Electrical thermal imaging - what can it be used for?

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Electrical thermal imaging - what can it be used for?

In this article, we’re taking a look at thermal imaging. How does it work, and where can it be used?

Say cheese! Cameras have come a long way since they came to prominence in the 19th century... to the point now where we all have them by default in our pockets and bags!

There are specialist cameras around though that can make our lives a lot easier, including thermal imaging cameras.

What is thermal imaging?

Thermal imaging is often referred to as thermography, a thermographic survey or thermographic testing. It is when an Infrared (IR) camera is used to take photos.

Infrared cameras identify heat. The more heat that comes off an object or a person, the brighter the colours that appear.

Example of thermal imaging

Thermal imaging can be used to solve a range of different issues. For example, IR cameras can be used to see where homes and buildings are losing energy through gaps in the walls or floors

However, we’re most interested in using IR cameras to identify electrical faults

Our engineers use thermal imaging on electrical installations to see how they are functioning. This means thermal imaging can identify faulty electrical equipment and installations before they stop working, saving time and money

Issues thermal imaging can spot include:

  • Overheating cables or motors
  • Loose, worn and corroded connections
  • Damage and wear to electrical insulation
  • Overloaded fuses and blown fuses (interestingly, blown fuses will be cooler than usual and show up blue)
  • Damp and mould in electrical installations

Can’t you just use EICR to find out if installations are faulty?

Good question. In most scenarios, EICR reporting can be used to pinpoint ineffective electrical equipment. However, this requires that the power is switched off or isolated.

The main benefit of thermal imaging is that it can be carried out while equipment is still working, meaning no disruption or inconvenience to your business.

Where is electrical thermal imaging used?

In the past, only large companies relied on thermal imaging as it was very expensive. However, as time has moved on, technology has become more affordable.

Thermal imaging is commonly used in places where turning off the power will pose a health & safety risk or cause disruption. For example, hospitals, universities, laboratories and prisons.

We carry out thermal imaging for Severfield, a factory in North Yorkshire. They have over 200 distribution boards that need testing. Turning them off would disrupt the factory’s assembly line. Using a thermal imaging camera, we can check the distribution boards and identify damage without turning off the power.

The other benefit of this is that our engineers can identify potential issues before they stop the boards from working. This means Severfield can get faulty distribution boards repaired or replaced before they halt manufacturing.

Need thermal imaging? Hawkesworth can help

If you think thermal imaging would benefit your business, we offer a high-quality, professional service.

Our engineer will attend site to check all of your assets at a time convenient to you. After the service, we will provide you with a detailed report that shows photos of all your electrical installations, temperatures logged and our engineer’s recommendations.

Keep your business fully operational with thermal imaging. Contact us today for your free, no-obligation quote.


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