What is a thermographic inspection, and why should I have one?

The purpose of a thermograhpic inspection is to diagnose faults in electrical systems in the early stages, before they become a problem, and WITHOUT switching off the electrical installation.  This is done by identifying abnormally high temperatures in electrical equipment, such as distribution and switch gear.  Higher than expected running temperatures can lead to failure of equipment, unplanned downtime, and even fires.  It is therefore critical that these faults are identified and rectified in the early stages of their development.

Although there are obvious benefits to carrying out a thermographic inspection, it must be considered as a supplement for proper inspection and maintenance, and not a direct replacement.

What causes these high temperatures?

Many factors can contribute to high temperatures, and eventual failure, of an electrical installation, including (but not limited to):

  • Overloaded equipment – such as contactors, cables, isolators etc.
  • Damaged equipment – equipment that has been subjected to mechanical damage is liable to overheat
  • Age – installations and their components can deteriorate with time
  • Loose terminations – over time vibrations can cause electrical terminations to become loose

Who would benefit most from a thermographic survery?

Almost all installations will benefit from the results of a thermographic inspection. Of particular interest are commercial operations running 24 hours a day, where isolation of electrical circuits/equipment is not always possible and downtime must be kept to an absolute miniumum.

How do I prepare for a thermographic inspection?

Hot spots caused by faults will not be apparent when equipment is cold, therefore it is important that the installation is under load, on as many circuits as possible, prior to an investigation being carried out.

It is also necessary to organise access to allow covers of equipment to be removed, this enables us to pinpoint exactly where a fault lies.  If this is not possible, a thermographic inspection is still valid as the camera will also record heat radiated from components into the enclosures themselves.

Can you organise the inspection for me?

Yes.  A site survey can be arranged to organise all aspects of the inspection.

What items of equipment will be tested during the inspection?

Any equipment specified by the client can be included in an inspection.  Typical equipment may include:

  • Items of current using equipment that cannot be isolated under normal conditions
  • Any other item of current using equipment
  • Items of equipment that are suspected to be at fault or are at a higher risk of developing a  fault
  • Distribution boards and sub mains
  • final circuit connections

How will I get the results of the survey, and what will they tell me?

You will be given a user name and password for the client area of our site prior to work being carried out.  Once the report is completed it will appear in your client area in Adobe PDF format.  Should you have more specific needs, we will be more than happy to provide the report for you via other mediums.

The report will contain a schedule of all items tested.  These will be identified by the use of asset numbers.  If you do not currently have asset numbers for your equipment, we can provide these for you.

Any problem areas will be highlighted, and where possible, we will suggest what remedial actions should be taken to solve the problem.