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Thermal Imaging

Infrared Scanning ServicesNPM Services offers infrared scanning services across a wide range of industries. Thermal Imaging is a valuable tool in the detection of problem areas within both electrical and mechanical systems. Our technicians use FLIR thermal imaging cameras and have conducted well over a thousand infrared scans and in the process have saved clients significant sums, by identifying problem areas before they result in lost production or damage to equipment.

Infrared Scanning can be used to identify problem areas in fuses, disconnects, plant bus, transformer bushings, oil level problems, motor starters, switchgear, cables, bearings, loose connections, circuit breakers, capacitor banks, furnace heat loss, and many other areas.

What is Thermal Imaging or Infrared Thermography?

Infrared Thermography ServicesAn infrared camera processes infrared light waves, unlike our eyes, and produces a thermal (heat) image of an object. For all objects which emit a heat signature that is measurable, we can use an infrared camera to capture its thermal image.

What are the benefits of Infrared Thermography?

Thermographic images of electrical systems can detect abnormally hot electrical connections or components. In mechanical systems, excessive friction from lubrication problems or late stage component failure can be detected. Infrared saves money by avoiding any business downtime and assuring efficiency in operations. An energy audit can help detect heat losses and air leakage in building envelopes. Through use of the thermal image, comparisons can be made to later inspections or faults can be prioritized for managing lean maintenance budgets. Infrared also gives you the reporting and documentation capabilities that traditional inspection methods can’t provide.

Electrical Inspections:

Infrared Thermal ImagingIn electrical systems, excessive heat is a sign of impending trouble. High temperatures indicate excessive electrical resistance, failing components, ground faults, short circuits or other common problems in electric equipment that can lead to expensive or even catastrophic failures.

Infrared Scanning is also instrumental tool in a substation maintenance program. Some of the most common areas scanned are as follows:

IR for Transformer Tanks

Unusually high external temperatures or unusual thermal patterns of transformer tanks indicate problems inside the transformer such as low oil level, circulating stray currents, blocked cooling, loose shields, tap changer problems, etc. Abnormally high temperatures can damage or destroy transformer insulation and, thus, reduce life expectancy. Thermal patterns of transformer tanks and radiators should be cooler at the bottom and gradually warmer at the top. Any departure from this pattern means a probable problem which must be investigated.

IR for Surge Arrestors

Surge arresters should be included when infrared scanning energized transformers. Look for unusual surface patterns on the surface of lightning arresters. Also compare thermal patterns to sister units or earlier scans of the same arrester. Scan all high voltage connections and compare them to nearby connections for unusual temperature.

IR for Bushings

Infared Scanning Services for BushingsInfrared Scanning of bushings can show low oil level which would call for immediate de-energization and replacement. This generally means that the seal in the bushing bottom has failed, leaking oil into the transformer. The top seal has probably failed allowing air and moisture to enter the top. Too high and oil level in the bushing means the seal in the bottom of the bushing has failed and oil head from the conservator, or nitrogen pressure, has pushed transformer oil up the bushing. Another reason a bushing can exhibit high oil level is the top seal leaking, allowing water to enter. The water migrated to the bottom displacing the oil upward. Over 90% of bushing failures are attributed to water entrance through the top seal. Bushings commonly fail catastrophically, many times destroying the host transformer or breaker and nearby equipment and causing hazards to workers.

Infrared Thermography for Radiators adn Cooling SystemsIR for Radiators and Cooling Systems

Infrared Scanning of radiators is useful to observe cooling flow through the radiator. A cool radiator segment indicates that a valve is closed or the radiator is plugged with sediment. Transformers should not be allowed to operate with reduced or blocked cooling flow.

 

Building Envelope Inspections

Thermal Imaging for BuildingsInfrared scanning allows us to check the effectiveness of insulation in a building’s construction and determine whether it needs insulation and where in the building it should go. Because water soaked building materials conduct heat faster than dry materials, scans can identify roof leaks and identify other water leaks that can lead to mold and structural damage.
Electrical Testing and Electrical Maintenance

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