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Thermal imaging program can eliminate fire hazards

A scanning program that uses thermographic camera technology to detect hotspots on low voltage switchboard equipment before they develop into faults, fire or explosion is being offered by K E Brown Electrical Switchboards.

The technology is particularly applicable to human safety and technology-intensive areas of shopping centres, factories, offices, health and hospitality facilities, industrial processing plants and data processing, financial information and computer and automation installations that draw heavily on such switchboards.

Hotspots – which are invisible to the naked eye – potentially pose a serious business risk that can be avoided by a KEB Active Thermographic Program as part of a company’s low voltage switchboard maintenance regime.

The data gathered in such a programme is compiled into a report detailing prioritised remedial works recommendations, says KEB Site Service Manager Grant Perry.

Establishing an Active Thermographic Program can help save companies time and money by helping to eliminate safety hazards, unexpected equipment outages, business disruptions and costly repairs, he says.

Thermographic scanning of electrical switchboards does not require a shutdown and involves non-intrusive inspection of company switchboards without any impact on site operations.

“Awareness of the benefits of thermographic scanning of low voltage switchboards has increased greatly in recent times,” says Perry. “Many KEB clients opt for a combination of thermographic scanning and a Switchboard Inspection and Audit Report to give an accurate assessment of their switchboards’ overall condition.”

KEB provides a written colour-imaged KEB Active Thermographic Program Report detailing the equipment inspected, any faults found, severity of the faults identified (based on the operating temperatures detected) and recommendations on any corrective actions.

The data is summarised and any rectification recommendations are prioritised, giving the building manager a clear understanding of the condition of the switchboard. Early detection of any hotspots allows for scheduled rectification works to be carried out in a prioritised manner taking into account the severity of the fault detected.

Typically faults are indicated with a full thermal image as Picture in Picture (PIP) of the standard photographic image, detailing the nature of the fault and the operating temperatures at the time of inspection.

Interpretation of the data requires expertise and experience. In the case of a KEB Active Thermographic Program, this is provided by a thermographer who is not only Cert 1 Qualified by an external qualifying authority, but also an experienced switchboard tradesperson with a wealth knowledge regarding design and an understanding of specific AS and SA requirements relating to LV switchboards.

KEB thermographers are also highly experienced in switchboard equipment, switchboard remedial works, switchboard maintenance works and shutdown planning logistics.

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