Thermal Imaging for Mechanical Systems Monitoring What can be detected?

• Motors    • Generators    • Gearboxes    • Bearings    • Lubrication    • Couplings   

Typical reasons for Thermal Exceptions.

  • Misalignment of coupled Equipment

  • Over/Under lubrication of Bearings

  • Over/Under tension of belts

  • Excessive Friction

  • Defective Equipment

Abnormal heating associated with the above thermal Exceptions is the main cause of many problems in mechanical systems. Infrared thermography allows us to see these invisible thermal signatures of impending damage before the damage occurs. When heat is generation through friction, energy loss due to this is converted into heat energy. This is normal but must be kept to a minimum. But, if the friction is abnormally high abnormally high heat is generated which is wasteful, potentially damaging.

Miller Alignment Study – 1994 – concluded there is a direct relationship to heat produced via misalignment – the larger the misalignment the grater the energy loss

Infrared Solutions cameras enable us to see the heat signatures associated with above thermal Exceptions long before the equipment becomes hot enough to cause damage or Outage. 

For this type of Qualatative Testing we recommend Quarterly Cycles

Mechanical Problems

Below shows thermal exceptions found on different mechanical equipment

A) GearBox
B) Pump
Casing / Stator
C) Casing / Stator

All three of these examples were serious and needed immediate attention.

Belt-Pulley Bearing Problems.

The following thermograms shows thermal exceptions. Thermogram E) shows a belt with excessive apparent heat. This could be due to Over or under tension of Belt and F) shows the Bearing exhibiting signs of themal exception .

E) Belt
F) Bearings

Load Requirements.

When making an inspection it is important that the system is under normal load. Wait with the inspection for “worst case”

Don’t forget to consider the cooling effect of wind or other air movement

Surface Temperatures Only.

Infrared cameras cannot see through electrical connection of a motor. Whenever possible open connection enclosures so the camera can directly see the electrical circuits and components. If you find an abnormally high temperature on the outside surface of an enclosure, rest assured that the temperature is even higher, and usually much higher, inside the enclosure.


For all your Building Compliance and Maintenance needs