When it comes to electrical equipment inspections, the first technology that comes to mind is infrared thermography. Its effectiveness in identifying potential electrical faults is not in doubt, but relying on it alone could be risky. The reality is that many failures do not produce heat traces, so they are undetectable by a thermal imaging camera, this is where ultrasound for predictive electrical maintenance comes in.
The popularity of ultrasound for predictive maintenance is attributed to its ease of use, versatility, and cost of implementation. Although this technique was considered only as a complement to infrared thermography and vibration analysis, inspection programs based solely on ultrasound are now very common.
Here are the advantages of ultrasound for predictive electrical maintenance:
Detection of faults that do not produce heat
The corona effect usually does not produce a significant change in temperature that can be detected by a thermal imager. Either way, the high-frequency sound it generates can be picked up by an ultrasound instrument. By combining the latter with thermography, an electrical technician can find a potential electrical fault in some piece of equipment.
Energized equipment does not necessarily have to be opened. An ultrasound inspection can help to alert about problems such as corona effect, tracking and arc flash, notably reducing the occurrence of the latter. In addition to this, the technicians can stay away and safe from the equipment in question.
There are instruments capable of recording the sound detected in the anomaly and entering it into software that can analyze its spectrum. Corona, tracking and arc flash have a characteristic signature and ripple that allow their identification through analysis of the sound file.
Easy to use
Due to how easy it is to operate an ultrasound instrument; many users often have the impression that it lacks sophistication. The reality is that the new generations of these devices allow extensive customization to fit the needs and goals of maintenance programs.
In addition to being able to perceive sounds with headphones, most instruments display visual indicators of the decibel measurement.
The importance of finding electrical problems at an ultrasonic level should never be underestimated.