Role of IR Inspections for Electrical Distribution Systems
Infrared inspections can be a valuable tool for detecting problems within electrical distribution systems. Understanding when and where to utilize thermography is key to obtaining maximum benefit.
Infrared inspections can detect and document evidence of loose/deteriorated connections, overloaded circuits, imbalanced loads, harmonics, and defective equipment. In some cases, infrared inspections can detect evidence of problems that may be overlooked by traditional electrical testing. Infrared inspections should be used to supplement, but not replace, regular preventive maintenance.
When setting up an IR inspection program for an electrical distribution system, keep the following in mind:
- Inspections should be performed at least annually
- Inspections should be conducted with the electrical system under normal load
- Inspections require clear line-of-sight to inspected components
- When possible, IR inspections should be performed 4 to 6 weeks in advance of a PM shutdown to allow time to order any necessary parts
- Exceptions should be reinspected after repair to help ensure that repairs were effective
- All new/retrofitted equipment should be inspected within 24 hours of installation
- All findings should be documented in writing in accordance with the Standard for Infrared Inspection of Electrical Systems and Rotating Equipment
Lastly, infrared inspections should only be performed by certified infrared thermographers who possess appropriate safety training and are thoroughly familiar with the system(s) being inspected.
For more information on thermographer training and certification or to obtain a copy of the Standard for Infrared Inspection of Electrical Systems and Rotating Equipment, contact Infraspection Institute at 609-239-4788 or visit us online at www.infraspection.com.
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