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Infrared Thermography is the technique that uses an infrared imaging and measurement camera to "see" and "measure" invisible infrared energy being emitted from an object.
Thermal, or infrared energy, is energy is not visible because its wavelength is too long for the sensors in our eyes to detect. It is the part of the electromagnetic spectrum that we perceive as heat. Unlike visible light, in the infrared spectrum everything with a temperature above absolute zero emits infrared electromagnetic energy. Even cold objects such as ice cubes emit infrared radiation. The higher the temperature of the object, the greater the infrared radiation emitted. The Infrared camera allows us to see what our eyes cannot!
In the industrial/commercial environment, almost everything gets hotter or cooler before it fails, making infrared cameras extremely valuable diagnostic tools with many diverse applications. As industry strives to improve manufacturing efficiencies, manage energy, improve product quality, and enhance worker safety, new applications for infrared cameras continually emerge.
How Does the Camera "See" Heat?
All objects, cold or hot, radiate heat in the form of infrared energy. As an object increases in temperature, it radiates more energy and the wavelength gets shorter. Infrared radiation, visible light and ultraviolet light are all forms of energy in the electromagnetic spectrum. The only difference is their wavelength or frequency.
The human eye can only see a narrow range of wavelength in the electromagnetic spectrum. These wavelengths range in length from 0.4 to 0.7 microns, a micron is one millionth of a metre. Most of what the eye sees is reflections from objects that high energy from the sun or an incandescent light bulb is striking. If the temperature of an object gets hot enough however, above 525°C the energy from that object will radiate energy in the visible spectrum and we will see it. This is when we see an object like the burner on an electric stove “glowing” red. In fact any time an object will emit or reflect energy in the same frequency of our eyes we will see it. Mostly, however we see reflections.
The infrared camera can detect infrared energy well before we can see it with our eyes. Most cameras can image temperatures from -20 to 500°C and can be extended down to -40°C and up to 2000°C. The camera converts this invisible infrared energy into a two-dimensional visual image and displays this on a standard TV monitor. Most industrial cameras can also make temperature measurements, with accuracies to around ±2% at 30°C. The thermal information is stored onto a disc and is later downloaded into a computer to create report.
Infrared Inspections are Simple!
However, taking thermal images and gathering thermal information is quite easy these days, just push the auto button and there is an image! This is simple on the surface, but it is not as easy as it sounds. The real work — and value — is what the thermographer understands about the object of interest, how it operates, the heat transfer within and to the surface of the object, how to adjust the camera to enhance the thermal details necessary to evaluate the image once it is stored and downloaded onto the computer. Then prepare a report that is accurate, clearly presented and is easy to read by the maintenance personnel, who generally do not know anything about Infrared Thermography. As in any method of non-destructive testing, the interpretation of the information gathered takes both education and experience.
This is NOT a “point and shoot” technique, as most camera manufacturers would like you to believe!
Infrared Training and Education
The above outlines the reasons why a training course by field experienced trainers is vital to any person doing field inspections. The courses teach people how to fully utilise the infrared camera and software, to gather accurate meaningful data, and, to be able to correctly interpret the information and present the information in a clear understandable format.
What Is Certification?
A certificate is a piece of paper you can receive just by attending a Training Course. But for certification to mean anything, the agency granting that certification has to insure that the candidate is qualified.
How is this accomplished?
ISO & IRT based Certification.
Students can gain certification two ways:
a) 5 Steps
to ISO Certification.
Steps to ISO Certification.
Candidates shall have a combination of education, training and experience to ensure that they understand the principles and procedures applicable to thermographic measurement and analysis.
Candidates shall provide documentary evidence of successful completion of a BINDT approved or recognised course of formal training based on the requirements of Annex A2.
Application for Level 1 qualification examination is made on PCN form PSL/57-CM.
1. The minimum duration of training is 40 Hours.
2. The training syllabus includes a requirement for practical knowledge and practical skills training.
3. Candidates must maintain a log of hours and nature of work, especially scanning times, on PCN documents CP-16CM for level1.
4. Minimum cumulative experience requirements 12 months – 400 hours practical experience.
Standards, codes and specifications
1. British Standard (BS) ISO 13374. Part 1. 2003. Condition monitoring and diagnostics of machines- Data processing, communication and presentation: Part 1. General Guidelines
2. BS ISO 13372: 2004, Condition monitoring and diagnostics of machines- vocabulary
3. BS ISO 17359: 2003, Condition monitoring and diagnostics of machines- general guidelines.
4. ISO 13379: 2003, Condition monitoring and diagnostics of machines - Data interpretation and diagnostic techniques - General guidelines
5. CMGEN: 2004, General requirements for qualification and certification of condition monitoring and diagnostic personnel.
6. ISO/FDIS 13381-1, Condition monitoring and diagnostic of machines; prognostics: Part 1 general Guidelines
7. ISO 18436-1: 2004, Condition monitoring and diagnostics of machines; requirements for training and certification of personnel. Part 1, Requirements for certifying bodies and the certification process.
8. BS EN ISO/IEC 17024: 2003, Conformity assessment- general requirements for bodies operating certification of persons.
9. ISO/DIS 18434-1. Condition monitoring and diagnostics of machines. Thermography. Part 1: General procedures.
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