Infrared Thermography

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Infrared thermography

Hartford Steam Boiler Infrared thermography

Identifying and rectifying equipment issues before they become problems is a critical part of averting loss and maintaining uninterrupted service. Routine inspections and preventive maintenance can reduce failures, but they cannot reliably identify trouble spots.

More than meets the eye

An infrared survey can help keep small issues from becoming disasters. Repairing a loose connection– easily found with a thermographic scan – might cost only $100. If undetected, that same connection could result in a fire. That might mean injury, loss of life or damage that makes the whole building unfit for occupancy and shuts your business down.

Thermographic scans are a wise investment. Industry sources show that the monetary savings they produce can be 20 times as much as the initial cost of the survey. This does not include the potential losses due to damage associated with fire. 

How infrared thermography works

All electrical and mechanical equipment radiates heat. Infrared video cameras that are sensitive to this thermal radiation, detect and measure the temperature differences between surfaces. The cameras then convert the information and display it as an image visible to the human eye, allowing us to “see” a heat signature.

Abnormal or unexpected thermal patterns typically indicate a problem with the equipment, including conditions such as:

  • Loose electrical connections
  • Overloaded circuits or phases
  • Deteriorated or damaged insulation
  • Bearing failure
  • Insufficient lubrication
  • Steam leaks

These and other issues show up as hot spots that a trained professional can interpret to determine the likely cause and potential remedy.

Thermography examples

These real-world equipment examples demonstrate the effective use of infrared thermography.

Overheated transformer bushing 

This transformer experienced an internal problem that manifested itself as an overheated bushing. Within 24 hours, it was removed from service and the back-up unit was installed. This averted potential spoilage of millions of dollars in agricultural products.

Under-lubricated motor bearing 

The bearing on the driving end of this motor was reading 187 degrees F, more than 60 degrees above ambient. Upon examination, it was discovered that the lubrication was insufficient. Correcting the problem prevented failure of the motor.

A properly operating steam trap 

Not all hot spots indicate a problem. This image shows a steam trap that is operating properly. Faulty steam traps waste energy; infrared thermography is an invaluable tool for readily detecting them so they can be repaired.

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Ronald (JR) Smith, AVP

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© 2019 The Hartford Steam Boiler Inspection and Insurance Company. All rights reserved. This is intended for informational purposes only and does not modify or invalidate any of the provisions, exclusions, terms or conditions of the policy and endorsements. For specific terms and conditions, please refer to the coverage form.


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