What Makes Thermal Imaging Cameras Useful
Updated 2021-10-15 18:47:05

What Makes Thermal Imaging Cameras Useful?

Key Applications You Need To Know

by Brent Lammert

 

Thermal imaging isn’t just a way to capture images on the infrared spectrum, allowing you to see what you can’t capture with the naked eye. What makes thermal imaging cameras worthwhile is the myriad of possibilities that come with those images. It’s an illuminating solution that can help you outperform your competition. It can save money, prevent catastrophe, and even save lives.

 

Discover just a few of the applications for thermal cameras to diagnose otherwise invisible problems while revealing the best possible solutions.

 

Applications Where Thermal Imaging Is Useful

Thermal imaging is used in surprising ways across a wide range of industries. It’s used in healthcare and veterinary offices to quickly assess body temperature from a distance. Pest control, animal rescue and termite detection use thermal imaging. First responders and law enforcement also regularly use thermal imaging to ensure public health and safety, participate in search and rescue efforts, and detect illegal activity.

 

But beyond that, many types of contractors, technicians and engineers can benefit from portable thermal imaging devices. Check out the following applications that will help individual professionals and entire industries transform how they prevent, seek and solve some of their most common challenges.

 

Home Inspection

Crucial details about a property can make or break a homeowner. And thermal imaging is a way to set yourself apart from the competition with an add-on service your customers will love.

 

    Moisture. Detect potential moisture in walls, ceilings and floors by showing temperature differences between wet and dry areas to map out areas for mitigation.

    Insulation. Identify areas with missing or inadequate insulation.

    Plumbing. Discover undetected water leaks by checking for heat anomalies in, under, and around plumbing fixtures. Your assessment can also help inform the solution a plumber will choose to utilize.

    Stucco and EIFS Inspections. Inspect for moisture intrusion and rot behind the stucco. Then identify trouble areas that need repair by evaluating heat anomalies.

    Pest and Insect Activity. By tracking the heat generated by pests and insects, such as termites, you can seek out and pinpoint active infestations.

    Energy Audits. Effortlessly go above and beyond the competition by helping owners of residential structures apply corrective action and save money by detecting heat loss and air infiltration.

    Flat Roof Inspection. Before replacing an entire roof over a minor leak, use thermal imaging to locate the source of a leak and mark the affected area for a significantly less costly replacement.

    Electrical Faults. Identify hot spots before equipment failures cause expensive repairs or become a safety problem or fire hazard.

 

Facilities Maintenance

What technicians can’t see can make the difference between an efficient set of systems and a facility or campus where you’re constantly chasing problems and putting out fires. Thermal imaging can make all the difference.

    Condition-Based Maintenance vs. Time-Based Maintenance.

    A thermal imaging camera can help crews and engineers establish a baseline for systems and equipment that’s useful in future evaluations. Time-based, preventative maintenance gets expensive, and thermal cameras allow facilities to see the condition of equipment and schedule only the required maintenance and repairs.

    Over time, thermography can offer insights on trends that speak to the lifecycle of equipment, declining performance, and the need for scheduled downtime for maintenance. Most failures occur either very early in the life cycle or near the end, and thermal cameras are excellent tools for spotting issues in both phases.

    By comparing the results of equipment and components under similar conditions, professionals can develop temperature profiles to detect anomalies with ease. Additionally, with accurate temperature measurement thermographers can assess the severity of a fault to schedule repairs rather than just reacting to failures.

    Measurable Sustainability. Detect energy losses such as cold bridges along roofs and walls, cold and heat influxes at doors and windows and in radiator recesses. Discover defective or missing insulation.

    Troubleshooting. Gain access, spot check and evaluate equipment and components from angles you can’t reach and with insights that the naked eye can’t assess.

 

Manufacturing

Similar to thermal imaging applications for facilities maintenance, manufacturing and process industries can use thermography to bring about preventative and predictive maintenance, measure sustainability, and troubleshoot. And there’s good reason to lean on thermal imaging for these tasks. In a recent multi-year study, conducted by the California Manufacturers and Technology Association, in collaboration with CNA Financial Corporation, 6,154 thermography inspections were evaluated. Thermography inspections saved customers an estimated total of 52 million dollars, equating to an impressive ROI of $8,449 in savings per day.

 

Thermal imaging also has several applications that are unique to manufacturing.

    Process Control. Steel, petroleum, injection molding, and food are just a few examples of process industries where thermal imaging is vital. Monitoring equipment, liquid levels, and other materials, and a range of other process-specific equipment and components is made possible with thermal imaging.

    Condition monitoring. As scale and line effectiveness become vital, so does optimized sampling and monitoring of conditions. Thermal imaging makes this process more efficient and sustainable for any size production line.

    Planned Maintenance. Ensure minimal interruption to manufacturing operations by monitoring line and process equipment and scheduling downtime for maintenance instead of chasing problems as they occur. When you can see and measure more of your equipment and how it’s functioning, you can better plan your operations and maintenance.

 

Oil And Gas

Oil and gas industries can and do benefit immensely from thermal imaging cameras. In fact, without thermal imaging, refinery production can lag or even come to a halt, and equipment and personnel safety are brought into question. For example, detection and maintenance are two of the most important jobs where thermal imaging cameras are put to work.

    Gas and chemical detection. There are many gases and chemical compounds visible to the human eye. However, tracing and rectifying leaks of invisible volatile compounds early will aid regulatory compliance, maximize profitability and ensure safe working conditions.

    Facilities and Equipment Maintenance. Refineries require optimized facilities maintenance. Critical vessels require monitoring reactors and the external shell. Processing facilities require perimeter protection from unauthorized persons and animals, often in inclement weather or at night. Thermal imaging cameras are the answer to all of these challenges.

 

Electric Utilities

Reliability is incredibly important when it comes to electrical utilities. Thermal imaging can streamline inspection efficiency, ensure employee safety, and add to the physical security of stations and substations. This technology can identify problems big and small, allowing for fast and efficient decision-making around the best solutions to deploy. That means thermal imaging cameras can prevent power failures at utilities, among other vital benefits. Diagnostics and early detection are just two examples of the endless possibilities of thermal imaging for electric utilities.

    Diagnostics. Implement thermal imaging as part of your diagnostics to discover potential problems with electric utilities and prevent major malfunctions. Use abnormal thermal readings to pinpoint breakdowns and points of failure fast.

    Early Detection. Use thermal imaging to catch potential failures early by monitoring the temperature distribution of the circuit breakers, air switches, lightning arresters and capacitor Banks. Or use thermal imaging to detect hot spots in distribution systems to catch an outage before it occurs.

 

Bottom Line: Thermal Imaging Cameras are Useful

Thermal imaging may not be a silver bullet that eliminates all risks, but it can help cut costs, product loss, inefficiencies and downtime while increasing safety, profitability and efficiency. Learn all about HIKMICRO thermology solutions and finding the correct thermal imaging camera for your industry and operational needs.