Understanding Infrared Thermography Findings

Make the most of your infrared thermography program

Make the most of your infrared thermography program

About Infrared Thermography Findings

Infrared thermography is one of the most effective and cost-efficient non-destructive testing (NDT) programs available to companies today. These surveys help to detect areas of abnormal temperature, diagnose problem areas and determine their severity in electrical systems and mechanical equipment. Infrared thermographic (IR) inspections are the single most preventative measure a business can implement.

There are two ways in which a fault can be assessed, and it is important to understand the differences between the severity of a finding (also known as a fault) and the impact of a finding. While severity determines how serious a finding might be from a thermal temperature threshold standpoint, impact looks at the potential equipment damage cost (including ancillary property damages) and/or how much potential disruption/downtime the facility might suffer as a result of the loss. Both perspectives must be considered to fully assess each finding.

Understanding a Well-Defined Finding

The impact of failure should be considered by the qualified individual inspecting the equipment and importance should be attached to findings where high costs or significant downtime may occur in the event of failure. A well-defined finding should combine both of these factors into its assessment and appropriate weighting should be given to higher impact findings.





 Minor Problem


 1° - 10° C

 Monitor, repair as part of regular maintenance.

 Immediate Problem


 10° - 35° C

 Repair in near future. Monitor load and watch for changes. Inspect for physical damage.

 Serious Problem


 35° - 75° C

 Repair in immediate future (1– 2 days). Inspect surrounding components for possible damage.

 Critical Problem


 75° C or greater

 Repair as immediate as possible, optimally re-check w/ thermal imager. Inspect surrounding components for probable damage.

 Notification of Risk Exposure



 Non-thermal finding. Observed condition poses risk to integrity of facilities electrical, mechanical, equipment/building systems.

It is easy to concentrate on the impressive looking high severity findings and completely ignore the significantly lower severity findings, which may have critical impact upon production. Knowledge of the equipment and the processes they drive is important in the correct assessment of a fault condition. Impact is measured either in cost values or time.

The Importance of Impact Measurement

Whilst severity is what most people assess with any thermographic image, impact is typically a more important measurement as it has a more immediate effect upon business.





 < 10 K and/or 1 day

 Anticipated probable loss of <$10K. USD property damage/BI of < 1 day.


 > 10 < 100 K and/or > 1 day< 1 week

Anticipated probable loss of b/w $10K - $100K. USD property damage /BI b/w 1 - 7 days.



 > $100 K and/or 1 week

 Anticipated probable loss of >$100K. USD property damage/BI of >1 week.

High (and moderate) impact findings should be prioritized for repair over low impact findings as these are our greatest risks in terms of business interruption and associated costs with losses. It should be noted that higher temperature severity findings typically have a higher probability of failure.

TÜV SÜD GRC’s IR Expertise

A proper infrared thermographic imaging program can deliver savings many times greater than the amount required for development and implementation and can be a critical component of any condition monitoring program. TÜV SÜD Global Risk Consultants (GRC) experts use the latest techniques and infrared and airborne ultrasound technology to provide you with comprehensive reports, severity and impact ratings, ultrasonic testing, arc-flash analysis, thermographic imaging analysis and immediate delivery of findings.

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