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Thermography That Talks

Integral loss prevention and monetary savings

In the world of field engineering, even minimal distractions can end in disaster. This was not the case for one client in North America, thanks to TÜV SÜD GRC Infrared Thermography program.

Dangerous Findings Detected

ThermographyWhile conducting a routine inspection of one client facility, the Thermographer noted that a 3,000-amp main switch feeding the facility exhibited substantial thermal abnormality. After careful inspection and evaluation, it was concluded that the A & B Phases of the switch had been welded together. Load estimation on the equipment was at 1,000-1,300A, and as copper melts at 1,085 degrees Celsius, this situation was classified as extremely dangerous.

After notifying management, the decision was made to immediately shut down the plant. On-site management and electrical staff were immediately ready to take the necessary actions, which was not only a testament to everyone’s commitment to safety and productivity, but also to the potential severity of the issue at hand. Within two hours, critical repairs were successfully made with the new, appropriate operating temperature.

About Infrared Thermography

Thermography is the measurement of emitted electromagnetic radiation, which can be used to calculate heat. Detecting invisible threats, such as in this situation, can be integral in mitigating power outages, fire, equipment damage, and risk of on-site personnel. Using state of the art thermal imaging equipment, TÜV SÜD GRC Thermographers make informed loss control decisions; they analyze how serious a finding is, as well as the potential damage cost to a client. As the severity was High, immediate action was taken, resulting in a successful re-energization of the facility and a resumption of full operations.

Major Savings to the Client

In the risk management industry, the “what if” question is always a critical one. In an incident such as this, potential loss could include substantial damage to the primary switchgear with an arc-flash incident, collateral damage to interior components (i.e. the bus, conductors, connections, etc.), as well as collateral fire, smoke, and potential water damage resulting from fire-fighting operations under a fire or explosion scenario.

In this case, due to the diligence of the Thermographer, TÜV SÜD GRC was able to save a valued client potential damage that was estimated to be over $100,000 USD in equipment, apparatus, and property damage, as well as over five days of business interruption. The intervention also mitigated any critical risk to facility employees, and visitors.

 

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