Thermography in Industrial Electrical Inspections

Infrared Thermography allows technicians to check industrial equipment’s electrical performance without physically contacting live wires. Thermography is a proactive approach to electrical repair and problem identification that uses thermal images to identify problems.

Do you want to know if infrared thermography scans could benefit your business? Are you looking for commercial electrical services in San Joaquin County or Stanislaus County in California?

Keep reading to find out how electric thermography services could benefit your operations and industrial workplace safety. 

In this blog post, Access Electric will explain infrared thermography, how it aids industrial electrical inspections, its benefits, and alternatives. We will also answer some frequently asked questions about electrical thermography scans.

Infrared Thermography In Electrical Inspections

Infrared Thermography is used in industrial electrical inspections to identify hot spots in electrical components safely. Technicians use specialized cameras that detect heat radiation to take images of electrical equipment without having to come in contact with live electricity.

What is Infrared Thermography?

Infrared Thermography involves taking images of heat (infrared) radiation that show temperature variations in a selected field. It is used for electrical inspections, identifying water leaks, environmental studies, and in the medical field. 

Let’s take a closer look at how comparing temperatures can aid electricians in electrical inspections and routine safety screenings.

What Can Thermography Detect in Industrial Electrical Inspections?

Electricians use infrared thermography to locate abnormally hot electrical areas. Thermography detects even minute differences in temperature, so problems that would be missed with the naked eye can be found before they impact mechanical and electrical function. 

Problems that may be detected by thermography include

  • Loose electrical connections
  • Excessive friction in mechanical systems
  • Loose conductors
  • Overloaded circuits
  • Overheating electrical components

Infrared Thermography Benefits in Electrical Inspections

Annual infrared thermography inspections of electrical equipment reduce risks and workplace safety hazards. Early detection of problems using thermography reduces the risks associated with undetected electrical problems.

  • Outages due to sudden and unexpected equipment failure
  • Risk of fires from undetected electrical problems
  • Arc flashes and arc blasts due to faulty wiring
  • Reduces downtime from damaged equipment
  • Minimizes the risk of system failure
  • Maintain the electrical and mechanical efficiency of your system

Alternatives to Infrared Thermography

Most alternatives to infrared thermography are risky, more expensive, and/or outdated. Risky alternatives include repairing equipment after failure and checking each connection manually. More expensive alternatives include continuous thermal monitoring (CTM).

Repairing Equipment After Failure

One approach to dealing with electrical problems is to wait until a piece of equipment stops working. At that point, call in an electrician or other technician to diagnose and repair the malfunctioning equipment.

The downside to waiting until after failure has already occurred is that the problem may have started out small, but it has grown due to heat damage or overloaded circuits. This means there is a longer downtime before it’s functioning again, and the repair is more expensive than it would have been with early detection.

Manual Connection Inspection

Before infrared thermography technology was available, a technician would have to manually tighten each connection on a regular basis to identify and fix loose connections. The labor required to do this on an industrial scale is not cost-effective, nor does this method find all problems.

Infrared thermography is able to use imaging to find problems that simply tightening connections would not solve. It also saves the labor cost of hiring a technician to inspect and tighten every connection.

Continuous Thermal Monitoring

Continuous Thermal Monitoring is a cutting-edge technology that can be used instead of occasional infrared thermography scans. As a new technology, its implementation and effectiveness are worth watching. However, continuous monitoring may not be necessary for your industrial application.

Detecting Other Electrical Problems

Please note that Infrared Thermography is very effective at finding certain types of electrical problems but that it should be combined with other early detection techniques to identify problems that infrared thermography may miss.

If you have questions about the best inspection methods for your business, contact an industrial electrical contractor for assistance.

Find a Contractor for Industrial Infrared Thermography Services

You should find an electrical contractor to perform an industrial infrared thermography scan because a contractor will have a high-quality infrared camera and the necessary experience to interpret the scan’s findings.

If you’re in the Modesto or Stockton, California areas, contact Access Electric online or by phone at (209)-577-1491.

Access Electric also offers the following commercial, agricultural, and industrial electrical services in central California:

Frequently Asked Questions

How can electrical panels be inspected?

Infrared thermography is an effective way to inspect an electrical panel because common problems can be detected by identifying hot spots. Thermography may detect overloaded circuits, failing insulation, poor connections, and more.

Do thermal images help electricians?

Thermal images, called infrared thermography, help electricians identify electrical problems where there is excessive heat. These electrical problems may include loose connections, overheated components, overloaded circuits, and more.

Will infrared thermography find every electrical problem?

Infrared thermography is an excellent inspection tool that can find the most common causes of electrical fires, such as overloaded circuits and loose connections. However, not every electrical problem can be detected with infrared thermography. Additional inspection methods may be required.

What is the greatest advantage of infrared thermography electrical inspections?

The greatest advantage of having an infrared thermography scan performed on your industrial equipment is the early detection of electrical problems. This early detection leads to easier and faster repairs with minimal manufacturing downtime and costs.

Do thermal cameras show the inside of electrical equipment?

Thermal cameras show the surface temperature of what the camera is pointed at. That means that a higher-than-normal temperature on the surface is much hotter within the object. Skilled thermal camera operators open enclosures and panels for the most detailed imaging possible.