Thermal imaging in power transmission and substations

Stability of power distribution system is essential for maintaining our life quality. From power generator to millions of households, the power distribution system can roughly be divided into 3 sections: high voltage system, which includes high voltage transmission lines and high voltage end of transformers; medium voltage system that consists of electricity generator and low voltage end of transformer; low voltage system that comprises electrical cabinets and other electrical components. Of these three, the maintenance of high voltage power distribution system is particularly important, for it affects millions of lives downstream and the repair/replacement of instruments are extremely costly.

Unplanned down time of electric distribution system could mean collapse of entire social infrastructure: banking facilities, manufacturing plants, food refrigeration, communication networks, hospital facilities and traffic control systems, etc. Not to mention, the electric utility company responsible for the power supply would undoubtably suffer from significant revenue loss and repairment cost.

Electrical issues in high voltage distribution system may vary in components and causes: bad connection at insulator bushing, degradation of metal oxidate disk in lighting arrestor, oil or gas leakage at transformer or circuit breaker, etc. However, these anomalies share one common denominator: temperature rise caused by increased electrical resistance prior to component/equipment failure. Thermal imaging is the perfect technology for detecting potential issues in high voltage power distribution system for two reasons: it offers non-contact measurement from a distance, which guarantees inspector’s safety, and thermal inspection won’t interfere operation of the system, which prevent unnecessary down time and profit loss.

Fotric 348A handheld thermal imager offers one more advantageous feature in electric inspection: the interchangeable lens. For a grand overview of the equipment status, users can put on a 44° wide angle lens. The camera's 640x480 resolution makes sure it can reveal all the anomalies of a massive transformer with just one look. For remote and dangerous to access places like transmission line, the 12° telephoto lens and 7° ultra-telephoto lens allow inspectors to accurately evaluate thermal defect as small as 0.05/0.03m in diameter from a 50 meter distance.

Equipped with Fotric 348A, users can catch thermal anomalies early, extend the life span of well-functioning equipment, prevent equipment failure, reduce repairment/replacement cost and improve the overall safety of the distribution site.