6 Common Mistakes Made During an Electrical Thermography Survey

Thermal Imaging is one of the most valuable diagnostic tools for predictive maintenance. By detecting anomalies often invisible to the naked eye, thermography allows corrective action to be taken before costly system failures occur.

Thermal Imaging or Thermography is the process of using a special camera designed to look only for heat by way of infra red (IR) energy waves. There some common mistakes that can be made when carrying out an electrical thermography survey, here are the 6 most common ones:

1. You can’t let the camera do all the work

Just because a camera might say its ‘point and shoot’ doesn’t mean it can do all the work for you. As the camera operator, you are responsible for ensuring the settings are correct when carrying out a survey and compiling a report.

2. Emissivity

Emissivity is the capacity of an object to emit infrared radiation. There are several factors that can affect emissivity so understanding it’s importance ;and how it works will ensure you do not make a mistake that could lead to incorrect results.

3. Thermal cameras are not x-ray cameras!

Thermal cameras cannot see through things, they are not x-ray cameras! They will only detect radiated heat from an object you are looking at. Without a direct line of sight, faults will be missed.

4. Misreading reflections

Reflections are common in our everyday world, the most common example being a mirror. In the world of Infrared Radiation polished and shiny surfaces, metals being the best example, will often reflect more. So stand in front of a metal surface and chances are the hotspots you see will be a reflection of heat from your own body. This is the most common mistake, with reflections being reported as faults.

5. Overlooking thermal gradients

The ;software used for thermography surveys has become very advanced, however you cannot rely on the machine to do all the work. As a camera operator, you must understand how thermal gradients link to faults and use these to correctly identify problems.

6. Not surveying under load

Again, this may seem obvious but it is a common mistake when carrying out thermography surveys. Without load the system will not generate any heat and faults will not be visible.

To meet your electrical safety at work needs, Intersafe delivers tailored solutions in PAT Testing, Periodic Testing and Thermal Imaging. Contact Angus by calling 02380 610101 or email angus@intersafe.co.uk to book an appointment.