Advantages of Thermal Imaging in Preventative Maintenance for a Data Centre

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Reactive maintenance and repair costs due to equipment failure can be quite aggravating and costly for companies. Thermal imaging can play an important role in enabling maintenance professionals to monitor equipment performance and therefore schedule planned maintenance while also extending the lifespan of essential machinery and equipment.


What is Thermal Imaging?


Heat generation is often an early indication of equipment failure or damage, making it vital to monitor. Thermal imaging uses infrared-sensitive cameras to inspect the infrared energy emitted by electrical equipment, machinery or buildings and produce thermal or heat pictures to help maintenance technicians locate faults commonly related to heat loss or heat gain. Thermal imaging cameras can measure and compare heat signatures for equipment and machinery without interrupting operations which allows maintenance technicians to instantly verify thermal performance of buildings or industrial equipment. 

Thermal imaging is often the first inspection tool a maintenance technician will use as part of their preventive maintenance program. Inspections take less time than repairs. Therefore, using thermal imaging on a regular basis to monitor the temperature of essential equipment makes it possible to track operating conditions over time and swiftly identify irregular readings. This will help maintenance personnel to determine a course of action where required.


Benefits of Thermal Imaging


  • Key benefits of thermal imaging include:
  • Elimination or reduction in breakdowns
  • No shutdown required as thermal images are taken while equipment is fully operational
  • Thermal measurements help identify imminent failures in almost all types of equipment
  • By detecting temperature irregularities, thermal imaging allows maintenance personnel to take corrective action, thus avoiding costly maintenance and repair 
  • Thermal imaging can pinpoint energy losses in buildings without the use of destructive testing methods
  • Thermal images can access components not otherwise measurable
  • Minimal risk for maintenance technicians as thermal images are taken from a safe distance
  • Thermal imaging is extremely efficient and accurate


Thermal Imaging Applications


Until recently thermal imaging cameras were prohibitively expensive. In more recent years, technology has improved and pricing has been brought down to a level which is more affordable, in turn, opening up a host of new applications. 


Examples of Thermal Imaging Applications include:


  • HVAC (heating, ventilation and air conditioning) maintenance and associated plant and machinery
  • Electrical inspection to identify hot spots in equipment
  • Mechanical inspections
  • Renewable energies
  • Building diagnostics
  • Energy audits or home inspections
  • Facility management
  • Finding faulty terminations in high power electrical circuits
  • Locating overloaded circuit breakers in a power panel
  • Identifying fuses at their current rated capacity
  • Identifying issues in electrical switch gear


Inspection Process


  1. Review maintenance history and compile a list of equipment for maintenance survey. Do not include equipment that is not suitable for infrared measurement. Prioritize key equipment that is problematic or prone to failure.
  2. Use a database to group critical equipment together. This may be determined either by area or function. Allow 2 to 3 hours per inspection block.
  3. Use thermal imaging camera to capture baseline images of each piece of equipment.
  4. Record both numeric temperatures and thermal images to facilitate long-term data analysis. Temperature trends will help guide you as to which equipment required further investigation and which equipment may require less frequent inspection.
  5. Download the baseline images and temperatures and document your report with location information, inspection notes, alarm levels where appropriate and any other data relevant to your inspection.
  6. Once you have a database of baseline images, allocate an alarm temperature to each one.
  7. Prior to the next inspection, and where your camera allows, upload the previous thermal images on to the camera. If the alarm goes off when you take the new measurement, it indicates a significant change in temperature that will require further investigation.
  8. Following the same steps each time you carry out an inspection ensures that you have consistent thermal images in your database for comparison.


Thermal Imaging Surveys


Thermal Imaging Surveys are non-intrusive and enabling inspections to be carried out safely and efficiently, with no interruption to normal business operations. We offer comprehensive Building Thermal Imaging Surveys and Predictive Maintenance (Electrical & Mechanical) Thermal Imaging Surveys. Call 057 866 2162 or email us for further information.


Finding the Right Thermal Imaging Camera for You


  • Powerpoint Engineering Ltd are specialists in the supply of Thermal Imaging Equipment in Ireland. We are proud to supply a range of FLUKE Thermal Cameras, FLIR Buildings Cameras, FLIR Industrial Cameras and Seek Thermal Cameras to our customers, all at competitive prices. We would be happy to help you find the best thermal camera suited to your needs. 

We also supply a range of thermal imaging windows and thermal imaging accessories. 

Thermal Imaging Training Courses

We offer a wide range of Thermal Imaging Training Courses including:

  • 1 Day ‘Introduction to Thermography’
  • 4 Day Certified ‘Level 1 Thermal Imaging’
  • 4-Day Certified ‘Level 2 Infrared Thermography’

These competitively priced training courses can be delivered on-site at your location or you can attend one of our scheduled training courses.

For further information on any of the above, call us on 057 866 2162. We would be happy to answer any questions you might have.