Thermal imaging, or Infrared (IR) scans, can identify an object’s temperature by detecting infrared signatures of light to measure heat. Traditional methods of monitoring an electrical system cannot immediately detect the impact arcing, imbalanced loads, excessive harmonics, loose terminations, corroded terminations, and failing equipment have on an electrical system. Thermal imaging is used for monitoring, diagnostic, and preventative maintenance, as it accurately identifies problem areas and allows engineers to suggest corrective measures to prevent catastrophic failures such as fires and determine solutions to ensure safer working environments. Excessive heat will cause electrical components to fail prematurely, often catastrophically. After losing multiple buildings due to catastrophic electrical fires, a prospective client hired ISG to review existing electrical systems throughout its other facilities. ISG’s seasoned team of electrical engineers identified several cables and components beyond temperature ratings, as well as some poor connections that needed to be cleaned and properly tightened. ISG provided recommendations for replacements and the issues were expeditiously corrected prior to any further failures. These proactive actions prevented the client from losing their insurance carrier—allowing them to continue operations.

While IR scans are primarily used to improve safety and prevent electrical fires, there are additional benefits to performing IR scans on your facility’s electrical equipment. IR scans can detect failing components from the onset and allow the facility to prepare and schedule an outage for repairs or maintenance. Taking a proactive approach to system maintenance reduces downtime, allows time to budget for associated repair or replacement costs, and prevents having to pay emergency repair rates or expedited shipping on equipment. IR scans can also improve system performance by detecting problematic conditions like imbalanced loads and excessive harmonics. Correcting these issues can help reduce long-term utility costs and prevent equipment from failing prematurely. Many insurance companies also offer benefits for facilities that include IR scans as part of their regular maintenance.

Whether you are currently experiencing electrical issues or would like to be proactive and implement IR scanning for preventative maintenance, ISG is here to help. ISG’s innovative use of thermal imaging equipment help identify potential issues and streamline practical solutions.  The firm can also provide recommendations to correct any issues that are identified during the assessment, and associated cost estimates so that you can plan maintenance budgets.

Blog Written By: Casey Larsen, PE and Jason Wijas, PE

Chris DeWaal

Meet Chris DeWaal

With an extensive background in industrial and commercial electrical design, Chris’ breadth of design expertise ranges from electrical power distribution and lighting, to power generation. Chris provides electrical studies including...