Warning Signs: How to take advantage of data from condition-monitoring toolsWritten by Treena Hein Thursday, 19 April 2012
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So once you have all the fancy new tools, do you know how best to take advantage of them?
We’re here to help. Along with the sophistication of the tools available, ways to synthesize and integrate data so that maintenance teams can make immediate use of it and also monitor trend issues over a period of time are also progressing. PEM asked leading technology providers to share the latest in their condition monitoring tech developments, how best to integrate them, and where the future is headed.
Over the last few years, infrared cameras have improved significantly in terms of resolution and now come with more options as well, says Paul Frisk, manager of the Infrared Training Center in Burlington, Ont. (the training arm of infrared camera-maker FLIR Canada Ltd.). “Infrared cameras now have the ability to incorporate wireless data from digital clamp meters and other instruments and make that all available at one glance,” he explains. “Some cameras now available immediately generate a single-page report. This summary can be transferred for printing and archiving by download to an office computer or through wifi to a plant’s CMMS system.”
Frisk says the primary value of an infrared camera is in its ability to initially determine whether a device is working properly or not while it’s running. “With some other diagnostic tools, you have to shut down the device, which obviously impacts production,” he notes. However, as with many types of detection and monitoring technology, there are misconceptions about what infrared cameras can provide.
“From watching movies and TV, people think infrared cameras can allow you to see through walls, water, etc., but they only measure released infrared energy,” he explains. “A properly trained thermographer can determine temperatures from infrared readings using conversion factors, knowing the material and so on, but infrared cameras cannot overcome the physics of all materials under all conditions.” He also stresses that infrared images can easily be misinterpreted, and proper training is absolutely necessary.
In addition to using handheld infrared cameras and connecting them with your plant’s CMMS, standalone infrared cameras can send data to the process PLC (programmable logic controller). “Based on the camera’s readings, things like process speed, fans or heat can automatically be adjusted if the material needs to be kept at a certain temperature,” Frisk notes.
With regard to the future of infrared condition monitoring technology, he foresees more improvement in resolution and smaller camera size, along with a continued drop in cost.
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