Thermal Imaging inspection can reduce insurance premiums.
Many insurance companies now provide reduced insurance premiums to businesses who undertake thermal imaging inspections of their electrical equipment.
Businesses benefit, in many cases the survey effectively ‘pay for itself’ through the insurance reduction.
They also obtain a status report detailing all the pending electrical problems in their facility, allowing them to plan and schedule maintenance activities in advance. This helps keep their operations running smoothly, minimizes downtime and most importantly, keeps safety at a premium.
Thermography inspection is a critical part of any condition monitoring / predictive maintenance program. It provides a safe, clean and visual way of assessing the condition of live electrical equipment. It is the most effective method to identify high resistance joints, defected connections, overloaded circuits and other faults BEFORE they reach critical failure and become a fire and safety hazard.
Such problems are virtually impossible to identify by any other means.
A growing number of insurers are now making thermographic surveys compulsory with regard to fire prevention.
Below: Defected connection on a contactor.
To qualify for a reduction in your insurance premiums inspections must be completed by a Certified Level 2 infrared thermographer, as a minimum acceptable criteria.
Level 2 Inspectors are experienced within the application of electrical thermograpahy and troubleshooting. They are trained in infrared physics, heat science and infrared measurement equipment and its application. They are proficient in the areas of equipment selection, techniques, limitations, data analysis, corrective action and reporting.
Thermal Imaging is supplemental to and does not replace electrical inspection and testing. It should be considered as an essential tool to reduce the risk of catastrophic fire events, reduce downtime and increase safety.
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In simplest terms, CUI (corrosion under insulation) is any type of corrosion that occurs due to a moisture buildup on the external surface of insulated equipment. It can be caused by multiple factors and can occur in equipment operating at ambient, low, and high temperatures, depending upon conditions. Moreover, CUI can occur in equipment that is in service, out of service, or in cyclic service.
Damaged insulation (as well as many other factors) provide a very easy route for water ingress into insulation. Once inside it can cause very serious damage to pipework and other susceptible steel elements.
Below are a couple of examples of damaged insulation that we recently identified during routine CUI Risk inspections for one of our clients.
Example 1: Insulation damage, visible water/moisture intrusion.
Visible insulation damage and moisture spread.
Example 2: Insulation damage caught early.
Damaged insulation caught early.
Example 3: Not so obvious, no visible sign of insulation damage.
Not so obvious, no visible signs of damage to insulation.
Inspection programs should ensure comprehensive coverage of all plant (vessels and pipework) including ‘running’ plant (pumps, valves etc) which may be subject to CUI. It is essential to consider items exposed to localized cooling/heating effects, as well as the effects of outage periods for components operating at high temperature. This promotes CUI in plant or pipework which would otherwise be excluded from the survey.
To discover more out more about this inspection service click here.
Defected connections make up the majority of electrical related issues identified with thermography.
In a distribution panel each connection and fuse has a very small resistance. When current passes through a circuit it’s components heat up. As a connection deteriorates the resistance increases with a corresponding increase in temperature. When the temperature rises above a pre-determined value, the component is deemed as defective.
It is important to recognize the thermal gradients associated with defected connections on electrical components.
An increase in electrical resistance on a connection will cause localized heating. Heat is conducted away from the local resistance, thus creating a thermal gradient.
Example below – A contactor and overload relay unit. Defected connections identified on contactor on phase2 & 3. Excessive overheating is identified between the contactor and the overload relay unit. This indicates that the contacts at this point are defected. In this arrangement the links are part of the overload assembly. If damaged the overload unit should be replaced.
Contactor defected phase 2 & 3 connections. Overload relay defected link to contactor (ROI’s removed)
When a connection is identified as defected it does not always mean that it is loose.
It can be oxidized, corroded, or have dirty contact surfaces. There may be a problem with the cross threading or the wrong bolt or screw could be in place. The connection can be wrongly sized or the conductor strands could be broken away from the fitting.
Often, applying a specific torque (or re-tightening) will not solve the problem.
Where defected connections are identified they should be dismantled and investigated. Contact surfaces should be cleaned and remade, applying the correct pressure to restore full electrical contact.
Excessive overheating (as in our example) at either terminal connection or contacts causes cable insulation damage and pitting of the contacts, therefore accelerating their temperature rise. Wires and components should be replaced if subjected to excessive overheating (as in the example image above).
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For more information about our electrical inspection service please click here.
There are a number of techniques available for detecting corrosion under insulation (CUI) in the Oil & Gas industry, however most are very slow and require direct contact with the equipment being inspected.
These techniques are time consuming and expensive. Scaffolding is often required to reach pipework, which can take time to organize and be labor intensive.
A thermography program is an effective method for identifying existing CUI, as well as areas that may be at risk. It is also useful for quickly assessing insulation integrity.
Thermography allows the user to detect areas of water/moisture ingress within insulation, where CUI may be occurring and where there is potential for it to occur in the future.
When water or moisture gets into insulation, it changes the thermal capacity of the insulation. After a number of cycles that “change in insulation capacity” becomes permanent. This allows users to inspect surface temperature profile and identify anomalies.
Applied correctly, thermography is a very effective method for finding existing CUI and early stage water ingress.
Intec Analysis thermal image – CUI risk identification image.
An active CUI risk monitoring program has many benefits. Companies can target areas of interest and prioritise maintenance.
Many insulated lines and components in a facility can be scanned quickly, saving excessive scaffolding and labour costs.
Thermal imaging inspections are very efficient. It is possible to maintain a high level of safety on an asset or facility. This helps to prevent unexpected downtime and maximize production.
To understand more around this inspection please click HERE.
Part 2 of this topic covers the application from a technical aspect.
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Intec Analysis were delighted to recently supply one of our clients with the FLIR GF320 gas imaging camera to assist with their platform hydrocarbon maintenance program.
The GF320 camera is a preventative maintenance tool capable of helping companies to detect fugitive gas leaks in piping, flanges and connections in petrochemical operations. It can allow users to rapidly scan large areas and pinpoint leaks in real time.
- Visualize gas leaks in real time
- Fully calibrated for temperature measurement applications
- Embedded GPS data in reporting
- Inspect without interruption of process
- Considerably reduce inspection time
- Trace leaks to source
- Spot leaks close by or meters away
- Verification of repair
The GF320 is a mid wave infrared camera capable of allowing methane and other hydrocarbon gases to be detected and traced to source.
Intec Analysis provide operational support as well as an advanced fugitive platform inspection service, capable of quantifying leak rates for fugitive gas emissions.
Below are some blog articles relating to fugitive gas leaks:
BLOG – Why are minor fugitive gas releases important and why should we care?
BLOG – Why Quantify Fugitive Gas Leaks?
If you would like to understand more around this incredible application we would love to hear from you.
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From September 2017 Intec Analysis will utilise the incredible FLIR T1030sc Infrared Camera for all thermography inspections.
The FLIR T1030sc is FLIR’s highest-spec science-grade thermal camera available. Combining together superior HD resolution with industry-leading thermal sensitivity and a huge range of advanced features.
- HD-Quality Thermal Imaging at 1024 x 678 Pixels – See the world in thermal. Incredible levels of detail thanks to the T1030sc’s built-in LWIR uncooled high definition detector.
- Thermal Sensitivity (NETD) of <20mK – More than twice as sensitive as the industry standard. The T1030sc picks up on even the smallest differences in temperature.
- FLIR OSX Precision HDIR Interchangeable Lenses – Swap out your lens and always gain high fidelity thermal images. Accurate thermal measurements at any focal length.
- FLIR MSX and UltraMax Modes included – FLIR’s Vision Processor delivers smooth, detailed imagery with thermal and digital image blending (FLIR MSX). The ability to enhance thermal images to even higher levels of detail using software with FLIR’s UltraMax mode.
- Fast 30Hz Frame Rate – Smooth images, even when moving.
- Ultra High Accuracy of ±1°C – The highest accuracy out of all products available in FLIR’s scientific range.
Intec Analysis look forward to demonstrating this cameras capabilities in the coming weeks.