What is Thermography?

Thermography is the use of an infrared imaging and measurement camera to “see” and “measure ” thermal energy emitted from an object.  Thermal, or infrared energy, is light that is not visible because its wavelength is too long to be detected by the human eye; it’s the part of the electromagnetic spectrum that we perceive as heat. Unlike visible light, in the infrared world, everything with a temperature above absolute zero emits heat. Even very cold objects, like ice cubes, emit infrared. The higher the object’s temperature, the greater the IR radiation emitted. Infrared allows us to see what our eyes cannot.

Infrared thermography cameras produce images of invisible infrared or “heat” radiation and provide precise non-contact temperature measurement capabilities. Nearly everything gets hot before it fails, making infrared cameras extremely cost-effective, valuable diagnostic tools in many diverse applications. And as industry strives to improve manufacturing efficiencies, manage energy, improve product quality, and enhance worker safety, new applications for infrared cameras continually emerge.

Image A shows a typical breaker box. Nothing appears to be wrong when observed with the naked eye.

Image B is a Thermal scan of the same breaker box. Note the abnormal heat level on the left.

The benefits of an Infrared survey:

  • Help prevent emergency, unscheduled maintenance
  • Fewer interruptions to production – Greater uptime
  • More efficient energy usage
  • Reduction in potential damage to equipment and the facility from fire

Infrared testing of electrical equipment is the best way to detect overloads, poor connections, faulty contacts, and other deficiencies – any of which could cause a fire. It is rare that an Infrared survey doesn’t find “hot spots” in an electrical system.

Image C shows a motor that appears fine on the outside.

Image D shows an accident waiting to happen on the inside.