for electrical troubleshooting and predictive/preventive maintenance
If you'd known that bearing was about to fail, of course you would have stopped the motor. So often, changes in heat are a key indicator of costly equipment failure – but who has time to take regular measurements? Technology may have the answer. New infrared thermometers sport such high distance to spot ratios that technicians can now accurately measure multiple instruments from the same spot.
Infrared thermometer applications in industrial process maintenance
Identifying Overloaded Circuit Breakers
Non-contact temperature measurements can make it easy to find a circuit breaker at or near capacity. If you are measuring high energy electrical circuits, use extreme caution and wear proper protective equipment.
Finding bad or failing electrical connections
Failures in industrial electrical wiring are frequently caused by loose or corroded terminations and poorly crimped or aging wire connections. These bad connections generally create a resistive connection, and with current flow they generate heat (P = I2R), often leading to open circuit conditions that can cause electrical fires and other safety hazards. Use extreme caution and wear proper protective equipment when working near high energy electrical circuits. A termination that measures 5 degrees F more than similar terminations indicates a connection in need of attention.
The distance to spot ratio compares accuracy to distance. The higher the ratio, further away your thermometer can be from the target and still take an accurate measurement.
Troubleshooting steam systems
Steam is a common source of heating in many manufacturing processes and facilities. Steam can be produced with regular boilers, boilers fired by combustible by-products, or from water piped through by-product incinerators. The steam is then piped, often over great distances, to the process areas for deployment.
Even though the pipes are insulated, the heat of the steam drops over distance, causing condensation. Condensate (water) in the steam lines reduces the effective energy of the steam and can cause difficulties in many steam driven processes. Steam traps are specifically designed to remove condensate from steam lines.
Insulation testing: To check piping and boiler insulation for hot spots, take an infrared survey.
Steam Traps: If a steam trap fails while open, it will leak steam, causing an energy loss. If it fails while closed, it won't remove condensate from the steam line, making it inefficient. A faulty steam trap can cost a plant $500 or more per year, and industrial steam traps typically fail at a 10% rate. Since many large process plants have upward of 1,000 traps, they can quickly become a high value maintenance target.
Ideally, the steam trap has an input of steam and an intermittent output of condensate.
Tracking motor wear through bearing beat
By regularly measuring motor bearing housings with an infrared thermometer, you can predict when motors need maintenance and optimize their life cycle.