, or thermal resolution, refers to the smallest temperature difference that a thermal camera can discern between two objects. The temperature sensitivity you need depends completely on the job you need it for and on the environment in which you're working. Below, we will discuss some applications of thermal cameras in industrial use.
Thermography is often used in the electrical equipment industry for inspection. Low voltage inspections include checking breaker panels and wall sockets. When electrical components have loose connections, it could cause a resistance to the current that leads to an increase in temperature. If this isn’t identified early, it could cause components to fail, which could result in outages and serious work-related injuries. Also, the efficiency of an electrical circuit tends to decrease before any failures which means that energy will be used to generate heat, leading to unnecessary losses. It is essential to spot the abnormalities in electrical equipment early to prevent these failures from happening and using a thermal camera to regularly check on the temperatures on these electrical circuits would help to prevent that.
Examples of high voltage inspections include switchyards and switch gears.
Power transformers are often checked using thermal imaging cameras, just like the low voltage examples mentioned earlier. Thermal imaging cameras can be used to compare the temperatures of the cooling fins and the high voltage connections. If the comparison shows that unusual differences do occur, corrective action can be taken before any real problems happen. Other high voltage installations that are checked with a thermal imaging camera include circuit breakers and switchers and high-voltage power lines. The potential problem areas and the extent of the problems will be clearly shown in the thermal image so that one can make an accurate decision on how to fix the problem.
Mechanical systems are very important in many industries’ operations. Thermography can collect data and other crucial information that is useful for mechanical equipment monitoring. Examples of the use of thermography in mechanical systems include detecting overheating motors, overheated connections of pumps or checking the sludge level or storage tanks.
Thermal imaging is also great at detecting faults in pipes and insulation. It can be used to check heat exchanges to detect pipes that are blocked. There would not be any need to check each pipe individually since a thermal imaging camera can give an overview of the entire installation.
Leakages from underfloor heating or pipework are quite common occurrences in industrial sites. In this situation, water always follows the path of the least resistance, meaning that where it accumulates is not necessarily the source of the leak. This is where thermal imaging can be used in indoor and outdoor environments by often locating the exact source of the leak. Locating exactly where the source of the leak makes the job of fixing the problem much easier.
A wide range of use for industrial applications
To sum up why we need thermal imaging camera in industrial sites, it keeps the operational sites running continuously, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Using a thermal camera to monitor and maintain the machines, equipment and overall environment, the risk of costly breakdowns strongly reduces, saving everyone involved time and money. If a problem is identified early, the cost of finding a solution would be much lower than finding out about it when the problem gets more serious and expensive to fix.
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