Thermography Success Stories

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Thermography success stories

Infrared thermography surveys can offer valuable insight into the condition of an electrical system. Here are some examples of how infrared surveys revealed problems that otherwise could have gone undetected. If these problems were not identified, electrical system breakdown or failure could have resulted, possibly leading to property damage, business interruption, and other costly losses.  

Sugar cane mill

An annual thermography survey of the electrical switch gear revealed a hot connection within an electrical breaker that supplied a critical motor on the mill processing line. At first, our thermographer learned that the line could not be taken down to replace the faulty breaker even though a spare was on the premises. However, the mechanical crew was planning to shut down the line for half a shift in several days. This scheduled shutdown allowed the electrical crew to replace the faulty electrical breaker during the outage, thus avoiding a second shutdown, which would have resulted in thousands of dollars of lost production and wages.

High-rise office building

Several hot spots were found during an annual thermography survey. Each of the hot spots was identified as potentially resulting in subsequent damage to adjoining components, which could shut down 25 percent of the building, including at least one elevator. By making the repairs during the evening hours when the building was nearly empty, there was no service interruption and minimal repair cost. Had the repairs not been completed after hours, it was very likely an entire work day would have been needed to complete the repairs.

Manufacturing plant

While conducting an infrared survey of a manufacturing plant's electrical equipment, a thermographer scanned a utility-owned transformer that was the sole source of electrical power to the location. The "C" phase bushing showed an extremely high temperature reading.

The plant's facilities management immediately notified the utility company of the situation. The power company was able to respond and make the needed repair without causing a power interruption to the plant.

Had the loose connection gone undetected, the loss of electrical power to the plant would have resulted in a plant shutdown for several days, even though the replacement or repair of the transformer may have taken only a day. The interruption of a sudden power outage would have resulted in thousands of dollars in spoiled product and hundreds of manhours of clean-up before production could have been restored.

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Ronald (JR) Smith, AVP

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