Why get a thermographic survey done?
The intention of a thermographic survey is to identify any anomalies in the working temperatures within electrical systems. Irregular high temperatures of electrical components of connection are often a sign of imminent or possible faults. Identifying these faults early is key so that repair action can be undertaken to reduce risk of the escalation of the fault.
Electrical Equipment often fails due to faulty components, incorrect installation, loose connections or fatigue. These all have one thing in common the early indication is increased heat. They will have indications of high temperature and heat spots not always indicative to a visual inspection.
This is recognised by the institution and technology (IET) so they advise the benefits of carrying out thermographic surveys of an electrical distribution system. This can be a supplement to any hard wire tests that are carried out.
When should I consider carrying out a thermographic survey?
Thermographic surveys are valuable checks for large complex 24/7 operations where electrical equipment cannot be switched off. Due to the nature of business isolation of supplies becomes increasingly difficult and costly where power is critical for operation. An example of this could be a Hospital or a factory production line.
These installations require to be in service at all times so it is imperative to get early indication of faults. It is recommended that Periodic Thermographic surveys are carried out to maintain good service of all equipment.
What Guidance if any is available?
The IEE Wiring regulations 17th Edition BS 7671:2008 Guidance note 3, inspection and testing.
When is the best time to get a thermographic survey?
The best time is when as many circuits and system are still in operation and working as close to full working load as this is the optimum time to detect faults and weaknesses in the systems.
To get the maximum benefit of the survey, the suggestion is to remove covers and open doors wherever safe and possible, as the camera will measure the surface temperature. If this is not possible the camera can still measure excessive temperatures as they radiate to covers and doors or nearby surfaces.
What equipment are typically included within a thermographic survey?
Electrical equipment in the first instance which cannot be isolated or equipment which might give a cause for concern. The methodical approach is to start at source of supply and out to final circuits. However, this is not always possible so preparation is to be made to maximise the efficiency of the engineer’s time whilst he would be attending the site.
The following would be included, this is not exhaustive;
Main LV Transformer
- Mains Incoming Switch
- Mains Distribution
- Sub Distribution
- Consumer Units
- Supplies to Fixed Equipment
- Cables emanating from substations, MCCs, control panels and distribution boards
- Motor or Motor control equipment/wiring of systems integral to the plant and operation.
What are the outcomes from a thermographic survey?
Any problems or potential problems during the course of the survey will be photographed with both thermal and digital images in our report. Eurotech would give an explanation as the cause of the problems identified wherever possible. In the survey report we will list all of the equipment surveyed for reference purposes this will satisfy EaWR 1989 and BS7671:2008.
Eurotech will systematically survey all electrical distribution within the location as well as all the switchgear and, where applicable, the infrastructure if possible. When the work is carried out with the assistance of the client this is the most effective. Eurotech would require the client to show all areas and equipment that need to be surveyed, providing access to locked areas as well as providing the fastest and most direct route.
The thermographic report will be produced and issued in a hard and soft copy. There will be a list of any remedial actions required and we would also provide a quotation to repair all faults identified.