Commercial properties have some very specific needs that residential properties do not have.
Many commercial properties use a large amount of electricity daily. This can be for lighting, computer servers, workstations, and other office equipment. It can be business specific such as an X-Ray machine in a physician’s office, or electric powered kitchen equipment in a commercial kitchen. The economics of higher voltages and 3 phase power demonstrate that 480 V power is routinely available. The NFPA Code 70E applies to all voltages over 50V AC.
Thermal Imaging can detect many electrical faults before they become evident to other testing. Loose or corroded connections generate heat, which is easily measured and recorded with an IR camera. Taking images with the circuits at load enables the maintenance staff to evaluate the recommendations of a trained thermographer and the images. They can then choose to plan maintenance in advance, when machinery will be idled, when parts are on hand and the work scheduled.
This process is known as Predictive Maintenance. Predictive Maintenance (PdM) is non-destructive testing. This is different from Preventative Maintenance due to the timing of tasks depends on testing indicators, not the simple passage of time. Lubrication intervals can be timed to the length of operations. Replacing bearings or fuses will be more effectively timed with testing for the potential to fail.
There are several techologies used in Predictive Maintenance. Thermal Imaging joins Ultra-Sonics, Vibration Analysis, Oil Analysis and others as a suite of PdM approaches for industry.
The Energy Guy can provide Thermal Imaging for smaller concerns that are not large enough to justify the equipment expense and training for one employee. These concerns can benefit from the periodic IR services provided on a frequency determined by management and the actual PdM needs. Budgeting for this expense can then be spread through out the year.
Thermal Imaging for PdM can be done for any process that produces a temperature difference. Friction from bearings, electrical current are only two sources of heat. Cooling equipment such as a cooling tower or fins on larger transformers have a thermal signature that can be evaluated before problems occur. Steam lines, operating machinery, and other processes can benefit.
Sometimes the trained Thermographer can use natural conditions to create a temperature difference. This would be demonstrated by using the sun to identify wet and dry areas of a built up roof, or the sludge levels, and liquid levels in large outside storage tanks.