Infrared Survey Steps

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Steps for a successful survey

Hartford Steam Boiler successful surveys

To get the most out of an infrared survey, it is important to make an informed choice of inspection partner. Here are some guidelines that can help to ensure success

  • Select a qualified, experienced firm
  • Choose the right technology to deliver the best results
  • Understand what needs to be done before, during and after the survey
  • Expect a detailed written assessment of the findings with accompanying images and recommendations
Select a qualified infrared thermographer

A properly qualified professional infrared thermographer will provide, at a minimum:

  • A written practice program that meets the recommended practices section, SNT-TC-1A, of The American Society of Nondestructive Testing, Inc.
  • A program that is audited by a third party
  • The ability to provide reports in hard copy, as well as electronically
  • References on request

Many think that doing an infrared survey is like taking a photograph, but there is much more to it. A meaningful survey depends on the technician’s ability to interpret the image. HSB believes that proper training and certification is essential for any qualified technician. We use a third party, Snell Infrared, to audit our program. Our thermographers are full-time employees with five to 25 years of experience conducting surveys for businesses in North America, the Caribbean, United Kingdom, Europe and Southeast Asia.

HSB training meets or exceeds stringent industry standards to ensure quality. The American Society for Nondestructive Testing, Inc., a nationally recognized organization that oversees all disciplines of nondestructive testing, has established recommended practices for thermal/infrared testing. These involve several phases that qualify a specialist for certification at two levels, including:

  • Forty hours of classroom study and academic testing for each level of training
  • Successful completion of a separate exam that tests knowledge of theory and demonstration of practical skills
  • Monitored and documented on-the-job work experience for each level of training
  • Adherence to a written practices program – ideally monitored by a neutral third party – that outlines qualifications, certifications, training, experience and examinations taken
Infrared video or scan gun: Choose the right technology

Two technologies are available for infrared scans: “scan guns” that produce a digital temperature reading of the area at which they are pointed, and infrared video cameras that produce an image along with the temperature reading. HSB uses cameras because they offer several advantages:

  • Accuracy
  • Speed, safety, and ease of use
  • Ability to detect reflective conditions
  • Permanent, easily interpreted records

Accuracy. Accuracy using a scan gun depends on placing the gun as close as possible to the spot being measured. Readings from a distance using a scan gun must be averaged, which limits accuracy. The digital infrared video camera provides an accurate view of the radiated thermal energy at every point within a broad field of view, allowing it to be used from a distance.

Speed, safety and ease of use. A scan gun makes it impossible to accurately evaluate more than one component at a time. This makes the whole survey extremely time consuming. Most infrared cameras have zoom capabilities, enabling the technician to do an initial scan at a wide field of view to look for hot spots, then zoom in to evaluate areas of interest more precisely.

From a safety standpoint, the infrared scan gun requires close-in work near fully loaded circuits and/or hot equipment, increasing the exposure of personnel to serious conditions.

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HSB Thermography Services
Ronald (JR) Smith, AVP

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