Maintenance and Inspection

Infrared imaging can be used to detect bad connections in electrical systems, from computer motherboards to power stations. IR cameras are also used by building inspectors to test pipework, insulation, and even detect rodents under the floorboards.

Electrical Systems

A faulty wiring connection glows brightly in the IR

Infrared imaging is widely used in the computer industry for the testing of PC boards, microprocessors, and disc drives. A bad PC board will have hot spots where electrical connections are incomplete. Bad components are easily detected in infrared images because they draw too much current and overheat.

Power companies use infrared imaging in substations and on transformers to detect damaged or faulty connectors. Bad connectors can overheat when handling high current loads. By searching for overheating, power companies can locate and replace bad connectors before they fail and subject streets or entire neighborhoods to blackouts.

Mechanical Systems

Ball bearings are important elements in many machines. Friction in a bearing causes the temperature inside it to increase. Excessively high temperature in a bearing can cause it to fail. Infrared imaging can detect an increase in bearing temperature and head off a failure by letting a maintenance crew know that the bearing needs to be serviced.

Using thermal infrared imaging to check for cracks and leaks in a water, chemical or gas pipeline can reveal areas that are weak or defective, allowing repairs to be made before a rupture occurs. Building inspectors can also identify cracks in concrete walls that might be a sign that a building is at higher risk of collapse.

Infrared imaging is particularly useful when doing building maintenance, as it helps to identify damaged elements and/or systems that need to be repaired or replaced, such as loose or corroded electrical connections, broken seals in windows and doors where energy is being wasted, gaps in insulation, mold, moisture in walls, and even the heat signature of rodents under floorboards or behind drywall.

Published: 02 August, 2013

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