RealWear recently launched their thermal camera module, a world-first in terms of a “fully hands-free, voice-controlled thermal camera experience”. By connecting a thermal camera to their RealWear Navigator™ 500 headset and using it along with voice-controlled navigation workers can see temperature anomalies on the equipment that they are working on. There are numerous use cases where the addition of a thermal camera module to a RealWear headset will be advantageous, we investigate a few of these below.
A variety of industrial inspection processes will benefit from implementing RealWear devices with a thermal camera. Just using a RealWear headset by itself improves the safety and efficiency of on-site inspections immensely by decreasing the time required on-site, making it easier to connect to external experts, and freeing up workers’ hands for improved safety. Industries such as manufacturing and distribution, energy, engineering, and construction have all seen these benefits after implementing wearable technology.
Adding a thermal camera module will further amplify these benefits, especially for electrical, mechanical, plumbing, and HVAC inspections where heat detection is important. Components such as valves, pipes, storage tanks, motors, and pumps can be inspected to ensure there are no temperature readings outside of the norm — something that may indicate a problem. Component problems that may lead to higher temperature readings include:
- Unusually high sludge levels in storage tanks
- Overheated bearings in conveyor belts and over equipment such as motors
- Anomalies in pipelines, such as blockages
- Valve leakage
- Overworked or faulty pumps
- Image: Automotive inspection using a RealWear Navigator™ 500 with a thermal camera (Source: RealWear)
2. Preventative Maintenance
The detection of thermal anomalies allows potential areas for preventative maintenance to be identified. Problems can be detected before they cause equipment failures and plant shutdowns. A wide range of equipment and components can be inspected using a thermal camera to assist in identifying potential issues. Technicians can swiftly measure and compare heat signatures for all equipment on the inspection route, all without interrupting operations.
If the temperature noticeably deviates from the historical norm, facilities can then use other maintenance technologies—vibration, motor circuit analysis, airborne ultrasound, and lube analysis—to investigate the source of the problem and determine the next course of action. The smallest failure can lead to big issues, so catching these early can save a lot of money.
3. Electrical System Inspections
Using the thermal camera for electrical inspections will improve the efficiency, accuracy, and safety of the job. Components such as distribution panelboards, switchboards, and transformers can be examined using the thermal camera. By identifying changes in temperature such as drastic increases in heat, inspectors can identify and document issues such as loose connections and overloaded circuits, which can lead to electrical fires.
The benefits of using the RealWear thermal camera module for electrical inspections include:
- It improves safety by allowing for a non-contact inspection.
- It is faster and more accurate.
- Inspection workflows can be completed using voice-control.
- The user can switch between the thermal and main camera seamlessly depending on their need.
- It might not require the turning off of any equipment, minimizing disruptions.
4. Diagnostics of Motors and Pumps
Equipment such as motors and pumps can be monitored to identify areas of irregular heat or cold. Overheating machinery can be identified in time and fixed, and bearings that are experiencing higher than normal friction can be lubricated or replaced. All of this can be achieved while hands-free in a rugged environment, increasing safety dramatically.
To get started, head on over to realwear.com to order your RealWear Navigator™ 500 and attachable thermal camera module.