Lets have a look at the claims that they make.

Firstly the introduction says the following “In circumstances where the covers could not be removed then a full inspection of the outer casing and over current devices etc was carried out to try to obtain the operating temperature of the equipment.” It is not possible to obtain an operating temperature for equipment behind a panel door, by measuring the outside surface of the panel door itself. This is not a legitimate claim, and any thermography company making this claim must be avoided.

Images were taken of the outside of switch fuses, and the report claimed that they were well within acceptable limits,and no action was required.

Other images from panel doors claimed that urgent action was required or that further investigation be carried out immediately.  In some cases the temperature rise was caused by a reflection of the operator (or some other spot reflection), in others a reflection of a chiller was used as a reference.

This report was one of the worst that I have ever seen. Work like this affects EVERYONE in the industry, and gets thermography a bad name. We all have a responsibility to stamp it out.

If you are considering hiring a thermography company please be aware that it is pretty much an unregulated industry and someone who seems like an expert may not be so. Avoid hiring any company that claims to do thermography with the doors closed (or covers on), it is bad practice. The same is true with building thermographers, I came across a company that said their camera worked in the rain, and they could survey buildings in the rain. This is also bad practice.

Closed panel door shows no sign of problem.

Closed panel door shows no sign of problem.

Panel opened shows bad connection.

Panel opened shows bad connection.

7 Comments

  • Thanks Mark. I had a couple of posts on the subject of imaging in the rain, but they have been lost, I will write a new one. It is shocking that companies still do this.

  • Thank you for those informed words. I usually scan the closed panel door prior to opening it just to get an idea if something is overtly causing the metal door or enclosure to heat to a point where it might be too dangerous to have it opened when it is energized. If this is the case and the electrical apparatus can be deenergized for a visual inspection to be carried out prior to reenergization is the only reason I would perform a thermal scan of electrical gear housing or doors.

  • It always shocks me when I come across companies that scan electrical switchgear without opening it.

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