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What Size Infrared (IR) Window Do I Need?

As the manager of the Reliability Maintenance Team, your company’s director of reliability recently assigned you the task of selecting maintenance inspection windows for the facility’s critical electrical assets. Your team has attended several internal meetings learning about the business benefits of adopting maintenance inspection windows, specifically Infrared (IR) Windows. You are relying heavily on your IR Window vendor to help you learn and understand the unique information that must be identified to properly select the correct size of windows.

One question that needs to be answered in selecting the correct size of IR Windows needed to accurately inspect the critical electrical assets in your plant: What dimension of window is best for each asset?

Selecting The Correct Size IR Window

There are three considerations that will determine the answer to this question:

* The Outside Diameter of the Infrared Camera Lens: to accurately measure temperature, the infrared camera’s lens must “see” the full view of the target objects being measured. Any obstruction, even a partial obstruction, will introduce measurement errors that cannot be compensated by a setting change. Therefore, the first consideration is to determine the outside diameter of the infrared camera lens that will be used for the inspection. A Window’s IR optic must be larger than the outside diameter of the infrared camera lens.

* The Infrared Camera’s Field of View (FOV) Calculation: the camera’s FOV, in degrees, for any given distance from the object can be calculated using this formula: Camera FOV = {(tangent ½ viewing angle) x distance} x 2. Distance is defined as distance from the panel cover to the target to be measured. A typical FOV is 22 degrees horizontally and 16 degrees vertically. The calculated values should be used for estimation purposes to determine size of windows needed. Note that a change in lens size in the camera requires the FOV to be recalculated.

* The Window Field of View (WFOV): to calculate the WFOV, the following equation is used:

Window Size (W & H) = Target Size (W&H) – {(2 Tangent(CVA/2)) x DCT x 3]

W = Width

H = Height

CVA = Camera Lens Viewing Angle

DCT = Distance from Cover to Target

3 = Maximum Viewing Angle Multiplier

Example of Width Calculation

The distance from cover to target is 8 inches and overall target width is 18 inches. What is the minimum window width required?

Ws = 18 – {(2 tan (22/2)) x 8 x3}

Ws = 18 – (0.389 x 8 x 3) = 18 – 9.34 = 8.66 inches

Conclusion:

In summary, keep in mind the following points:

* The IR Window’s optic must be larger than the outside diameter of the IR camera’s lens

* Every IR camera has a Field of View (FOV) defined in degrees across a horizontal and vertical axis. Consult with the camera manufacturer if this is not listed clearly on the specification sheet for your camera

* The Window Field of View (WFOV) rule of thumb using a standard camera and lens is approximately 2 – 3 times the distance from the window to the target.

* Obstructions inside the cabinet may decrease the actual field of view.

Your IR Window vendor, such as IRISS, will provide the expertise in helping your team select the appropriate sized windows for the target objects to be inspected. They have both tools to help calculate window size as well as the expertise with many different kinds of electrical equipment.

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Case Study: ROI for Adopting A Condition Based Maintenance Strategy

A recent case study looks at a paper mill that replace their traditional calendar based inspection program with a condition based maintenance program that allows personnel to inspect energized electrical assets while under full load. Because the inspection process is so easy and safe, they inspect more frequently to help determine asset faults when they arise rather than wait until the asset goes into full failure mode. They have decreased downtime, increased their Mean Time Between Failures and observed a 75% reduction in indirect costs. Save Time, Money and Lives!

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Why Condition Based Maintenance Inspections for Electrical Assets?

Traditional, calendar based inspections of energized equipment are time-consuming, risky to personnel and costly for a company. Condition based maintenance inspection tools from IRISS enable electrical assets to be easily, safely and routinely inspected under full load; and, they help companies be compliant to NFPA 70E 2018 Edition guidelines. Find the problem and Fix it BEFORE it Fails!

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Does A Condition Based Maintenance Program Have A Role at Water and Waste Water Treatment Plants?

What would life be like if your local Water Company or Waste Water Treatment Plant lost power due to a major failure of their power distribution equipment? Water supports life and an uninterrupted water supply requires reliable electrical equipment that supplies power to pumps and filters. A power loss at a waste water treatment plan could result in untreated water being released into the environment causing algae blooms that are toxic to aquatic animals and even the spread of disease in the community. We cannot forget the government fines that could be levied should this type of event occur. Can the plant’s reliability team predict when a critical electrical system is deteriorating and fix it before it fails? The answer is YES!

An extended power loss can have devastating impacts on drinking water and wastewater utilities and the communities they serve. Inoperable pumps at a water utility plant can impact firefighting capabilities or force businesses like health care facilities or restaurants to close. A loss in pressure can result in contaminants, from soil and groundwater, to enter the drinking water supply. For wastewater utilities, losing power to pumps may lead to direct discharge of untreated sewage into rivers and streams and even cause sewage to backup into homes and businesses.

Water/Wastewater Infographic

Water and wastewater treatment companies should conduct a power distribution asset condition assessment to understand the relative health of their essential infrastructure. Some companies will have backup generators to keep the power flowing. However, those backup generators need to be inspected and maintained to insure proper functionality should the need arise and may not protect from all types of equipment failure. An interesting fact: During Superstorm Sandy, many generators failed after 24 to 48 hours because they were not properly maintained!* Other companies may install on-site power generation systems known as Distributed Energy Resources (DER); however, these systems will require routine maintenance as well.

These industries recognize the criticality of establishing and performing condition based maintenance programs on their electrical assets. Routine inspections enable personnel to monitor the health status of critical electrical components and systems. Innovative products and services, called Electrical Maintenance Safety Devices (EMSDs), enable personnel to perform routine electrical inspections of energized assets safely and efficiently. Common types of EMSDs include Maintenance Inspection Windows with Infrared or Infrared and Ultrasound capabilities, Ultrasound Ports and handheld measuring devices, Wireless Temperature Monitoring Systems and Intelligent Asset Tagging Systems. Utilizing these tools within a condition based maintenance program allows the reliability team to routinely and safely perform inspections, collect data, monitor data over time and determine if an electrical asset is starting to deteriorate. These programs allow companies to schedule downtime to fix the asset versus experiencing an unplanned outage and disrupting the lives and safety of thousands of people.

Conclusion:

Water and waste water treatment plants cannot tolerate an internal electrical failure that impacts the safety and comfort of their personnel or their end-user customer base. Improved operational reliability and productivity can be achieved by implementing a condition based maintenance program using EMSDs to monitor, maintain and anticipate problems on their generators or on-site power distribution and power generation systems before an actual electrical component fails.

*Source: Power Resilience, EPA.gov/waterresiliency; EPA 800-R-15-004, December 2015

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Are There Marine Applications for Using Infrared (IR) Inspection Windows?

Imagine what would happen if power generation failed on an offshore platform, or on a cruise ship or on a commercial marine or naval vessel. Potential risks that come to mind should this occur are safety concerns, loss of sanitation resources, loss of refrigeration of perishable food, loss of lighting at night, etc. Electrical systems are among the most critical systems on ships and offshore platforms. Is it possible to monitor the electrical assets to determine their health status? Can the reliability team predict when an electrical system is deteriorating and fix it before it fails? The answer is YES!

Electrical safety compliance for marine, maritime and offshore workers is heavily regulated. The environment is characterized by extreme temperature fluctuations, high humidity and continuous vibrations. Think about the following segments and imagine the impact of a power failure:

* Offshore Platforms – safety is paramount on oil and gas platforms where a small problem could put hundreds of personnel at great risk

* Ports and Cranes – shore-based cranes are primarily electrically powered and keep global trade alive. A power distribution failure can cost thousands of dollars per hour and create a jam on the water of ships waiting to be offloaded.

* Commercial and Naval Vessels – most large vessels now use electric propulsion systems. Naval vessels power their weapons and guidance systems by the onboard electric grid.

* Cruise Ships – the cruise industry depends on efficiency in their operations to command customer loyalty. A cruise ship that loses power may be floating at sea with no air conditioning, no sanitary resources, perishable food that has spoiled due to lack of refrigeration, etc. The typical response of the cruise industry is to refund the affected passengers AND offer them a free future cruise. Clearly the financial impact to the cruise line is significant as well.

Crisis on the High Seas

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Marine Applications

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These industries recognize the criticality of establishing and performing condition based maintenance programs on their electrical assets. Routine inspections enable personnel to monitor the health status of critical electrical components and systems. Innovative products and services, called Electrical Maintenance Safety Devices (EMSDs), enable personnel to perform routine electrical inspections of energized assets safely and efficiently. Common types of EMSDs include Maintenance Inspection Windows with Infrared or Infrared and Ultrasound capabilities, Ultrasound Ports and handheld measuring devices, Wireless Temperature Monitoring Systems and Intelligent Asset Tagging Systems. Utilizing these tools within a condition based maintenance program allows the reliability team to routinely and safely perform inspections, collect data, monitor data over time and determine if an electrical asset is starting to deteriorate. These programs allow companies to schedule downtime to fix the asset versus experiencing an unplanned outage and disrupting the lives and safety of thousands of people.

Conclusion:

Marine and maritime operations cannot tolerate or afford an internal electrical failure that impacts the safety and comfort of their personnel or their end-user customer base. Improved operational reliability and productivity can be achieved by implementing a condition based maintenance program using EMSDs to monitor, maintain and anticipate problems before an actual electrical component fails.

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IR Polymer Maintenance Inspection Windows

IR Polymer Maintenance Inspection Windows are one example of tools from IRISS used in Condition Based Maintenance programs of energized electrical equipment. The IR Windows enable inspections of energized electrical equipment in a safe and guarded condition eliminating the need for “open panel” inspections.

They help maintenance teams find an electrical asset that is deteriorating so replacement or repair events can be scheduled BEFORE the asset fails. This strategy enables companies to routinely monitor the equipment and avoid Unplanned shutdowns or downtime.

Partner with IRISS for Safe and Efficient condition based maintenance tools.

Haz click aquí para ver el video en español.

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Why Is Emissivity Important When Using IR Inspection Windows?

A local technical college contacted your company’s Human Resources office to inquire if a group of students could visit the site and learn about electrical thermography inspections.  You were asked to host this visit and speak to them about critical applications of thermography.  You decided to teach them about emissivity and why it’s important when performing electrical thermography inspections.  Your lesson planning begins.  

A factory is full of electrical equipment that requires periodic maintenance inspections.  Your company implemented a condition-based maintenance model over a year ago using infrared windows and IR cameras that allows energized electrical maintenance inspections to be performed safely and efficiently.  The ultimate goal for the reliability team is to perform frequent inspections of critical assets to find early warning signs that an asset is deteriorating and fix it before it completely fails.  You explain to the students that a scheduled downtime to fix the asset versus an unplanned outage results in less impact to the company and their end customers.   

Infrared radiation is the part of the electromagnetic spectrum between 0.75 and 1000 microns in wavelength. Learning about emissivity is a key to conducting accurate infrared inspections.  Emissivity is defined as the relative power of a surface to emit heat by radiation.  As an object heats up, the intensity of emitted radiation increases exponentially – this is known as Stephan-Boltzmann’s Law.  Infrared cameras “see” and “calculate” the emitted radiation from a target object.  There are three sources of this emitted radiation:  reflected from other sources; transmitted through the object from a source behind it; or emitted by the object itself.   

Emissivity of a material is measured between a value of 0 and 1.0.  A perfect emitter, called a blackbody because it emits 100% of the energy it absorbs, is assigned an emissivity value of 1.0.  In the work environment, emissivity of a surface is the ratio of the radiant energy emitted by an object divided by the energy that a blackbody would emit at the same temperature, the same wavelength and under the same viewing conditions. 

Know Your Emissivity 

When performing thermography on an object, the inspector must adjust the emissivity value on the infrared camera to properly compensate for the various emissivity values of all the target components encountered during the inspection.  Slight errors in emissivity compensation can lead to significant errors in temperature readings which could result in inaccurate inspection data being recorded.  Emissivities of common materials are found below:   

 

Material  Emissivity 
Aluminum, Polished  0.05 
Aluminum, Rough  0.07 
Aluminum, Oxidized  0.25 
Black Electrical Tape  0.95 
Copper, Polished  0.01 
Copper, Oxidized  0.65 
Glass  0.92 
Glass, Polished  0.02 
Steel, Galvanized  0.28 
Steel, Oxidized  0.88 
Water  0.98 

 

As the temperature increases, radiant energy increases proportionately.  Incorrect camera settings for emissivity will result in errant temperature readings.  Using an emissivity value that is higher than the emissivity of the target will result in electrical faults appearing cooler than they actually are.  Likewise, because the relationship is exponential, the error will worsen as the component increases in temperature.  The resulting temperature calculations could be drastically understated which could lead the inspectors to misdiagnose the severity of a fault on an asset or not detect the fault at all.   

 Conclusion 

Thermographers must understand the surface of the primary target that they are inspecting with an infrared camera.  To compensate for emissivity of other objects around the target, the emissivity value must be adjusted in the IR camera.   Slight errors in emissivity compensation can lead to significant errors in temperature readings which could result in inaccurate inspection data being recorded.  Accurate data is required for a condition-based monitoring inspection model so faults on electrical assets can be identified and fixed before the asset goes into failure mode.