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Infrared Electrical Testing

The other week, we had a customer call for service due to an electrical failure issue. When our technician showed up to evaluate the situation, he quickly learned that a termination within a large control panel had deteriorated and overheated causing a disconnect failure. These calls are fairly common, but avoidable when companies practice annual panel switchgear infrared testing.

All too often, electrical systems are overlooked because it is simply assumed that it will automatically continue to function normally. Recommendations from leading insurance or risk carriers now recommend simple maintenance practices, while others require infrared testing as a component to be insured by their organization. As the electrical industry continues to adapt to ever-changing influences, we are seeing more acceptance of electrical maintenance programs within the workplace.

Employers generally have choices when it comes to how they implement a good infrared testing program for their facilities. Some recommendations to look for in a provider are as follows:

  1. Consider that most issues on poor equipment connections are found in control cabinets where maintenance staff most frequently interacts with.  With that in mind, evaluate all key “loss time” equipment areas, and consider down time associated with unplanned outages.
  2. Evaluate overall electrical safety, NFPA 70E, and determine who will perform the infrared testing. There are quality providers in the market, but many will require your employees to open and close equipment for them. This creates several safety risk issues including NFPA 70E and arc flash safety.
  3. Consider what information will be shown on your reports. Quality providers comment on more than infrared related issues and will help you with other electrical code topics including grounding and bonding of equipment and other safety related codes such as (NFPA 70B).

Every company can benefit from maintenance-related programs such as infrared testing. This is one very basic concept that continues to create huge benefits by eliminating unplanned outages

Make it a Safe Day!