Why Your Business Needs a Website
In general, thermographers are quick to embrace new applications, ideas, and technology. Although most consumers use the web prior to purchasing goods or services, many infrared companies do not have a web presence.
As the internet has matured, consumers have come to rely on the worldwide web for information. Over 90% of consumers use the internet when researching new products or services. The majority of their business goes to companies that have a professional web presence. Companies that do not have websites are losing businesses to companies that do.
A properly designed website can improve productivity and help increase sales. By providing prospects with information, your sales force can spend less time educating prospects thereby freeing up valuable time for closing sales.
Websites can provide new revenue opportunities. There are relatively few services or products that can’t be sold over the internet. Your website can be used to directly sell your company’s products or services. Additional revenue may be generated through participation in affiliate sales programs.
Another advantage of websites is the ability to compete with much larger companies. A company does not need a tremendous amount of capital or manpower to have a successful web presence. Your website can work 24/7 providing information and accepting orders from clients worldwide.
Because your website represents your company’s public image, it is imperative that you invest the time and money to properly establish your website. Often the best approach is to hire a professional web designer to help you design, publish, and maintain your website.
Full Memory Causes Imager Upset
Thermographers with too much on their minds may feel sluggish. A thermal imager with too much in its memory may not work at all. This week’s Tip describes one thermographer’s recent experience.
Recently, I encountered major problems when storing images in my thermal imager. During the previous two weeks, I had noticed several malfunctions. These included ghosts on the monitor screen during shutdown, decreased processing speed, color palette changes, and factory defaults replacing my user-defined settings .
Finally, I received an “Out of Memory” message when attempting to store an image. Checking the imager’s directory indicated the presence of only 12 images. I then connected the imager to my laptop and downloaded the stored images to my disk drive. The imager’s directory now indicated no stored images; however, the unit continued to display the “Out of Memory” message and would not allow image storage.
Consulting by telephone with the manufacturer’s repair department yielded a diagnosis of a defective motherboard. I arranged to hand-deliver the imager the next day for repair. Upon further diagnosis the repair tech asked me if I had been adding files to the camera.
To improve file organization, I had been renaming the imager’s “images” file and dragging them to my laptop’s hard drive while connected to the imager. By doing this I had unknowingly created new directories in the camera which used up all available memory. The tech removed the offending data, performed an operational check and found that the imager was fine.
By hand delivering my imager and working with the repair department, we discovered a procedural error rather than a hardware malfunction. Camera repairs can be like car repairs. Replacing parts is easy. Getting to the root cause takes time; however, it is more effective in the long run.
Tip provided by Bill Arnott, Apex Infrared, Owen Sound, Ontario, Canada www.apexinfrared.com
IR Inspections of Uninsulated Roofs
Infrared thermography is a proven technology for detecting evidence of latent moisture within insulated roofs. In some cases, infrared inspections may provide similar data for uninsulated roofs.
Traditionally, infrared roof inspections require the following construction: built-up or single-ply membrane installed over, and in continuous contact with, a layer of insulation or an insulating deck. Roofs may be either smooth-surfaced or covered with granules or gravel. If gravel-surfaced, stones should be pea size or smaller.
In some cases, uninsulated roofs may yield accurate thermographic imagery by trapping or absorbing water in quantities sufficient to create a detectable temperature differential. Examples include:
- Water trapped between the underside of a membrane and the roof deck
- Water trapped between plies of a multi-ply membrane
- Water absorbed by a roof deck after prolonged exposure to moisture
The following thermal images of an uninsulated roof show warm areas caused by a wooden deck that has absorbed moisture. Roof consists of a fully-adhered membrane installed directly over a wooden deck. Images were taken at sunset following a sunny day.
Because uninsulated roofs do not provide a long inspection window, thermographers should be prepared to inspect at or slightly before sunset.
For accurate diagnosis, all thermal imagery should be verified with invasive testing. Thermographers should always take appropriate safety precautions to avoid injuries and to prevent falling from or through a roof.
For information or to obtain a copy of the Guideline for Infrared Inspection of Building Envelopes & Insulated Roofs, contact Infraspection Institute at 609-239-4788 or visit us online at www.infraspection.com.
Images provided by Jersey Infrared Consultants, Burlington, NJ. www.jerseyir.com.
Non Uniformity Correction
Focal plane array detectors are standard components for most commercial thermal imagers. One feature common to all FPA imagers is a function known as non-uniformity correction.
Using an FPA detector in the construction of an imager provides high resolution and other advantages. One disadvantage is that FPA detectors tend to “drift” during imager operation. When the pixels of an FPA detector drift, their response to the radiant energy emitted by an object changes.
As an FPA detector drifts, the displayed image will develop areas with inexplicably hot or cold pixels. Drifted pixels cause the appearance of hot/cold artifacts within the image and cannot be relied upon for accurate temperature measurements. Depending upon imager type and ambient conditions, significant drift can occur within a very short period of time.
To correct for drift, all FPA imagers have a function known as non-uniformity correction. Simply put, NUC is a feature that ‘resets’ the image by aligning all detector pixels to the same value. Depending upon imager model, the NUC process may be an automatic feature of the imager or a manual function performed by the thermographer. Performing a non-uniformity correction may require several seconds to complete; during this time imaging is not possible.
During the NUC process, a high emittance object of uniform temperature is temporarily placed within the optical path of the imager. When the NUC process is activated, the imager’s computer electronically adjusts the gain of all detector pixels to a uniform value thereby removing errors caused by detector drift. A NUC should be performed at regular intervals during imager operation or whenever hot/cold artifacts appear within the image.
What’s in a File Name
Names routinely provide information about people, places, and things. When it comes to file names for infrared images, names can be misleading.
Most computer software programs attach three or four-letter extensions to file names when files are created. These extensions serve a variety of purposes, one of which is indicating the type of program that created the file. Typical extensions for image files include JPEG, BMP, GIF, and TIFF.
Traditionally, image files bearing the above extensions have been readable by several popular computer programs designed for image viewing and/or image processing. These same file formats have also been readable by other software programs allowing images to be opened and imported into new files created by these programs.
During the past decade, several manufacturers of thermal imagers have used JPEG, TIFF, and BMP extensions to name image files created by their thermal imagers. Although these files bear extensions that are traditionally readable by graphics programs, they contain proprietary information that requires special software to open, view, and analyze them. Such software is available only from the manufacturer of the camera that created the file.
When it comes to infrared image files, one should never assume that image files will be compatible with software programs not provided by the manufacturer of the subject imager, regardless of the file extension.
Infraspection Institute has been providing training, certification and support for professional infrared thermographers since 1980. Our Exception® data management and reporting software is compatible with all thermal imagers and generates standards-compliant reports in minutes. For further information on software or training courses, call 609-239-4788 or visit www.infraspection.com.
Frostbite & Hypothermia
“Jack Frost nipping at your nose.” These lyrics from a popular Christmas carol evoke romantic visions of winter; however, frostbite and hypothermia are dangerous medical conditions that can present serious safety hazards.
For many, the dead of winter is upon us. Thermographers working outdoors in cold climates can face serious safety challenges due to frostbite and hypothermia. Knowing the symptoms of these conditions and proper treatment is imperative for worker safety.
Frostbite is a severe reaction to cold exposure that can permanently damage its victims. A loss of feeling and a white or pale appearance in fingers, toes, or nose and ear lobes are symptoms of frostbite.
Hypothermia is a condition brought on when the body temperature drops to less than 90 degrees Fahrenheit. Symptoms of hypothermia include uncontrollable shivering, slow speech, memory lapses, frequent stumbling, drowsiness, and exhaustion.
If frostbite or hypothermia is suspected, begin warming the person slowly and seek immediate medical assistance. Warm the person’s trunk first. Use your own body heat to help. Arms and legs should be warmed last because stimulation of the limbs can drive cold blood toward the heart and lead to heart failure. If the person is wet, put them in dry clothing and wrap their entire body in a blanket.
Never give a frostbite or hypothermia victim beverages containing caffeine or alcohol. Caffeine, a stimulant, can cause the heart to beat faster and hasten the effects the cold has on the body. Alcohol, a depressant, can slow the heart and also hasten the ill effects of cold body temperatures.
Cold Weather Clothing
Last week’s tip discussed the dangers of Frostbite and Hypothermia while working in cold temperatures. This week’s tip covers cold weather clothing.
Cold weather clothing is a matter of functionality not fashion. Clothing needs to be worn in layers in order to trap air which is warmed by the body. When selecting clothing, start with the innermost layer and work outward. The use of multiple layers will trap warm air while providing greater ease of movement. As you add layers, be sure to adjust the next layer’s size accordingly.
The first layer should be made of a synthetic material that will wick perspiration away from the body and maintain its insulating properties when damp. The second layer is your main insulator and should be a breathable material that maintains its insulating properties when wet. Synthetic fleeces or natural wool are good choices. The outermost layer should be breathable and both wind and water resistant.
Head and neck protection is a must since nearly 40% of body heat is lost here. Perspiration is the main enemy of feet. The best footwear will have sturdy outers, good treads and a removable felt liner. Buy extra liners and replace them every few hours. Liners can take a full day to fully dry out so buy enough to get through a typical workday.
Mittens are the warmest but present problems in grasping tools etc. I have found that a heavy duty welder’s glove with cotton or wool gloves lining them provide good warmth and mobility. Buy enough liners to get you through the day. One final note, the body needs fuel to produce heat. Your calorie needs increase in cold weather and require regular replenishment with good wholesome foods.
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Electrical System Inspections – Beware of First Impressions
In many things, it is said that first impressions count. When it comes to infrared inspections of electrical distribution systems, first impressions may be incomplete or misleading especially when an inspection is not performed properly.
The greatest amount of labor expended during an infrared inspection of electrical equipment is often associated with the opening/closing of electrical panels. In an effort to reduce labor costs, some have suggested scanning the exterior of electrical enclosures and opening only those that exhibit a discernible temperature rise. This approach is flawed in that it often overlooks significant thermal anomalies that can lead to catastrophic failures or unexpected downtime.
Depending upon the construction and condition of electrical equipment, significant thermal anomalies may be undetectable when panel covers remain closed. Such anomalies include, but are not limited to, loose/deteriorated connections, overloads or arcing. Because infrared equipment cannot see through solid objects such as steel and phenolic, industry practice and published standards require that electrical enclosures be opened to afford a clear line-of-sight to subject components.
At present, there is no way to correlate enclosure temperatures to the integrity of the devices they contain. Thermographers who use enclosure temperatures as indicators of device integrity face two problems. First, they will miss significant deficiencies. Second, they may invite undue liability when a hidden problem causes a catastrophic failure or unexpected downtime.
When requested to improperly perform an infrared inspection, a professional thermographer has an obligation to inform interested parties of proper procedures. Should the requestor persist, the thermographer should decline to perform the inspection altogether.
For information on training and certification or to obtain a copy of the Guideline for Infrared Inspection of Electrical & Mechanical Systems, contact Infraspection Institute at 609-239-4788 or visit us online at www.infraspection.com.
RSS News Feeds – An Easy Way to Stay Current
RSS feeds have become a means for automatically receiving information from web publishers on a wide variety of topics. RSS feeds can provide thermographers with up-to-the minute news and information on thermography and related PdM and NDT topics.
One of the definitions of RSS is “Really Simple Syndication”. It is a way to easily distribute a list of headlines, update notices, and sometimes content to a wide number of people. An RSS feed is sometimes called an “RSS Channel.” RSS works by having the website author maintain a list of notifications on his/her website. This list of notifications is called an “RSS Feed.”
Thermographers can benefit from an RSS feed by having the feed automatically deliver content to their computer. This is accomplished via software programs called “News Readers” or “RSS Aggregators.” There are many aggregators available for free as well as some that charge a fee. Every aggregator is different but each one will allow you to create an incoming feed that interests you.
Upon selecting and installing your aggregator, enter the URL of each RSS feed you wish to receive into the appropriate location in your aggregator. By running your aggregator in automatic mode, it will periodically check the internet to see if selected feeds have been updated. If the aggregator finds an update, it will download the updated information to your computer. Then, when you read a headline that interests you, just click on it and you’ll be able to read the full story.
Both infraspection.com and irinfo.org offer free news feeds. To receive feeds from these websites, enter the URLs listed below into your aggregator program.
Preventing Workplace Falls
“Watch Your Step”. Sage advice that we’ve heard a million times; however, falls continue to be one of the most common workplace accidents. Following a few simple steps can help thermographers to prevent most falls.
Each year falls in the workplace account for over one million injuries and several hundred fatalities. Even a simple slip can cause serious injuries. Many falls can be prevented by following some basic rules:
- Identify all potential tripping and fall hazards before work starts
- Look for fall hazards such as unprotected floor openings/edges, shafts, skylights, stairwells, and roof openings/edges
- Use appropriate fall protection equipment; inspect equipment for defects prior to each use
- Never use boxes or chairs in place of an appropriate ladder or stepstool
- Secure and stabilize ladders before climbing them; never stand on top rung or step of a ladder
- Use handrails when going up/down stairs
- Practice good housekeeping – Keep floors dry and free of clutter such as cords, hoses , and cables
- Keep walkways free of snow and ice
Lastly, be sure to use sturdy footwear appropriate to the task. Work boots and shoes should be laced and tied to prevent tripping and to afford proper support. When it comes to fall protection, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. For more information on workplace safety standards and fall protection, visit www.osha.gov.
Using an Isotherm to Detect Potential Condensation Sites
Condensation on interior building surfaces can lead to a variety of problems including conditions conducive to mold growth. Used properly, the isotherm feature found on many infrared imagers can be utilized to spot potential condensation sites.
Simply put, dew point is the temperature at which water vapor in the air will cause condensation to form on a surface. When interior building components are cooled to dew point temperature or lower, water vapor will precipitate out of the air causing water to form on the subject component.
For building envelopes, chronic condensation on interior drywall surfaces can cause unsightly staining by trapping dust or smoke particulates in these areas. Chronic condensation on organic building components is also conducive to mold growth. Condensation often goes unnoticed until building occupants notice stains associated with the aforementioned conditions. Fortunately, a thermal imager can be used to detect condensation problems before they become serious.
To utilize a thermal imager to detect potential condensation sites, identify the dew point temperature for the room or areas that you are inspecting. Set your imager’s isotherm function to appear at, and for several degrees below, the dew point temperature. As you inspect high emittance building surfaces from the interior of the building, note any components that cause the isotherm to appear. These areas should then be further investigated for cause and appropriate action taken.
When using an isotherm, be sure to practice proper measurement techniques giving particular consideration to viewing angle, spot measurement size and emissivity settings.
Imager Resolution & The Great Pixel Debate
Resolution is one of the most important objective specifications for any thermal imaging system. Pixel count is frequently offered as a measure of image quality; however, pixel count is only one of many factors that affect imager resolution.
The Focal Plane Array (FPA) detector assemblies used in modern infrared imagers are made up of several tiny, discrete picture elements or pixels. Each pixel is a discrete infrared detector that collects thermal data. Individual pixels are arranged to form an array that ultimately allows the imager to produce a thermal image.
FPA detectors are commonly specified according to pixel count and ratio. Typical detector sizes for industrial imagers range from 160W by 120H to 320W by 240H; some detectors may have more or less pixels. To determine the total pixel count for a detector; the horizontal and vertical values are multiplied.
Imager manufacturers often cite pixel count as a measure of imager resolution. Imager sales are won and lost as entire ad campaigns focus heavily on this single objective specification. Actually determining resolution is not that simple.
Although resolution generally increases with the number of pixels, there are several other factors that influence image clarity or resolution. These include, but are not limited to, pixel viewing angle, imager optics, signal-to-noise ratio and the imager’s display screen.
When evaluating an imager for resolution, physically try the imager under actual working conditions. Imagers that produce clear images should be sufficient to the task regardless of pixel count.
To better understand imager resolution, read the article, Selecting, Specifying and Purchasing Thermal Imagers available from Infraspection Institute. To obtain a copy of the article, call 609-239-4788 or visit us online at www.infraspection.com.
Contact Management Software
With so many time demands in today’s workplace, staying organized is a constant challenge. Contact management software is one solution that can help to improve organization and productivity and increase sales.
Contact management software programs, also known as contact managers, are designed to help users keep track of their associates, customers and tasks. Contact managers are used by salespeople, customer service representatives, and managers.
Contact managers are databases that utilize calendars for scheduling. They also integrate email and personal file information such as phone numbers and addresses with task lists and histories of interactions. Contact managers may be installed on your personal computer or intranet (ACT! and GoldMine) or hosted via the internet (Salesforce.com).
Among the chief benefits of contact managers are:
- Scheduling multiple activities with automatic calendars
- Organizing and tracking customers, prospects, and suppliers
- Generating letters, proposals and quotations from preformatted templates
- Preparing standard forms such as invoices and fax covers
- Managing mailing lists and ad campaigns
- Compiling sales reports and forecasts
Contact managers can help to improve productivity since a contact’s entire history is organized and readily available. Contact managers can also help salespeople to close more sales through improved efficiency and tracking of prospects and better follow up with existing cutomers. Most off-the-shelf contact managers will produce impressive results provided that the user takes the time to learn the software and faithfully utilizes the software’s organizational tools.
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April 10, 2006
Watch Your Step
Tip co-authored by: JFM Inspections, Inc.
“Watch Your Step” is a safety slogan we’ve all seen countless times. All too frequently, thermographers suffer injuries when engrossed in an inspection or disoriented by the display monitor of an infrared imager.
Thermography is a visual inspection technique that requires a thermographer to play close attention to an imager’s monitor screen. Due to their construction, some portable thermal imagers can present safety hazards by partially obstructing a thermographer’s vision. Other thermal imagers may cause a thermographer to loose his/her balance due to the different perspective of the images they display.
In addition to hazards presented by imaging equipment, thermographers engrossed in an inspection can easily lose touch with their physical surroundings. To help prevent accidents, keep the following in mind:
- Always maintain adequate situational awareness of your surroundings
- Prior to imaging, survey the worksite for any tripping or fall hazards
- Be sure of your footing and overhead hazards at all times
- Stay with your qualified assistant at all times
Lastly, be extra careful when working in low light conditions. Watching a monitor screen in low light can impair your night vision for up to several minutes after you have viewed the screen. Taking the time to watch your step when imaging can help to prevent personal injury and avoid damage to your equipment or a client’s facility.
Determining Maximum Operating Temperature for Motors
Operating temperature can have a significant impact on the service life of operating electric motors. Accurately determining maximum operating temperature for motors is critical for setting temperature limits.
One of the specifications for electric motors is maximum operating temperature. This temperature value is determined by several factors including, but not limited to, the motor’s insulation class. Exceeding the maximum temperature for a motor will shorten the life of the motor’s dielectric materials and will result in decreased service life for the motor.
In order to calculate a motor’s maximum rated temperature, one must know the motor’s ambient temperature rating and its rated temperature rise above ambient. Both of these values are generally found on the motor nameplate located on the exterior of the motor casing.
To calculate a motor’s maximum operating temperature, add the ambient and rated rise temperatures. Their sum is the maximum operating temperature for the subject motor at 100% load.
It is important to note that some motors specify insulation class rather than a numeric value for temperature rise. In such cases, it is necessary to know the operating limits for the insulation class of the subject motor.
The Infraspection Institute Guideline for Infrared Inspections of Electrical and Mechanical Equipment provides temperature limits for several common insulation classes of AC and DC motors. In addition to providing inspection procedures, it also provides temperature limit data for lubricants, bearings and seals. To order a copy of the Guideline, call 609-239-4788 or visit us online at www.infraspection.com.
A Bit Less Confusing
When it comes to infrared imager specifications, the term “bit” is frequently used to describe detectors, file sizes, and display screens. In this week’s Tip, we attempt to make this term a bit less confusing.
Bit is a common term in the computer industry used to describe quantities of data. One bit of data equals two levels of information; the number of data levels doubles with each successive increase in the number of bits. The chart below shows the relationship between bits and data levels.
For thermal imagers, the term bit is used to describe detector outputs, stored image sizes, and display screens. Modern imager detectors are usually specified at 12 to 16 bits (4096 to 65,536 levels of data). In general, either a 12 or 14 bit detector is sufficient for good image quality and allows stored images to be post processed.
Many modern thermal imagers are capable of digitally storing image files to removable media such as a PC card and/or the imager’s internal memory. Typical file storage is 12 bits or 4096 levels of data. Depending upon imager capabilities, stored image files can be recalled and post processed. In particular, level and gain settings may be adjusted within the imager or in manufacturer-supplied software. When stored thermal images are recalled, they are displayed on the imager’s monitor at 8 bits or 256 levels of color or grayscale.
Insurance for Thermographers
As thermography gains wider acceptance, the number of firms offering infrared inspections continues to grow. A common challenge among thermographers is obtaining appropriate insurance coverage for their inspection activities.
Insurance is a necessary expense in the modern business world. Depending upon a where a business is located, certain types of insurance (unemployment, automobile, workers compensation) and the amount of coverage may be mandated by law. General liability insurance which is designed to protect against an insured against a legal claim often evokes the greatest number of questions.
For professional thermographers, the challenge in obtaining the correct type of insurance and the amount of coverage will depend upon several factors. These include, but are not limited to, the location where work is to be performed, the types of inspections to be conducted, thermographer training and experience, and the content of any reports to be issued.
In order to best determine insurance needs, a thermographer should consult with their insurance broker or agent who can provide the best guidance on insurance options. In the absence of a current insurance professional, consider asking for a referral from another local business. When seeking insurance, consulting with more than one insurance professional will likely provide both policy and pricing options.
Infraspection has been training and certifying thermographers for over 25 years. Since 1983, our Certified Infrared Thermographer® program has been setting the standard for excellence among professional thermographers worldwide. For information on training courses and certification, contact Infraspection Institute at 609-239-4788 or visit www.infraspection.com.
Detecting Underground Pipe Leaks
Leaks are a common problem with underground piping systems. Under the correct conditions, infrared thermography can help to detect evidence of leaks from buried piping systems that carry hot or cold product.
When a leak develops in a buried piping system, fluid is lost to the surrounding earth. If a leak from a heated or cooled piping system is sufficiently large, a temperature change will occur at the surface of the ground in the vicinity of the pipe leak.
Leaks from buried piping are generally characterized by amorphously shaped thermal anomalies that appear along the pathway of the subject piping system. The ability to detect a pipe leak will be influenced by several interdependent factors including, but not limited to: pipe operating temperature, pipe system construction, burial depth, amount of loss, soil type and moisture content, and ground cover.
Infrared inspections of buried piping systems are best performed late at night with calm wind conditions. Inspections may be performed on foot, from a motor vehicle or from an aircraft. Performing the inspection late at night will eliminate the effects of solar loading and solar reflection.
During the inspection, the thermal imager is maneuvered over the pathway of the pipeline. Well-defined straight lines that correspond to the location of the buried lines generally indicate a healthy piping system. Amorphously shaped thermal anomalies that cannot be explained in terms of piping system construction or features may be indicative of pipe leaks and should be marked and subsequently investigated for cause.
Affiliate Marketing – How to Turn Your Website into a Profit Center
As the world wide web has matured, websites have become a business necessity filling a key role in the marketing, promotion and sales of many companies. In addition to direct sales, websites can generate additional revenue through a concept known as affiliate marketing.
Affiliate marketing represents one of the newest opportunities for websites to generate revenue. With the right content, affiliate marketing can generate sufficient revenue to turn an existing website into a profit center.
Affiliate marketing is a system of revenue sharing between websites. The primary participants are and Affiliate Partner and an Advertiser. With affiliate marketing, the Affiliate Partner features ads & content on his/her website that refer traffic or sales to an Advertiser’s website. The Affiliate Partner receives a fee based upon amount of traffic or sales generated for the Advertiser’s site. Simply defined, Affiliate Marketing is risk free advertising that rewards performance
Examples of highly successful affiliate marketing programs include Amazon.com and Google. Under the affiliate marketing concept, everybody wins. Advertisers gain exposure, Affiliates enjoy commissions and increased website relevance and traffic; and customers find new products and services via familiar websites. With the right ads, Affiliates can actually generate a positive cash flow for their website.
The Infraspection Institute Affiliate Partner program allows thermographers to turn their website into a profit center. The Infraspection AP program utilizes state-of-the-art software to automatically feed non-competitive ad content to your website. When customers place an order for any Infraspection product or service, Affiliate Partners earn a 5% commission. Best of all, the Infraspection AP program requires no capital investment and can actually help to increase your website’s prominence and traffic! For more information, visit: www.infraspection.com/affiliate_program_faq.html
Lightning is one of the most spectacular natural phenomena. For thermographers who work outdoors, it can present a serious safety hazard. This week’s Tip discusses how you can protect yourself from this serious safety hazard.
Each year, lightning kills an average of 67 people in the United States; hundreds more are injured. Few people really understand the dangers of lightning. Many fail to act promptly to protect their lives and property don’t understand the dangers associated with thunderstorms and lightning.
Thunderstorms are most likely to develop on warm summer days and go through various stages of growth, development and dissipation. On a sunny day, as the sun heats the air, pockets of warmer air start to rise in the atmosphere. When this air reaches a certain level in the atmosphere, cumulus clouds start to form. Continued heating can cause these clouds to grow vertically upward in the atmosphere into “towering cumulus” clouds. These towering cumulus may be one of the first indications of a developing thunderstorm.
During a thunderstorm, each flash of cloud-to-ground lightning is a potential killer. The determining factor on whether a particular flash could be deadly depends on whether a person is in the path of the lightning discharge. In addition to the visible flash that travels through the air, the current associated with the lightning discharge travels along the ground. Although some victims are struck directly by the main lightning stroke, many victims are struck as the current moves in and along the ground.
Lightning can strike as far as 10 miles away from the rain area in a thunderstorm. That’s about the distance you can hear thunder. When a storm is 10 miles away, it may even be difficult to tell a storm is coming.
IF YOU CAN HEAR THUNDER, YOU ARE WITHIN STRIKING DISTANCE. SEEK SAFE SHELTER IMMEDIATELY!
The first stroke of lightning is just as deadly as the last. If the sky looks threatening, take shelter before hearing thunder. Once indoors, stay away from windows and doors and avoid contact with anything that conducts electricity. Wait at least 30 minutes after the last clap of thunder before leaving shelter.
For more info on lightning safety, visit: www.lightningsafety.noaa.gov
The Impact of Adjusting Emissivity
As IR thermographers we often have to either image or measure surfaces that have low emissivities. An accepted practice is to alter those surfaces with temporary coatings such as paint, electrical tape, or other materials that increase the emissivity. The higher emissivity allows more accurate determination of the thermal patterns and more accurate measurement of the temperatures of the surface.
However, we usually ignore the fact that changing the emissivity will affect the actual temperature of the surface. We then measure, albeit more accurately, the CHANGED temperature. It is necessary that we recognize that this is happening in order to correctly report our results.
The surface temperature is governed by the flow of heat to the surface from behind it and the flow of heat from the surface to the surroundings. (I am discussing this as a heated surface. Similar considerations pertain to cooled surfaces.) The flow of heat from the surface to the surroundings occurs both by convection and radiation. The impact of the change of emissivity will significantly affect the radiative transfer. The convective transfer will be impacted by the change in the temperature difference between the surface and the surroundings and possibly, if the change is large enough, in a change in the heat transfer coefficient.
How important is this effect and what do we do about it? We can calculate the effect by examining the heat transfer of the particular system. This allows us to estimate not only the impact of the emissivity change, but also allows us to back calculate the temperature of the low emissivity surface that we could not measure.
As an example, I have calculated the impact on the surface temperature of changing the emissivity from 0.05 to 0.90 for two thicknesses of aluminized insulation that have a high temperature (2000°F) behind them and are exposed to room temperature (70°F) on the measurement side. The heat transfer on the hot side was taken as very high, similar to condensing vapor. Note that the results are specific to the case presented. For 1″ insulation the surface temperature drops from 304°F to 208°F for a change of 96°F. For 4″ insulation the temperature drops from 136°F to 111°F for a change of 25°F. Both of these are significant differences.
Infraspection Institute and Kleinfeld Technical Services, Inc. are preparing Distance Learning Tutorials on a variety of topics. A fuller discussion of this tip of the week is being considered as the subject of one of the tutorials. We would appreciate your feedback as to your interest areas for these tutorials. Please fill in the very short survey at this link: http://www.surveymonkey.com
This Tip of the Week was provided by:
Jack Kleinfeld, President
Kleinfeld Technical Services, Inc.
The Value of Level III Certification
Certification is one of the most frequently cited credentials for practicing infrared thermographers. In this Tip we discuss the importance of Level III certification and why thermographers need to train and certify to the highest level possible.
The advent of lower priced equipment has created greater public awareness and a dramatic increase in infrared imager sales. Sales of imagers to contractors, service companies, engineers and consultants are at an all-time high. As a result, many areas have seen an increase in competition among those who provide professional infrared inspection services.
In addition to an increase in the number of firms providing infrared inspection services, many infrared consultants are often competing with poorly trained thermographers with little or no field experience. The following practices can help customers and prospects appreciate the true value of an experienced consultant and to level the playing field in competitive situations.
Obtain quality training for all thermographers. Training should be from a recognized, independent training firm
Implement a meaningful written practice for your thermography program. This simple step serves as a blueprint for an infrared inspection program and helps to ensure quality
Emphasize thermographer field experience in addition to training. Clients often place value above low price and will spend more money for your services if they believe that you are better qualified than a lower priced competitor
Lastly, train and certify all thermographers to Level III. Training to minimal levels sends a poor message to clients and limits a thermographer’s knowledge base and revenue potential. Requiring Level III for all thermographers can provide a competitive advantage and increased profits.
Infraspection Institute has been training and certifying professional infrared thermographers since 1980. Our Level III Certified Infrared Thermographer® training course teaches the industry’s best practices and is fully compliant with ASNT and industry standards. Our highly experienced instructors provide up-to-date information vital to help maximize your program’s success and profits. For more information or to register for a class, call 609-239-4788 or visit us online at www.infraspection.com.
What is Image Fusion?
The more things change, the more they remain the same. This timeless observation is especially true when referring to the seemingly revolutionary image fusion feature found on some of today’s modern thermal imagers.
The fusion feature found on some modern thermal imagers is somewhat of a relic having been around since the early 1990’s. In simple terms, image fusion is a feature that allows a thermographer to produce composite imagery generated from a thermal image and a corresponding daylight image of the same subject.
Originally designed for the low-resolution imagers of the early 1990’s, composite imagery was achieved via a CCD camera affixed to the thermal imager. The thermal imager’s onboard computer was used to combine daylight and infrared imagery into a single image. During the 1990’s composite imagery did not gain significant market share and was all but forgotten with advances in imager resolution.
In 2006, some manufacturers began to offer composite imagery capabilities on modern imagers. The principle of modern composite imagery is largely the same as in years past; however, today’s imagery is vastly improved over yesteryear due to increased resolution of both thermal imagers and the daylight cameras featured on them.
By utilizing imager controls or software on composite-capable imagers, thermographers can select color palettes as well as the amount of image blending. Images may be stored to PC card or recorded to videotape in real time. The recent resurrection of composite imagery offers several advantages:
- More precise correlation of thermal data with daylight imagery
- Potential reduction in number of images required within hardcopy reports
- Ability to easily convey information to recipients of reports or imagery
Although features such as composite imagery can help to demystify thermal imaging, the proper conduct on an infrared inspection still relies upon a properly trained and experienced thermographer. For more information on thermographer training and certification, call Infraspection Institute at 609-239-4788 or visit us online at www.infraspection.com.
Infraspection Institute and Kleinfeld Technical Services, Inc. are preparing Distance Learning Tutorials on a variety of topics. We would appreciate your feedback as to your interest areas for these tutorials. Please fill in the very short survey at this link: http://www.surveymonkey.com