Frequently Asked Questions
Q: What can IR Thermography do for me?
A: Using IR Thermography can reduce downtime by avoiding unplanned shutdowns and by assisting in the timing and planning of scheduled maintenance thus allowing production time to be increased by maximising equipment availability.
Q: What applications can thermography be used for?
A: Electrical Systems:
Loose or high resistance connections
Blocked or restricted cooling systems in transformers
High resistance in fuses and switchgear
Motors and Rotating Machinery:
Motor / generator overload
Worn / damaged bearings
Belt / shaft alignment
Refractory lining failure or wear
Insulation missing or breakdown
Boiler seal leakage
Hydraulic, steam and hot water systems
Tank levels and insulation
Belts and pulleys
Pressure and vacuum leaks
Underfloor heating systems surveys
Continuity of insulation
Leaks in flat roofs
Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning (HVAC) systems
Cold storage thermal gain
Detection of medical problems in horses
Q: What sort of companies use infrared technology?
A: The list of businesses that have benefited from the early detection of thermal imaging is extensive, including:
Food processing & production
Automotive quality control
Iron and steel production
Q: How do cameras detect Infrared?
A: Modern cameras in general use uncooled bolometers. A mid range unit will have a bolometer with a matrix of 320 x 240 pixels for a total of 76,800 dots or pixels. Our professional equipment has a matrix of 640 x 480 pixels giving us a total of 307,200 measurement points! Each pixel, which is sensitive to IR, develops a voltage, depending on how much IR reaches it via special lenses. This voltage is then processed via software and colour palettes are overlaid. The colour represented for each pixel is dependent on the voltage the dot produces. The end result is a picture built up of thousands of pixels. The voltage of each pixel is also calibrated to represent a temperature. An IR camera usually has a selection of colour palettes. In principle, digital and video cameras work the same way.
Q: I have a small Infrared spot gun / camera so why should I use a thermographer with higher level equipment?
A: Would you use a mobile phone camera to take a family photo rather than a high quality camera? Having a relatively small number of pixels, low resolution and small field of view, there would be a higher probability of missing or misinterpreting a fault. These devices are best used for spot checks.
Q: Are Infrared cameras expensive?
A: Relatively - yes. The sophisticated level of technology and the value of use makes them expensive. One really must look at the economics of purchasing an IR camera. There is a lot of economic merit in using an experienced, qualified full time thermographer, delivering a quality service with good equipment at a fraction of the cost of purchasing a camera to be used occasionally by relatively inexperienced operators.
Q: Can thermography be used in brightly lit areas?
A: Yes. Light as we know it in the visible spectrum has no effect on the infrared images.
Q: Will thermography affect the daily routine of my business?
A: No. Infrared Thermography is a non-invasive tool, so there is no need to switch any plant room equipment off. In fact, thermography produces the best results when the system under review is either fully operational or under load.