Thermal imaging is a versatile technology used across a number of industries. One of the main advantages is that all tests can be performed quickly and without any contact with the equipment, therefore minimising any disruption to production.
Thermal Imaging Cameras can help drastically reduce downtime and improve energy efficiency in the food processing sector; this technology is often used in food processing facilities both for maintenance and monitoring food product temperature and levels.
Component wear, and subsequent failure, is one of the biggest causes of unplanned downtime and any increase in operating temperature is an early indicator of potential problems. Using a hand-held thermal imaging camera as part of a preventative maintenance programme can quickly identify failing components (without interrupting production) before an incident occurs.
Thermal Imaging Cameras can also be used to identify opportunities for energy saving measures, which not only reduce carbon emissions but also operating costs for businesses. Wasted energy, in the form of thermal leaks and inefficiencies, can be identified immediately using a thermal imaging camera. Examples of this inlcude oven temperature spreads, door seals on refrigerated areas, pipework, ventilation as well as other thermal processes on site.
Easily identify faulty seals
Using a thermal camera you can check the seals on either fridges or ovens to stop wasting energy and potentially spoiling product. Typically, a refrigerator with a split door seal uses up to 11% more energy than an efficiently operating refrigerator and a split door seal on an oven can lose 20% of its heat. If you use thermal imaging you can easily visualise areas where energy is being lost though defective seals.
Improve the effectiveness of your chillers
The ideal strategy for using thermal imaging in a preventative maintenance schedule is the comprehensive understanding of the operating environment and the conditions components are under in everyday operation. A thermal imaging camera can be used to capture and log the process and its components. Thermal survey reports can be created as a reference showing temperature profiles in normal operation and subsequent anomalies can be compared with the reference reports to aid decision making in a condition-based assessment.
The key to the successful use of thermal imaging is in determining basic parameters so that when abnormal conditions are encountered they can be easily detected, analysed and remedied. This means establishing operation criteria as part of the original acceptance inspection or following a planned maintenance overhaul when everything is operating within expected tolerances. By reviewing these images against the reference images, more effective decisions can be made about repairing or replacing components.
Dark areas outline cold air leaks
Adoption of thermal imaging technology is leading to cost savings through reduced maintenance hours throughout the food production chain, through increased plant operating efficiency and more effective operation of maintenance engineers. The below video shows an example of how you can analyse your thermal images, to make sure you get the most out of your thermal camera.