Thermal imaging just by its nature can increase your inspection and troubleshooting efficiency. Here are some additional practices you can adopt to further boost that efficiency and keep you and your workers safer.

Create a thermography-specific inspection route

Start with an existing list of equipment from your computerized maintenance management system (CMMS) or other inventory systems. Group the equipment you plan to inspect by area or function. If you’re pressed for time, focus first on areas where failures have occurred in the past. It is also good to mark a spot on the floor and the equipment, or use another method, to ensure that inspections are repeated from the same position.

The first couple of inspection cycles may take a bit longer because you may have to locate equipment and figure out the best way to safely access it. A good way to save time for the next cycle is to use the digital camera in your thermal imager to shoot a visible light image of the equipment, including its name plate. If your camera supports it you can also record verbal and text notes, and store all that data in the equipment database.

When introducing infrared to your maintenance routine, don’t be surprised if you find a lot of issues in the first few inspection cycles. Once you’ve run a few cycles, the number of issues will likely decrease and you can re-organize and schedule your routes based on the condition and criticality of your equipment.

Worker observes equipment with a Fluke thermal imager

Get a good start

This may seem obvious but as a reminder of best practices, before you start your inspection route make sure your infrared camera is ready to go:

  • Charge the batteries
  • Make sure it is calibrated
  • Clear the memory of previously recorded data
  • If you’re running a route that has been inspected previously, upload past results into the camera so they can be compared to new findings
  • Line up any additional equipment that you may need such as a clamp meter
  • Talk to workers from the area you will be inspecting and discuss concerns about safety, equipment conditions, and so on
  • Note any unusual conditions that might impact your work