In any industry, more modern innovations and technology can make the business much better (although some may argue it can also slow them down!) In the refrigeration industry, there are several advances in technology that help businesses. In this blog, we will be looking at one of them and how the use of this technology can help the business potentially save money and also in some circumstances, their precious stock.
The technology will be looking at is thermal imaging – pretty much the same imaging they use when there are disasters and people may be trapped under rubble from fallen houses.
What is thermal imaging?
As the name suggests it is the technology that helps look for thermal matter, for example, anything that is warm. Think of it as a large thermometer, in fact, if any of you have ever seen the film Predator, then you’ll have a pretty good idea of the science behind the science-fiction! Giving it its proper name, thermographic imagery, it picks out heat from a given area and the temperatures are shown as coloured gradients – red being very hot and green, not so warm. In our industry, we call the use of this equipment a thermographic survey.
Where are they used?
As mentioned before, thermal imaging is often associated with rescue teams looking for people after disasters such as earthquakes. Thermal imaging or thermographic surveys can be used for several other things, these include by the fire service looking for hotspots after a fire has been put out – to see if an area may flare up again through heat. This is a great safety aspect for the fire crew as these detectors can be used at a distance, meaning they can keep themselves safe. Other areas they are using include for are checking roof leaks, electrical malfunctions and poor insulation.
Is there anything special about them?
These detectors are used a lot in the electrical industry as they can be used to find loose connections. On circuit breakers, for example, the build-up of dirt will cause extra resistance around the electrical circuit, this will produce heat and can cause the whole circuit to breakdown. So, in electrical situations, this is an excellent early detection.
The special thing about thermal imaging is it is currently the single way of checking whether solar panels are working at their best capacity and producing electricity efficiently. These detectors cannot read air temperature, but they can be used on venting, which is the impact of air temperature, example the amount of air that is flowing through events and the warmth it gets to.
How can they help our business?
A good thermographic survey will show any weaknesses in the refrigeration installation. For example, any leaks, any areas that are getting warmer than they should be, even the amount of heat produced by the electrical systems used. All these will go to producing more energy to keep the area cooler if the system is not efficient. Inefficiency can be picked up by a good thermographic survey, which means once it is identified and fixed, money will be being saved by the business. On thermographic surveys, a report will highlight any problems with the installation.
Will have in the survey impact the business?
One of the headaches on many maintenance servicing plans is to make sure that there is as less downtime is possible. The beauty of thermographic imaging survey is that downtime will be zero – we will check your business as it is running normally, this is the only way to get accurate results. Because the thermographic imagery equipment is so portable, we will be able to check your refrigeration installation without getting under your feet, and your production will continue as normal. The imaging itself can be shown to the business owners as it is a visual aspect of our servicing.
What happens next?
To have your business checked for any heat loss, which can result in extra financial outlay through extra energy costs, the first stage is to call us as we can discuss exactly what your service plan or the best service plan for your business could be. Thermal imaging can even form part of that service plan, or as a stand-alone – that is why giving us a call to start with is the best way forward. If you suspect there is a problem with any of your installation, for example, your energy bill outlay seems to be increasing more than it should be, speaking to us is a very wise move!
So thermal imaging otherwise known as a thermographic survey is a great tool in the box to have it comes to maintenance of refrigeration installations. The simple way that these surveys can be completed, and reports produced for each part of the business, means it has no impact on your day-to-day work. If you think a thermographic survey would be of benefit to your refrigeration plant – even if your installation was completed by another company, please give us a call and we will be happy to help with advice and to make an appointment to come and see you.