Infrared inspections of electrical, mechanical and structural systems can be used for predictive maintenance, condition monitoring, quality assurance, and forensic investigations. When combined with timely, effective repairs, infrared inspections can help to reduce unscheduled plant shutdowns and/or and eliminate catastrophic equipment failures.
Infrared inspections should only be performed by experienced thermographers who have been trained and certified by a recognized, independent training organization. Currently published standards require that thermographers have an understanding of infrared theory, heat transfer concepts and the construction and theory of the system(s) being inspected in order to understand the observed patterns of infrared radiation.
Thermographers are also required to understand how environmental and physical conditions will affect test results and how to properly select and use test equipment appropriate for the task at hand.
Infrared inspections can be accomplished by either in-house teams or the services of a qualified outside contractor. Because of their extensive experience, an infrared consultant’s findings and recommendations are likely to be more accurate than those of a part-time, in-house team.
With an infrared consultant, there is no capital expense for infrared equipment and the time required for program implementation is greatly reduced.
Prior to engaging an outside infrared inspection firm, one should ascertain thermographer training, certification level and years experience in providing the types of inspections required. Be sure to ask for professional references for the firm as well as insurance coverage and experience modifier rating.
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