Why Infrared Inspection is Beneficial as a Proactive Maintenance Tool

Why Infrared Inspection is Beneficial as a Proactive Maintenance Tool

Anticipate issues, don’t just react to them!

Waiting for issues to arise and reacting after they happen costs three to nine times more in the long term than understanding and managing the likelihood of failures with a proactive maintenance plan.

Proactive maintenance is a preventive maintenance strategy for ensuring the reliability of machines and equipment. Proactive maintenance work helps to identify defects that could lead to failure and degradation, anticipating problems before they occur.

It focuses on extending the life of machinery as opposed to making repairs when nothing is wrong, accommodating failure as routine or normal, or detecting impending failure conditions followed by remediation.

Proactive maintenance depends on rigorous machine inspection and condition monitoring, but it also has a variety of applications in buildings condition surveillance and equipment maintenance. There are many benefits to a regularly scheduled proactive maintenance strategy for a commercial or production facility, including a reduction in unplanned downtime, the reduction of maintenance of repair costs, improved facility and equipment reliability, and improved production rate.

Importance of Infrared Imaging in Proactive Maintenance

Proactive maintenance addresses the root causes of equipment failure and stops breakdowns caused by underlying equipment conditions. In this approach, it is essential to anticipate and fix hidden failures and inefficiencies before they develop.

Infrared imaging or thermography inspections should be a part of electrical and mechanical maintenance programs as it is one of the most reliable equipment and machinery conditioning methods.

An infrared camera is a device that detects an object’s infrared energy and converts it into data that a thermographer can use to perform temperature analysis and calculations. Every object emits heat and even very cold objects emit infrared radiation. Heat sensed by an infrared camera can be precisely measured in order to monitor thermal differences and heat related problems.

Since it detects even the smallest of temperature anomalies, infrared thermography can detect overheating equipment and provide a report of thermal images associated with the damaged parts without interrupting the production process, which eliminates related shutdown costs.


Benefits of Infrared Inspections as Proactive Electrical and Mechanical Maintenance Tools

Overheating electrical/mechanical components are a sign of impending failure due to increased electrical resistance. Finding them in their early stages allows you to locate defective components before fire or equipment loss happen.

Infrared imaging offers a full image of the situation, allowing inspectors to evaluate the problem by measuring temperatures differences and locating exactly which component is affected. Depending on the type of electrical usage infrared inspections can be performed on electrical distribution, transformers, electrical motors, main switchgear equipment, motor control centres, fuses, bus ducts parts, high value electronics, circuit breakers, panels, and a variety of other electrical and mechanical equipment.

As a proactive maintenance tool for electrical and mechanical components, infrared inspections can help identify and report:

  • Hot spots on electronic equipment
  • Leaks in sealed vessels
  • Faulty insulation in process pipes or other insulated processes
  • Faulty terminations in high power electrical circuits
  • Overloaded circuit breakers in a power panel
  • Electrical switchgear problems
  • Loose electrical connections
  • Hot or firing cylinders
  • Boiler refractory cracks

A regularly scheduled infrared thermography survey can help discover all these failures and diagnose other machinery or electrical equipment defects before they happen, fix them with the appropriate tools and verify that the problem is fixed correctly.

Because they are a non contact, non disruptive technology, infrared inspections offer many benefits as part of a proactive maintenance program such as minimal or no production loss due to unplanned outage, and the reduction of maintenance costs, unexpected failures, repair and overhaul time. The possibility to schedule and reduce downtime for maintenance is another benefit since problems are detected prior to shutdown, allowing you to prioritize emergencies depending on the seriousness of the defect.


Benefits Infrared Inspections in Proactive Roof and Building Maintenance

Infrared imaging also has many applications in roof and building maintenance, as it may help diagnose malfunctioning HVAC (heat, ventilation and air conditioning) systems, moisture and insulation problems that can lead to structural degradation, equipment deterioration or production loss through rust, rot or moisture.

For example, insulation defects lead to significant energy loss and increased energy costs as the heat escapes through ceiling, floors and walls. Black mold may also start to grow due to moisture intrusion, posing both safety and health threats.

Damaged roofs have diverse complications too: ceiling tiles may fall off and water accumulation and leaks may cause wet insulation and lead to higher energy costs and bacteria/mold growth. Water intrusion through the roof causes interior damage and, if not noticed and repaired, results in metal equipment rust or wood rotting.

Infrared roof inspection- Infrascan

An infrared inspection provides a quick identification of problematic areas and identifies sources such as insulation leaks, heating malfunctions and variations in the building’s skin or roofing damage that are not visible to the naked eye. Costs related to roof repairs can be reduced by regularly performing interior and exterior building envelope surveys, and inspections can prevent equipment downtime or production losses in a non destructive and effective way.

Infrared cameras identify and mark the exact location of problematic areas, providing data for later image processing and analysis of issues and inefficiencies sources, including:

  • Leaky pipes
  • Foundation cracks
  • Damaged roofing
  • Missing insulation
  • Moisture intrusion
  • Damaged roofing
  • Air leakage
  • Heat loss
  • Mold
  • Water damage

Emergency repairs are more expensive than planned repairs because of shutdowns during production and functioning time. Whether it’s equipment or building maintenance, a proactive maintenance program saves important costs, leads to extended equipment life and less capital repairs or replacement.

Infrared scans are thus recommended as part of a regular maintenance procedure throughout all industries since no other tool can extract such solid results so quickly and without interrupting the process flow.  With the help of the latest thermal imaging equipment and software, potential problems and sources of defects can be located with the highest degree of precision, and without any sort of damage or interruption of production, which makes infrared imaging a fast and reliable tool for an efficient proactive maintenance program.

So anticipate problems, don’t just react whenever they happen! Infrared inspections help you do just that without downtime or disassembling, saving you thousands of dollars on unplanned repairs and energy related costs.

Book a same day inspection or call our local experts if you have any questions regarding our thermal imaging services.

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