Infrared Analysis

Infrared Thermography (Thermal Imaging) is a nondestructive, nonintrusive, noncontact mapping of thermal patterns on the surface of parts, materials or systems.  Infrared Thermography utilizes an infrared imaging camera to “see” what is normally invisible to the human eye.  All objects emit thermal energy, typically referred to as heat.  This is equally true in Electrical and mechanical systems.  When there are problems (overloads, poor connections, faulty components, etc.), specific heat patterns are produced and are readily visible in an infrared survey.

Infrared falls on the electromagnetic spectrum between Visible Light and Microwaves, and although we require special equipment to “see” infrared, it behaves very much like visible light.  It can be emitted, reflected, transmitted or absorbed.

SW Infrared

Infrared falls between Visible Light and Microwave on the electromagnetic spectrum. Infrared Thermography provides an efficient, cost-effective means to identify problems before an equipment failure or outage.  The camera’s images of invisible infrared energy or “heat” radiation give an accurate representation, which when the image is calibrated can give you a representative non-contact temperature measurement.  Infrared “sees” anything with a temperature above absolute zero, which is everything in our real world.  The camera converts the infrared energy into an electronic signal to produce an image and measure the heat radiation.

SW Infrared

So, what can an infrared survey do for clients? A large aluminum company reported savings of over $100,000 in equipment repairs when problems were identified in an infrared survey. A spokesperson offered that if the avoided downtime savings were calculated, the total savings to the company would approach $500,000. The story isn’t at all unusual. What would it save your company to identify a problem in your electrical system that could cause loss of production or, worse, a catastrophic fire?

Infrared Thermography is not just for commercial or industrial uses. Buildings of any type, including residential, exhibit many of the same difficulties, and energy efficiency and cost is particularly important in homes. Problems related to insulation, air leakage and moisture that can be difficult to diagnose and resolve under normal circumstances are easily “seen” by the infrared thermography camera.

Arc Flash Analysis

Arc Flash is responsible for injuring more than 2,000 workers annually and as many as 150 persons killed in the workplace by electricity were related to arc flash. Arc flash temperatures can reach or exceed 35,000 °F at the arc terminals. The energy released in the fault can quickly vaporize the metal conductors, blasting molten metal and expanding plasma outward with extraordinary force. It is a dangerous, expensive workplace risk that might be avoided with preventive maintenance and an Arc Flash Analysis.

Southwest Infrared Inc.
Southwest Infrared Inc.

The purpose of the analysis is to determine the location and severity of arc flash hazards and to make recommendations for courses of action to minimize those risks. Obviously, the safety of your personnel is of paramount concern, but there are other important benefits to the Arc Flash Analysis and early detection of potential hazards. Protecting expensive equipment, avoiding costly operational down-time and meeting your customers’ deadlines and expectations are also a priority.

And there is yet another reason to prioritize an Arc Flash Analysis – current guidelines recognize the great importance of electrical safety, and OSHA and NFPA 70E require arc flash compliance.

Vibration Analysis

Machine vibration is simply the back-and-forth movement of any machine or machine component. Vibration Analysis measures displacement, velocity and acceleration of that movement against an established baseline. It is used for early detection of the risk of mechanical fatigue and breakdown, allowing machinery to be repaired or replaced before an expensive failure occurs. Machine vibration can be intentionally designed and have a functional purpose, but usually, it is unintended and undesirable.

If vibration is unintended and large enough, it can create excessive stress leading to machine failure and serious damage that may require costly repairs or replacement. But machinery that is not functioning properly may also cause higher energy consumption and cost. And, again, if your operations must shut down to accommodate repairs or replacement the cost in lost productivity and customer dissatisfaction may be quite high.