Proceedings PaperThermographer-friendly equipment design for predictive maintenance: baseline thermograms, thermal modeling, and emissivity
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For years predictive maintenance thermographers have been challenged by industrial targets to determine whether they had a problem, and if they did how big was it. We have struggled with low emissivity and unknown emissivity targets. We have observed thermal patterns and temperatures and asked whether the target was operating normally or if the heat patterns indicated a problem condition. Through years of experience, we have built a body of knowledge. Conferences such as Thermosense are where we share that knowledge with others. From this, we realize that much more could be done if our targets were thermographer-friendly. Now it is time to ask the equipment manufacturers to step up to the plate and acknowledge the viability of thermography as a predictive maintenance and non-destructive test tool. They build the targets we look at. They can help us in a least three areas: (1) We need to work with them to specify a baseline thermal signature for their equipment operating under normal conditions. Thermograms would be included with the operating manual or equipment test results. Thermography would be part of acceptance and installation testing. (2) We need to ask them to include high emissivity coatings in their designs for certain targets. (3) We need to work with them to develop thermal models that will indicate thermal signatures under all types of environmental conditions for both normal and abnormal operation. Thermal modeling programs developed by the defense community that will display a surface thermal image are available for PCs. With the help of target equipment manufacturers, we can significantly advance the state-of-the- art of thermography applications. We can be even more confident of our recommendations. We can evaluate targets that couldn't be evaluated before, expanding our applications. We can have backup on criticality calls with manufacturers' data. In short, we can do our job better.