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FLIR Systems has published a new application spotlight that addresses the challenge that electrical power stations face in detecting gas leaks from their Sulfur hexafluoride (SF6) circuit breakers.

Sulfur hexafluoride circuit breakers protect electrical power stations and distribution systems by interrupting electric currents, when tripped by a protective relay. Advantages of sulfur hexafluoride circuit breakers over other media include lower operating noise, no emission of hot gases, and relatively low maintenance.

The longer a leak from a SF6 circuit breaker is left undetected and not repaired, the more revenue is lost, and the greater the carbon footprint on the environment from the electrical power station. Consequently, it is crucial to rapidly locate SF6 circuit breaker leaks to minimize downtime and revenue loss. Using traditional leak detection methods such as gas sniffers or soap bubbles this is not always possible as they require close access to or even shutdown of the electrical power plant.

By using a portable, non-contact FLIR GF306 optical gas imaging camera you can visualize SF6 and other gas emissions without the need to shut down operations. You can also quickly scan substations for leaks while maintaining a safe distance from high-voltage equipment. Using a FLIR GF306 you can catch leaks early, reducing revenue lost from breakdowns and repairs. Doing so will also help reduce emissions so your company can meet environmental regulations and avoid potential fines.

For a copy of this application spotlight please visit www.flir.eu/instruments/utilities/application-spotlight-inspect-sulfur-hexafluoride-sf6-circuit-breakers/.For more information about using optical gas imaging cameras for leak detection in electrical power substations / transmission please visit www.FLIR.com/substation-transmission

FLIR Systems specialises in technologies that enhance perception and awareness.  The company brings innovative sensing solutions into daily life through its thermal imaging and visible light imaging technology and systems for measurement, diagnosis, location and advanced threat detection.  Its products improve the way people interact with the world around them, enhance productivity, increase energy efficiency and make the workplace safer.

FLIR Systems has six operating segments – surveillance, instruments, OEM and emerging markets, maritime, security and finally, detection. Of these six, ‘instruments’ is of greatest interest to trade and industry and the second largest segment in the company’s portfolio. This division provides devices that image, measure and assess thermal energy, gases and other environmental elements for industrial, commercial and scientific applications.

These products are manufactured across five production sites, three in the USA and two in Europe; Sweden and Estonia.

A model to suit every application and budget
The options that FLIR Systems provides for measuring temperature and studying thermal performance have never been greater.  Not only does the company offer a huge range of models to suit all thermal application needs but the technology is also affordable and very easy to use.  Thermal cameras now come in various shapes, sizes and degrees of sophistication and FLIR continues to invest heavily in the development of new and complementary technologies to differentiate itself from competitors.

An important milestone in the development of thermal imaging has been the introduction of the FLIR Lepton® core, a micro longwave detector, the size of a mobile SIM.  This has allowed thermal imaging to be repackaged to meet the needs of an even wider audience and, in combination with another new technology called Infrared Guided Measurement – IGM™ – has led to the development of a range of test and measurement meters with imaging capability.

Another important growth area for FLIR thermal imaging is in continuous monitoring to assure quality and safety.  Through its introduction of discrete fixed mounted thermal cameras which are fully compliant industry standard plug-and-play protocols, FLIR Systems has provided industry with infrared machine vision which is instantly ready for quick and easy network installation.

Protecting assets and people from fire is an area for which thermal imaging is least known but, thanks to FLIR Systems’ development, it is now one of the most cost-effective methods available.  Its application flexibility and rapid return on investment present an attractive proposition for any site or safety manager.

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