Prevent Unplanned Downtime with Thermal Imaging

thermal imager

By Mary Vessele, Product Marketing Manager, Test & Measurement, Cole-Parmer

Preventive maintenance can save money

Being sidelined by malfunctioning equipment is costly in so many ways. Not only will it cost you to repair the equipment, but also it will cost you unplanned down time. It never pays to be reactive. In fact, the Federal Energy Management Program estimates that you could save 30 to 40% by having a preventive program in place instead of reacting when equipment fails. A preventive program can reduce downtime 35 to 45% and actually increase production 20 to 25%. The cost savings of running a preventive maintenance program far outweighs the cost of implementing one.

Thermal Imaging ideal for predictive maintenance

A key performance parameter that is monitored in predictive maintenance programs is heat. Heat is often an early symptom of equipment damage or malfunction. Technicians who practice infrared predictive maintenance will check the temperature of critical equipment regularly. This allows them to track operating conditions over time and quickly identify unusual readings. You may be wondering how to check the heat of your equipment, so I would like to give you a few examples of thermal imaging applications. With a thermal imaging device, you can monitor and measure the bearing temperatures in large motors or other rotating equipment to identify “hot spots”, leaks in sealed vessels or identify problems in electrical switch gears. You could find faulty insulations in process pipes or other insulated processes, or even find faulty terminations in high power electrical circuits. All of these conditions could lead to a failure in your equipment if undetected.

Thermal imagers

thermal imager takes noncontact infrared (IR) temperature measurements that capture an object’s temperature profile as a two-dimensional picture. Unlike an infrared thermometer that only captures temperature at a single point, a thermal imager can capture temperature from both critical components and the entire integrated unit. Thermal imagers can also store previous and current images for comparison, and upload images to a central database. With regular maintenance checks using a thermal imager, you will be confident your equipment is healthy, and you will be alerted to possible trends that can cause your equipment to fail. You are being Proactive not reactive!

Learn more about the cost savings of thermal imaging (thermography) PdM, and how to integrate thermography into a predictive maintenance program, as well as information on guidelines for successfully capturing and analyzing thermographic data. Read the technical article, Applying Infrared Thermography to Predictive Maintenance.

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