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European electrical contractor EGI is using thermal-imaging technology supplied by Flir Systems to detect electrical faults at an early stage, thus preventing failure and fire.

EGI originally invested in a Flir T360 infrared camera to meet customers’ increasing demand for thermal inspection in line with insurance requirements. It is now commonplace for insurance cover to be conditional upon regular thermal inspections in order to minimise both production losses and fire risk.

The Flir camera rapidly detects problems with old cable coatings while the system is under load so their replacement can be scheduled during the next planned shutdown. EGI also uses the camera to detect asymmetrical loads.

The company has more recently purchased a Flir T440, a camera featuring Multi Spectral Dynamic Imaging (MSX) and Meterlink functionality.

Key benefits of product application

  • Thermal-imaging technology provides an early warning of failure, so costly downtime is avoided — which is important in the management of critical systems.
  • Flir thermal imaging has become such an important part of the EGI business that the company has recently upgraded its thermal-imaging hardware to take advantage of the latest detection technology.
  • MSX technology delivers excellent image detail in real time and simplifies target identification without compromising temperature data.
  • Meterlink makes it possible to transfer, via Bluetooth, the data acquired by an Extech clamp meter to the corresponding thermal image, resulting in speedier inspection as all values are automatically included in the inspection report.

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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