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Thermal Imaging

LGRM are specialist in Thermal Imaging of electrical supplies and components and are able to search out hazardous electrical faults that could cause serious issues before they happen.

Thermal Imaging

Thermal Imaging has evolved into one of the most valuable diagnostic tools used for Predictive Maintenance (PM). Also known as Thermography, Thermal Imaging is the production of non-contact infrared, or “heat” pictures from which temperature measurements can be made. By detecting anomalies often invisible to the naked eye, thermography allows corrective action before costly system failures occur. Portable infrared (IR) imaging systems scan electrical systems, then constantly convert the thermal images to visible pictures for quantitive temperature analysis.

Besides loose connections, electrical systems suffer from load imbalances, corrosion, and Increase in impedance to current. Thermography can quickly locate hot spots, determine the severity of the problem, and help establish the time frame in which the equipment should be repaired.rmographic systems are commonly used for electrical inspections. As electrical connections become loose, there is a resistance to current that can cause an increase in temperature. This increased temperature can then cause components to fail, potentially resulting in unplanned outages and injuries. In addition, the efficiency of an electrical grid becomes low prior to failure, thus energy is spent generating heat, causing unnecessary losses. If left unchecked, heat can rise to a point where connections melt and break the circuit; as a result, fires may occur.

Thermal ImagingThermography is very useful when inspecting indoor components such as motor control centres, breaker panels, disconnect switches and transformers.

The Electricity at Work Regulations of 1989 places a “duty of care” on employers and landlords to maintain electrical systems to prevent danger where otherwise it may exist. In many cases traditional inspection and test work is not feasible; where supplies are impossible to isolate such as hospitals, prisons, factories etc.

Whilst it is imperative to carry out as much inspection and test work as possible, thermal imaging is an effective way of determining the presence of potential problems within the electrical distribution system without the need to isolate circuits. Images can be taken of key connections and switchgear and along with visual inspections and live testing can form a means to meeting your obligations under legislation.

Who is responsible?

Realistically, everybody has a duty to ensure the safety of others whilst at work; however, the Duty Holder will have ultimate responsibility for electrical safety. If nobody at your place of work is clear on who that is, then the responsibility falls on the most senior person. It is important to know who has the responsibility for safety and welfare of staff in order to establish that compliance is achieved.

What does it involve?

Thermal Imaging involves an Engineer visiting your premises armed with a powerful camera that uses infra-red technology to detect heat. Most electrical parts that are damaged or ready to fail will generate heat; the camera will detect excessive heat in relation to the ambient temperature which will alert the engineer to a potential problem. The engineer will be trained to recognise whether the heat is sufficient to warrant further investigation, upon which the client will be notified. Generally speaking, thermal images can be taken by simply removing the cover or barrier to a piece of electrical distribution equipment, and does not require isolation.

Will it impact on my workplace?

In theory there should be no impact whatsoever other than an Engineer being present on site visiting each key electrical location. Providing you communicate with the engineer and provide access to each location, there will be no impact and your business will not be affected.

What will I receive?

Upon completion of a thermal imaging survey you will receive a report that details the following:

  • Installation details and characteristics
  • Schedule of items tested and inspected
  • A thermal image and standard digital image of piece of equipment surveyed
  • Recommendations for any further investigation required along with an explanation.

How much will it cost?

Thermal Imaging is charged using a day rate which can be anywhere between £260 and £600 dependant on location, access, time and volume of images taken. An engineer can comfortably survey 40 pieces of equipment in a day, providing access is arranged.

What could happen if I don’t do it?

There are many reasons not to do electrical testing and inspections, such as cost, inconvenience, or lack of knowledge. However none of these reasons will be accepted as a defence in the event that an accident or fire occurs. Most insurers now request that thermal imaging is implemented as part of a PPM system. Aside from the threat of prosecution in the event of injury or death, surely the safety of your colleagues, employees and belongings are reason enough to test and inspect electrical systems at work.

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