The Ins and Outs of an Infrared Inspection Service

A Q&A with Bret Bevis, Managing Director of SEAM Group Asia.

By using infrared technology in electrical inspections, you’re able to increase the safety and reliability of your equipment, while also reducing the risk of fire or downtime.

What is infrared technology and how does it work?

Infrared thermal technology detects abnormal thermal patterns that can indicate a defect exists. We use infrared devices and cameras with sensors that give us a radiographic image that plots temperature. Most operating equipment has a thermal signature. If the image found by an infrared device doesn’t look right or if the temperature is warmer than it should be, you know there’s a problem.

How does infrared technology minimize the risk of electrical failure and fire?

By using infrared technology in electrical inspections, you’re able to increase the safety and reliability of your equipment, while also reducing the risk of fire or downtime. Infrared technology helps you determine problems and criticality before a serious issue occurs. And given the fact that poor electrical connections are overwhelmingly the main factor in fires and other dangerous situations, this is critical to minimizing risk.

What’s included with an infrared inspection service?

Infrared inspections should be carried out by certified thermographers. They use their qualified training to execute all phases of the inspection. This includes making sure equipment covers are removed so there is a direct line of sight to electrical connections during the inspection. An infrared device is used, along with a digital camera, to property document any issues with the equipment. Then, the criticality of each issue is determined, and the recommended repair noted.

Why is it important to identify potential risks and threats in my company’s assets, facilities, processes, and documentation?

Safety. Infrared inspections improve the safety of your people and the reliability of your energized assets. Electrical failures can occur over time. The key to avoiding the risk of fire, injuries, costly remediation, unavoidable downtime, and even insurance cost spikes, is regular predictive maintenance that utilizes infrared technology.

How do I know if I need inspection services?

A good question to ask yourself is, “Do I use electricity?” If the answer is yes – which it probably is – then you need inspection services. The National Fire Protection Association recommends infrared inspections at least once per year, and many insurance companies may actually require these types of services. Another good question is, “Do I want to save money?” By staying on top of your maintenance with inspection services, you’ll enjoy inherent energy and cost savings.

What are the benefits of working with an asset management and optimization company?

These types of companies should offer certified, qualified professionals to help manage and optimize your energized assets. They will also likely provide additional, complementary services like lockout / tagout programs and arc flash hazards assessments that can help ensure a comprehensive approach to safety, reliability, and maintenance. ESW

Bret Bevis is a Managing Director at SEAM Group LLC, a global leader in energized asset performance-focused on delivering safety, reliability, and maintenance solutions to some of the world’s largest companies. Inspecting more than one million assets per year, SEAM Group offers a proven platform that combines strategic advisory and consulting services, custom training, advanced technology, and actionable data management to position customers for success (www.seamgroup.com).

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