Infrared scanning can reveal a variety of electrical problems before they become critical. Four electrical equipment issues that are routinely revealed by annual scans are: early stage equipment failure, overloaded equipment, load imbalance, loose connections, and hot spots. When problems are detected, the customer, the infrared scanning provider, or a repair service can correct them. In many cases, the scanning provider also offers equipment repair and replacement services, an arrangement that saves the customer money.
The benefits of infrared scanning
Most facilities have their distribution equipment scanned once a year, which is sufficient to reveal problems that develop gradually. By using scans to identify equipment problems, companies receive the following benefits, among others:
Quick identification of problems
When facilities realize they have an electrical problem but can’t pinpoint what it is, they spend valuable time and money examining an issue that a scan could solve within minutes. Instead of conducting inspections and equipment tests that may or may not reveal the problem, a facility can use infrared scanning to discover and resolve the problem on the same day.
Improvement of maintenance quality
Without the aid of scans, facilities perform power transfer switch maintenance, switchgear maintenance, and other types of maintenance using three basic methods: visual examinations, electrical tests, and routine cleaning. While necessary in their own right, none of these procedures are as adept at identifying and preventing equipment problems as infrared scanning.
Prevention of expensive replacements and repairs
If left undetected, problems in electrical equipment can damage it to the point where expensive repairs or replacements are needed. The point of electrical maintenance is to prevent these things from happening. Annual infrared scanning is the top preventative maintenance measure for electrical equipment.
Reduced equipment downtime
Problem equipment is often de-energized and inspected by hand. Then it remains de-energized while repairs are made. For facilities that can’t afford extended equipment downtime, a scan can identify problems while equipment runs at full load, keeping downtime limited to the repair process. In fact, scans should only be conducted when equipment is under full load.
Prevention of equipment failure
For most facilities, the failure of electrical equipment is an expensive prospect. In addition to requiring repairs or replacements, it can also require the use of emergency generators, or leave a facility without power when no generator is present. By identifying problems early, annual infrared scanning can help prevent equipment failure.
Prevention of injuries
If left unaddressed, electrical equipment problems could lead to dangerous events such as arc flashes, which can seriously injure or kill electrical workers. When these tragedies occur, the financial consequences can be serious. Consider the fallout that could result from a single arc flash incident: workers comp claims, OSHA (Occupational Safety & Health Administration) fines, lost equipment, fire damage, damaged reputation, and lawsuits for pain and suffering. Scans play a vital role in preventing these things.
To learn more about the scan process, interested parties should contact a commercial electrical services provider that has a proven track record in electrical distribution equipment maintenance, repairs, and replacement.