Introduction to Thermographic Analysis

An exploration into the process of analysis, the advantages and disadvantages of thermography and some of its' applications
Summary
Thermographic analysis is an effective predictive maintenance tool to use in conjunction with other types of conditionmonitoring processes. The greatest benefit of thermography is realized when it is used to identify a range of possible problems based upon the condition of various types of machines. This article explains the process of thermography and discusses the advantages and disadvantages of this type of analysis.

JM02008 Jason Michael Mais 14 pages April 2002 SKF Reliability Systems @ptitudeXchange 5271 Viewridge Court San Diego, CA 92123 United States tel. +1 858 496 3554 fax +1 858 496 3555 email: info@aptitudexchange.com Internet: www.aptitudexchange.com

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Introduction to Thermographic Analysis

Overview of the Process ..................................................................................................................3 Thermography..................................................................................................................................3 Advantages and Disadvantages ................................................................................................5 The Uses of Thermography .............................................................................................................7 Electrical Systems.....................................................................................................................7 Mechanical Systems ...............................................................................................................10 Hydraulic Systems ..................................................................................................................11 Electronic Systems..................................................................................................................12 Energy Systems ......................................................................................................................13 Refractory Insulation ..............................................................................................................13 Structures ................................................................................................................................14 Conclusion .....................................................................................................................................14 References......................................................................................................................................14

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Introduction to Thermographic Analysis

Overview of the Process
Thermographic analysis is a technique in which an infrared camera or device is used to photographically portray the surface temperatures of a component or machine, based on the radiation emitted by the object. Thermographic analysis provides a high resolution, non-contact means of monitoring the condition of electrical and electromachanical equipment. The primary concern of thermography is to monitor the transfer of infrared heat radiation from an object. The development of this technology replies upon sensing the differences in surface temperatures and displaying those differences in black and white (B/W) or color images that are displayed on a monitor, LCD or television. These images, or thermograms, can then be copied, photographed or recorded to further analyze the patterns of heat gain or loss.

The development of thermography and the reasoning behind the methodology will be described in the following section.

Thermography
The use of a non-contact means of monitoring the condition of electrical and electromachanical equipment is valid for several reasons: • • • • • • Contact between surfaces is avoided Non-hazardous to the environment Resistant to electromagnetic noise Explosive environment approved Conduct as a real-time process Reliable due to the semi-infinite lifetime expectancy

Figure 1: Example of a handheld thermal imaging camera with LCD display (courtesy of Indigo Systems)

Thermographic analysis is an effective predictive maintenance tool to use in conjunction with other types of conditionmonitoring processes. In general, maintenance strategies are placed into three major categories with adjoining parameters: • • • Breakdown (failure based) Regular planned (time based) Predictive (condition based)

The greatest benefit of thermography is realized when it is used to identify a range of possible problems based upon the condition of various types of machines. Thermography should be used as an additional technology that can aid in providing further information to a maintenance program. A solid foundation, such as a vibration-monitoring program, should be provided to which thermography can then be an added benefit. Table 1 on the following page indicates a list of many of the types of conditions found when assessing a manufacturing environment as well as contributing factors that can be monitored. As can be seen from the table, thermography (temperature monitoring) is a well-matched addition to vibration analysis. The difference between thermography and temperature monitoring is that thermography gives an indication of varying temperature across a given area. Temperature monitoring only assess a temperature at a given point where the temperature sensor is placed.

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Introduction to Thermographic Analysis Machine Fault
Electrical Machine Faults
Machine – cooling systems, earth faults, circulating currents, lamination, cracking insulation Mechanical misalignment and rub Commutators, brushes and slip rings Ancillary equipment – fuses, loose connections, overload or unbalanced load, pitted relay contacts, switchgear, distribution boards, transformers

Temperature

Pressure

Flow

Oil

Vibration

X X X

X X X

X

Mechanical
Misalignment, bent shaft Damaged rolling element bearings Damaged gears Inadequate or insufficient lubrication Damaged journal bearings Loose components

X X X X X X X X X X

X X X X X X

Energy Systems
Boilers, steam systems, flues, heat exchangers and regenerators Refractory insulation, buildings and roofing

X

X

X

X

X

X

Electronic Systems
Discrete components, printed circuit boards and bonding

X

Table 1: Indication of measurement type and ability to detect

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Introduction to Thermographic Analysis The hardware is an important part of the equation; let’s also look at the advantages and disadvantages of using thermography. Advantages and Disadvantages From an advantage standpoint it is important to note that thermography can be implemented in many areas of industry. These industries range from condition-monitoring, predictive maintenance to using the data to plan a maintenance strategy more effectively. The use of thermography can be a key contributor in the success of a maintenance program. The consideration of the disadvantages must also be considered. Many of the disadvantages that use to be prevalent have been address by the implementation of better software and hardware packages. The only major disadvantage that still must be addressed is that of operating the camera in an industrial environment. The operation of the camera can be somewhat cumbersome and takes some development time until the user is comfortable. A summary of the advantages and disadvantages are noted in Table 2 and 3 below and on the following page.

With the use of thermal images the user is provided with data that evaluates the process and displays the results in a fairly short time. It is important to point out that the ability to store and retrieve data is crucial to the development of a predictive maintenance program. Several companies have developed thermal imaging hardware. There are slight differences in the displaying and storage of the data but the foundation for obtaining and processing the data is similar. In their simplest form, Thermographic hardware looks similar to that of a portable video device, much like a “camcorder”. The following section contains a list of several suppliers in the industry. Search the Internet for further information regarding suppliers:
• Indigo Systems o • http://www.indigosystems.com

Infratherm o http://www.thermografia.com/

Impact Engineering o http://www.impactengineering.com/

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Introduction to Thermographic Analysis

Design Process Plant: Steam and water lines, heating units, kilns, process pipes, containers, ducts, vents, exhaust stacks, flue pipes, insulation (refractory) Intelligent Machine Design: Cooling design on electrical motors Plant and Machine Maintenance Maintenance planning, procedures and reporting: implementing timely, appropriate maintenance on mechanical and electrical plant and machine Efficiency monitoring: cooling towers, doors, windows, ventilation, heat exchangers, steam traps, foam and refractory insulation Machine and Component Failure Analysis of mechanical component condition: bearings, seals, gears, actuators, hydraulic rams Analysis of electrical component condition: fuses, switches, insulators, relays, bus bars, commutators, brush gear
Table 2: Advantages of a thermography program

Cost Hardware: Cameras and lenses can be expensive initially Software: Software limitations on some systems Practical Considerations Object Source: Emissivity, transmittion and size of detail. The objects emissivity must be known. Object surroundings: The object’s surroundings should have a homogeneous (ambient) temperature and should not include hot areas so positioned that the object can reflect the radiation. Atmospheric influences/attenuation: Distance, composition and ambient temperature can affect the quality of detail.
Table 3: Disadvantageous of a Thermography program

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Introduction to Thermographic Analysis

The Uses of Thermography
There are numerous advantages to using a thermography program within a variety of industries. The follow is a list of the key areas of contribution for thermography: • • • • • • Electrical Mechanical Electronic Energy Refractory Insulation; and Structures

cold areas “spots” can be an indication of an open circuit. This is due to a blown fuse and can often go undiagnosed for several days. As an electrical system is activated, two conductors interface to form the circuit. In this mergence, the surfaces of the contacts intersect at a certain number of points called “elementary contacts”. These contacts are limited due to the characteristics of the contacts. As these two conductors interface, wear begins to be exhibited. When the wear on these contacts develops substantially, an increase in electrically resistance will develop and therefore will produce excess heat and a thermal “hot spot”. This hot spot can usually be identified easily using thermography. To develop a viable idea of the rate at which this hot spot is deteriorating, “trending” must be used to evaluate the system. Trending is a common practice in many types of condition-monitoring programs. Trending most often involves plotting a value against time. In this instance, the vertical access is temperature. Based upon regular intervals of collection, a clear picture of the status of the equipment can be developed. Where the load is variable, ideally the temperature measurements should be taken in conjunction with current assessments. This system of measuring will allow the correlation between the rise in temperature and the current measurement to be established. The following formula relates the correction of the temperature rise to that of the reference temperature (cooling by natural convection and radiation)):

Based upon these defined areas, the considerations are as follows: Electrical Systems With a plant, electrical systems are considered to be among one of the most critical areas. Electrical systems are based upon several key formulas. One of these key formulas is Joule’s Law. Joule’s Law states: P = I 2 R (watts) where
P = heat generated (watts) I = load (amps) R = resistance (ohms)

In many instances, the element that is expelling the greatest amount of energy (heat) is due to a loose, oxidized or corroded electrical connection. This extemporaneous heat is an indication of a problem and is a key sign when conducting a predictive maintenance program. In electrical systems, educated guesses can be based upon a change in resistance causing a doubling effect on the current. This is especially prevalent in systems that are not fully loaded. In addition,

∆Ts = ∆Tm (

I r 1.67 ) Im

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Introduction to Thermographic Analysis Correction of temperature rises to a reference current (cooling by forced convection and radiation): ∆Ts = ∆Tm (
where
I - reference current

Im - measured current

Ir 2 ) Im

Ts - temperature rise Tm - measured temperature rise

One of the many advantages of trending is that it requires a method and process therefore establishing required measurements that must be taken and recorded. In addition, it relies less upon the analysis of a specific measurement but, in turn, can analyze a particular set of measurements over time. An example of a temperature trend is noted below.

Figure 2: Trend plot of temperature increasing over time (courtesy of SKF Condition Monitoring).

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Introduction to Thermographic Analysis In general and for simplicity, electrical components can be classified into two categories: • Low current devise, which are covered by electronics and microelectronics engineering High current devices such as fuses, busbars, switchgear, cables, insulation, transformers and isolators.
Identifiable Electrical Failures

With regard to electrical machinery failure, there are seven identifiable failures: • • • • • • Rotor body defects Rotor winding faults Water coolant faults Stator winding faults Winding insulation defects and Stator core defects

All of these types of components have been successfully monitored using IR (infrared) techniques. The most common problems facing electrical systems are:

Loose connections Load imbalances Corrosion resulting from resistive heating

If these failures are propagated into the condition-monitoring arena, there are three main sources of problems: • Mechanical sources, which include bearing, rotor unbalance, looseness, misalignment, end-winding damage, brushes and brush components. Aerodynamic sources which involve turbulence, blade-passing frequency and; Electromagnetic sources such as static airgap eccentricity, dynamic air-gap eccentricity, air-gap permeance variations, open or shorted windings, unbalance current phase, broken rotor bars, torque pulses and magnetostriction.

• •

Many types of technological advances such as thyristors, that are used to control motor speed in large motors, are connected in parallel and causer a masking affect making it difficult to detect a problem. Some other examples of common measuring techniques are to measure electrical imbalance between electrical phases. An unequal temperature in this situation may indicate an imbalance in a three-phase motor. Other examples are: • • • • • Inspection of high-voltage transformers Inspection of high-voltage power lines Blown or damaged fuses or fuse holders Overheating power factor capacitors Switchgear, control panels, isolators, circuit breakers, relay contacts and connections.

• •

As discussed previously, there are wellestablished condition-monitoring parameters such as vibration and motor speed. When thermal condition monitoring is considered, such parameters as below can be added: • Machine Enclosure
o Overheating and cooling o Defective cooling system o Poor electrical connections

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Introduction to Thermographic Analysis • • • Frame Overheating Rotor Body and Winding Overheating Stator
o Stator core – lamination o Stator windings o Stator end winding portion – cracking insulation

In addition to electrical systems, a consideration of mechanical systems is equally important.
Mechanical Systems

Bearing and Seals Overheating

One of the major advantages of non-contact thermal monitoring is that it does not require isolation of the electrical machine yet still provides useful information of the machine’s component. The following figure shows a thermal image of the drive side of a motor.

In a plant environment, mechanical systems represent a large potion of a plant’s assets. There are many types of rotating equipment within a plant that can be monitored using thermography. Thermography can be used to monitor both simplistic machinery as well as machines comprised of numerous components. It is a commonality among machines that rotate or reciprocate that friction occurs between interfacing components. This interface causes heat to be generated and in turn wear to occur. Friction, if left unattended or unresolved, can lead to catastrophic failure. A combination of trended wear data with the indication of supporting vibration data can prove to be very accurate in assessing the health of a machine or component. Both of these measurements are most useful when trended.

Figure 3: Thermal image of an overloaded circuit or fuse (courtesy of Indigo Systems).

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Introduction to Thermographic Analysis

Figure 4: Thermal image of an overheated pillow block on an overhung fan (courtesy of Indigo Systems).

Some common reasons for mechanical failure may include: • • • An increase in loading on a bearing cause the bearing to wear prematurely An increase in the stresses of the machine leading to premature fatigue problems An increase in forces that are applied to the machine, such as loose components or footing The effects of inertia leading to imbalance of a component or rotating shaft.

The value added with the use of thermography is that it allows the user a tool to better assess the condition of the mechanical systems in the plant. In addition to assessing mechanical systems, thermography can aid in monitoring hydraulic systems.
Hydraulic Systems

Though the use of thermography when assessing hydraulic systems is not as common as its’ use for mechanical system, thermography can be used to analyze the changes in temperature of the system. These changes can be indications of problems like: • • • • Leakage Clogging of the system Component failures Improper installation 11

Some of the most common forms of mechanical deterioration of a system are imbalance, misalignment, looseness, damaged components such as impellers in a pump or vanes of a fan, damaged bearings, gears, etc.

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Introduction to Thermographic Analysis An example of this occurred when assessing the effectiveness of a seal with a small axial inclusion. With the use of thermography, an indicated “hot spot” appeared on the image due to the increased pressure 35 kg/m2 (~500 psi) of the fluid escaping from around in inclusion. It is important to note that care must be taken when visually assessing hydraulic systems because defects of a mechanical system may coincide with defects in the hydraulic system, therefore causing some confusion as to the cause of the problem. The use of addition techniques should be used to further clarify the situation.
Electronic Systems

Another form of failure is premature component failure of new components. This type failure can be conceptualized using a “bathtub” curve. A bathtub curve is based upon reliability studies and indicates a highprobability of failure during the “running-in” potion of the system – some cases may be caused by poor installation problems. The probability of failure is then reduces for an extended period of time – indicative of its’ normal operating conditions. Then, the probability of failure is increased – representing the components wear out condition. In this area, the greatest concentration on detecting a components condition is concentrated.

Probably one the areas that has benefited the most from the use of thermography is that of the electronic systems. Electronic and microelectronic systems such as printed circuit boards (PCBs) and their components being the items affected the greatest. This affect has been realized due in part to the design of PCBs. PCBs contain many small components that are difficult to monitor with conventional methods. Therefore, the use of thermography has aided greatly. The development of temperature measurement devices has progressively migrated from pattern type measurements to a formidable device that uses a complex computerized Thermographic system to automatically inspect items such as PCBs. A common contributor of reduced service life in electronic components is high operating temperature. An indication of this can be explained in the following equation:

Figure 5: Representation of a Bathtub Curve (A). In addition, other patterns of failure are shown.

Thermography can be used to inspect specific components within a system so that “thermal run-away” can be avoided and thus a possible catastrophe. In addition, thermography can be used in nondestructive test inspections of integrated circuit boards. In this instance, the induced heat creates a thermal pattern that can then be diagnosed. Care must be taken in this type of testing to account for the positioning and geometry of the components and their acceptable limits. This allows for proper diagnoses once the data is collected. Concerning electronic systems,

πT =

Failure rate at T Failure rate at 75° C

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Introduction to Thermographic Analysis other energy sources can be considered when conducting a thermography program.
Energy Systems

of a system where this type of leak occurred is noted below.
Refractory Insulation

Energy systems are being considered more often than not as the world migrates to an energy efficient mentality. This migration causes management and maintenance personnel to consider conserving more of their resources when it concerns the use of energy. Thermography can be positioned as a key contributor in assessing the performance of a system. Non-contact thermal monitoring can be used to detect the area in which resources are being wasted. When concerned with the use of an energy system, there is a heavy burden placed upon ensuring that proper insulation and adequate maintenance of the insulation is achieved. Faulty insulation and leaks in the system are readily visible with the use of thermography. These areas appear as increases in temperature output. An example

Refractory systems such as furnaces operate at temperatures as high as 1500ºC (2732ºF). The use of thermography to inspect these items during operation is of great value. Some of the more common uses of thermography in these types of environment are: • Monitoring product parameters such as the temperature of steel strips within the furnace Integrity of insulation, joints or brickwork within a system Monitoring the burner operation; or The operation of water-cooled elements

• • •

Figure 6: Image of a leak in an oven system (courtesy of Indigo Systems)

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Introduction to Thermographic Analysis By monitoring these types of parameters, the characteristics of the system can be well documented and analyzed.
Structures

All of these issues are key contributors to growth in this technology. But, in addition to purchasing the technology needed to implement a successful program, you must also recognize the following key aspects: • • • Planning the implementation phase, Providing proper training; and Supporting the system that is established

The use of thermography to detect losses in structures from poor insulation, poor sealing or poor structural integrity is vital in achieving a thermally sound structure. The use of a thermal imager can easily produce a pattern that is associated to heat loss therefore identifying the problem areas. Some of the most commonly detected or identifiable losses are: • • • Detection of a leak in the roofing system based upon solar loading Leaks in chimneys or vents; also Leaking windows or door areas

References
1. Industrial Maintenance (1998) Thermography gives maintenance insight 2. Thomas, R.A. (1999) Thermography. 3. Mobley, R.K. (1990) An introduction to Predictive Maintenance 4. Thermography graphics provided by Indiglo Systems (2001)

Conclusion
The use of thermography to evaluate the operation and conditions of items such as electrical boards, process equipment and insulation integrity has increase substantially over the past few years. The industry is expected to continue this trend based upon the ability to impart a cost savings in their facility. Moreover, many influential issues such as: • • • • • Market awareness and acceptance Application diversity Advancements in Equipment Development of Standards; and Development in training

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