Why Are Manufacturers Using Thermography?


To get some insight into the value of thermographic inspections, we interviewed a pair of Digitronik team members who have been performing thermographic services for a variety of our customers. Enter Shawn Mott, company founder and President, and John Attanasio, Assistant Electrical Thermographer.

What types of businesses can benefit from thermographic inspection?

SM: Utility suppliers, continuous manufacturers or process plants. Oil and gas installations and pipelines. Printing presses.

JA: And Machine Builders! We just caught an eminent failure on a partner’s machine just as they were wrapping up the design phase and preparing to ship to clients. Getting thermography performed at that crucial moment of the project saved huge headaches, repair costs and valuable reputation.

What are the primary benefits of thermographic inspections?

SM: You can catch something that is near failure and prevent costly downtime even with just one sample set. And after establishing a baseline, repetitive monthly or quarterly inspections leads to predictive prevention.

JA: The ability to ‘see around the corner’, and protect your investments.

Are there any secondary benefits?

JA: Thermographic inspection gives you an additional vantage-point into efficiency issues, where down-line issues can be detected, and it can be deployed as a ‘last resort’ on undiagnosed problems.

SM: And again, there’s great value for Machine Builders in doing a scan before commissioning new equipment. Some might buy their own basic camera, but usually they are not at our level of training and expertise.

What other services of Digitronik relate to thermography, and how could clients benefit from such pairings or service packaging?

SM: One parallel track is our obsolescence studies. High quality thermographic studies can definitely reveal where to make your investments.

JA: The thermography process yields a lot of valuable information into your retrofitting or modernization options, areas where we have great expertise.

What kind of situations in a plant could be avoided by retaining such a proactive service?

SM: You can prevent critical downtime events.

JA: And proactive plans usually cost less than reactive ones.

How could a new client get started?

JA: Call us! Schedule an initial site visit.

SM: Also an option- we can train your staff on how to make their own reports, and then work with you on analyzing the data.

If I manage a production facility, why shouldn't I wait?

JA: Why do you get your car’s oil changed every three months? What happens if you don't? The longer you wait, the higher the potential for something to go wrong.

SM: If you’ve never done a thermographics study and you have older equipment, you should do it now. If you have high failure rates on equipment (such as load/switch gear) you should do it now. Thermography is one of the parts of a predictive/preventive maintenance program. Electricians typically just scan the main switch-gear (power supply). We’re controls engineers. We do control panels. We do junction boxes. We do everything.