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Thermal imaging is the capture and conversion of Infrared radiation (IR) to the visible spectrum.  IR radiation is radiated (sent out from) all objects that have a temperature above 0 Kelvin (-273°C).  This radiation will have a wavelength that is specific for its temperature and emittance.  Emittance is the measure of an object to receive and emit IR measured between 0-1.

There are many misconceptions surrounding the use of thermal imaging due to the way it is has been displayed in movies, some of these misconceptions include:

  • Inability of thermal imaging to see through walls,
  • Thermal imaging does not detect temperature, it detects heat energy,
  • Thermal Imaging cannot see through clothing and
  • Thermal imaging cannot see through glass.

There are two main ways in which thermal imaging is analysed, being either qualitative, or quantitative.  Quantitative analysis is more complex as it involves finding the exact temperatures of components and requires the use of additional external consumables to modify the emissivity of an object and is not typically necessary.  Qualitative analysis is more commonly used for thermal imaging as it requires less setup and no use of external consumables.  Instead components temperatures are compared to similar components to find a thermal variance (temperature difference) between them.  This will not find exact temperatures, however it allows for easy identification of hot spots which may indicate problems.  Thermal Scanners typically offer qualitative analysis for all services, however if requested and agreed upon, a quantitative analysis can be completed at additional cost due to the higher level of training and consumables required.

Thermal imaging can be useful for many different applications involving identification of heat energy.  However most faults and problems involving thermal energy cannot be detected by the naked eye,   Some of these problems can include:

  • Electrical thermal imaging
    • Faulty components,
    • Loose connections, and
    • Unbalanced loads.
  • Mechanical thermal imaging
    • High friction areas,
    • Faulty Components, and
    • Misalignment of shafts.
  • Cold Room Insulation
    • Insulation gaps,
    • Seals around entrances and exits from cold rooms, and
    • Quality check of panel installations.
  • Solar
    • Defective Photovoltaic (PV) solar cells,
    • Storm damage assessments, and 
    • Solar hot water systems
  • Drone Thermal Inspections
    • Solar Cells,
    • Large electrical components such as over-head wires, and
    • Other dangerous and areas with poor access.

Thermal imaging requires specialised training to be able to account for various phenomena that are encountered during thermal imaging surveys.  All Thermal Scanners technicians have received specialised training in thermography.  Some of the phenomena that must be accounted for include:

  • Emissivity of components scanned,
  • Reflectivity of other heat sources,
  • Load of electrical circuits,
  • Angle of thermal camera to components, and
  • Interpretation of results.

Thermal imaging is considered to be a non-destructive testing method, as it can be performed on operational components without damaging them.  The benefits of this are two-fold, first enabling components to be examined / tested during normal operation conditions helps to highlight and show the normal operating temperatures.  Second, thermal imaging does not require a costly shutdown to examine components.  One key requirement of thermal imaging is that the examined equipment must be under normal load during inspection.  The benefits of thermal imaging vary depending on the area it is utilised within, however share some key common factors:

  • Saving cost due to:
    • Preventing unexpected shutdowns and loss of productivity,
    • Planning maintenance, and
    • Only replacing faulty components.
  • Increasing safety:
    • Preventing fires,
    • Breakdown of components.
  • Data collection through annual inspections:
    • Assessing trends,
    • Cost projections.
  • Quality Assurance for manufacturing and installation of equipment.

Why would you obtain Thermal scanning?  There are a variety of reasons that one may obtain thermal scanning these can include:

  • Insurance
    • To obtain business or landlord insurance as required by insurer,
    • To potentially reduce premiums for insurance policies.
  • Quality Assurance
    • Such as a pre-purchase due diligence check of commercial sites,
    • Ensuring quality of installation job such as electrical or cold room.
  • Cost minimisation
    • Reduce cost of electrical or mechanical faults by replacing parts before they fail
    • Reduce risk of costly fires or failures.

Protect your assets today! If you’re looking for the following:

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Fast and effective way to prevent costly electrical repairs

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Ensure the safety of your facilities, employees and the general public

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Ensure the highest level of performance for all electrical systems

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Reduce the risk of breakdowns, critical faults and downtime

Call us at Thermal Scanners today to book your thermal inspection or for a free no-obligation quote - 1300 309 562