Answers to the most frequently asked questions
What is Predictive Maintenance?
For a long time the maintenance that was carried out in the industry in general was the Preventive Maintenance, which was based on the combination between the recommendations given by the manufacturer, for a certain equipment or system and the experience of the operators with those equipment.
In the 70s, the analysis of oil in engines began to become more important, in which, as required by preventive maintenance, the oil was changed periodically and certain adjustments were made, but the condition of the bearings, rings and other moving parts, unless the engine was opened. Through this type of analysis you can determine what is happening inside the engine during its operation. The particles of steel, bronze, and other wear metals, joint materials, soot or any other insoluble substance present in the lubricant gives us a very important information that properly evaluated will tell us what is happening on that engine when it is in operation. This was the beginning of Predictive Maintenance (it was predicted what would happen in that engine if corrective actions were not taken as necessary) and new ASTM tests were created to analyze how not only motors but pumps are made today, compressors, hydraulic systems, turbines, transmissions and gearboxes, electrical transformers, OCB or high-voltage oil immersion switches, etc.
In view of the success of this type of Predictive Maintenance began to look for equipment that could give us information in other systems such as the electrical system.
At the end of the 70s, infrared equipment used for military purposes began to be declassified. It is then when they begin to use them to obtain information on the operation of electrical, mechanical and steam systems where the presence of temperature allowed this type of application.
The use of these equipment by duly certified personnel and the careful evaluation of the results helps us today to predict what can happen if a repair is not made in time and to prevent the deterioration of a component, a fire or the loss of production due to an unexpected stop of a computer or a system.
Later we added other equipment such as vibration detectors or ultrasound equipment that allow us to hear sounds outside the frequencies perceptible by the human ear and to determine friction of moving parts in pumps, air losses in compressed air systems, crowns or arcs in electrical systems, etc. Today it is difficult to conceive the safe and efficient operation of a facility without the information that consultants provide through the use of these techniques.
Are Infrared Inspections a requirement that I must comply with?
Infrared inspection of electrical systems is a requirement established in NFPA 70B 18.16 (the NEC was developed by the NFPA). As a consequence, today it is an almost general requirement of the Insurance Companies. For these reasons, it is a requirement that must be met.
But the most important requirement must not be left aside and is that each industry or entity must establish itself to achieve a safe operation, without unexpected stops and with the least possible deterioration of the equipment.
When the maintenance engineer seriously intends to reach that goal he can not leave this type of service aside.
How often should the infrared inspection of the electrical system be done?
Paragraph 18-16 of the NFPA 70B explains everything related to infrared inspection of electrical systems. In 18-16.5 the frequency requirements of the inspections are established and it says:
"Routine infrared inspections of electrical systems must be conducted annually, where there is an established experience of frequency, or when new equipment is installed, environmental, operational problems or load change conditions, inspections should be carried out more frequently, eg every four or six months "
When should this type of inspection be done?
NFPA 70B 18-16.5 states that: "Infrared inspections must be carried out during the periods of highest load in the system and never with less than 40% of the maximum load of the equipment or electrical system inspected"
This means that infrared inspections can not be performed with the installation out of service, or during a scheduled shutdown or "shut down" and as it is a non-invasive inspection, no equipment is left to perform it. The inspection is transparent for the normal operation of the installation.
Why the Insurance Companies ask for an infrared inspection?
As explained above, if the infrared inspection is correctly carried out, it indicates how safe they can be that the installation has an unexpected stop or that a fire starts in the electrical system. In the same way it happens when you are going to insure a house that the insurance agent visits and makes sure of its condition, its construction, whether it has smoke detectors, storm shutters or a fire extinguisher in the kitchen, because that your risk as an insurer decreases.
Some insurance companies do their own inspection. Is that inspection equivalent to that performed by Infra-Red Inspection Services?
Unfortunately they are not equivalent. The insurance companies do a quick inspection of those areas where they have established experience can generate fires in the electrical system. That is, they use parameters different from those established in an inspection from the point of view of predictive maintenance. Apart from the results of the inspection, they very rarely reach the hands of the maintenance engineer, that is, it is an internal requirement of the insurance company and although they are carried out by thermographers in most cases they are not properly qualified in the electrical part, mechanical or steam. If an installation believes it meets the requirements of the NFPA70B and the requirements of a predictive maintenance program because the insurance company has done an infrared inspection, they are far from achieving the excellence of a safe operation, without unexpected stops and with the less possible deterioration of equipment.
Is the service offered by Infra-Red Inspection Services, Inc. accepted by insurance companies?
Yes it is accepted. Not only is it accepted but we have many clients where the insurance company has stipulated that they do not accept any report other than Infra-Red Inspection Services, Inc. They get a copy of the report from the client or how it happens In some cases, if the client requests it, we provide the copy either on paper or on disk.
How is the service offered by Infra-Red Inspection Services, Inc. different from that of other companies?
Infra-Red Inspection Services, Inc. takes two decades in the Puerto Rican market dedicated entirely to the predictive consulting of electrical, mechanical and steam systems through the use of infrared equipment, having incorporated ultrasound equipment in the year 2000.
The simplest way to explain how our service differs from that of other companies is to say that infrared and ultrasound equipment is to our technicians what the stethoscope is to the doctor. Each inspection is totally different, each installation is different, switches, contactors, transformers or panels from different manufacturers are different. Our technicians do not go to a plant or an institution to take thermographs of what may be hot, they will make a study as detailed as possible of the system and its components. The most important instrument of a doctor is not the stethoscope, but his knowledge and the other information he obtains when examining us. In the same way for an Infra-Red Inspection Services, Inc. technician, the infrared and ultrasound equipment are very important instruments but they are complemented with knowledge and with other data (amperages, temperatures, conductivity, etc.) obtained during the inspection. We have thousands of hours of experience in this type of consultancy and in these almost two decades hundreds of clients with whom we have walked together towards the excellence of their facilities.
Our reports support what was explained above. The explanations given go beyond saying "tighten the screw". Our procedures have been implemented in some companies as repair standards. Each problem is studied and evaluated before giving a concise and concrete recommendation. And this is because we know that the maintenance supervisor wants to know what is wrong and repair it, but we want the repair to be effective, that his plant can continue to operate safely. When an Infra-Red Inspection Services, Inc. technician is performing an inspection look with the same objectivity that our client would. That is why ultrasound was incorporated, to provide a service of the highest quality where we do not have doubts about the condition of what we inspect, that's why the service includes the follow-up visit and the reports also include everything that deviates from the norms safety standards established by OSHA and the NEC.
To this we must add that our technicians are all professionals and certified at the highest levels in both the thermographic area and ultrasound with continuous training on the equipment used to inspect and inspected.
An infrared / ultrasound inspection service should be done by professionals with experience and dedication since you should trust what we do and trust that we are doing well because they can not be looking through the infrared equipment or listening to the ultrasound equipment. same time that we do it.
All this makes a service Infra-Red Inspection Services, Inc. is very different from other companies and that the only thing we can have in common is the use of infrared or ultrasound equipment, the same common point that may have a doctor and a nurse wearing a stethoscope around his neck. When you are going to make a comparison between Infra-Red Inspection Services, Inc. and another company you must carefully evaluate and take into account what was explained, because we want you to continue trusting this type of predictive maintenance because we are sure of its effectiveness if it is done well.
This is a very important point especially for the Purchasing Department who are not obliged to know these details and to be carried away by costs. Infra-Red Inspection Services, Inc. has never negotiated a price other than for a volume of installations to be inspected for the same client. And it has never been negotiated because we are very sure that the client receives the service he deserves or more than what he pays for it. This is not to be inflexible, this is to be sure of the professionalism and the quality of the work that I do