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ELECTRICAL DISTRIBUTION

TEN TIPS FOR IMAGING Using advanced technology, leak detection and repair programs will not only improve operator safety, but also protect the environment from potentially harmful gases.

O

ptical gas imaging (OGI) cameras use spectral wavelength filtering and sterling cooler cold filtering technology to visualise the infrared absorption of VOC/hydrocarbon, SF 6, refrigerants, carbon monoxide and other gases whose spectral absorption matches the response of the camera. The development of OGI technology means that the industry can carry out a ‘Smart LDAR’ (leak detection and repair) program, allowing operators to safely and efficiently visualise gas leaks. Using OGI means the industry can reduce industrial emissions and allows operators to conform to future regulations. In addition, the technology saves money as it delivers a more efficient process. Most importantly, it improves the safety of both assets and personnel. To get the most out of your OGI equipment, you should consider the following 10 tips.

This presents a significant challenge when looking at components high up and pointing the camera at the sky. Additionally, weather conditions such as rain and strong winds need to be taken into account. Rain can make detection very difficult, but wind can actually help visualise the gas because it makes the gas move.

3. Keep in mind that optical gas imaging is qualitative, not quantitative Due to the environmental variants, background energy differential and variations, an OGI camera will not be able to tell which amount of gas is leaking or what gas it is. An OGI camera will, however, pinpoint the source of the leak in the most efficient and effective way.

1. Understand the application and needs

4. Combine an optical gas imaging camera with a sniffer probe

Different applications require different cameras. One camera will not detect all gases, so you’ll need to be clear on which type of gas you are dealing with. For example, a VOC/hydrocarbon OGI camera will not see SF6 and a CO camera will not see refrigerants.

Use an OGI camera to visualise the leak and trace its source as the first step. To quantify the leak, you’ll need a sniffer probe — a toxic vapour analyser (TVA) or an organic vapour analyser (OVA). Using this combined approach is referred to as Smart LDAR.

2. Take into account the environmental conditions

5. Use all the available features and functions

The success of passive optical gas imaging depends on environmental conditions. The greater the background energy differential, the easier the camera will be able to visualise the gas leak and pinpoint its source. Active optical gas imaging (ie, using a laser-based backscattering technique) relies on a reflective surface in the background.

Certain OGI cameras — including all of FLIR’s GF-Series cameras — are dual-use systems. They can also be used for industrial maintenance inspections, including high- and low-voltage electrical installations, mechanical installations, pipework and insulation, ovens and more. The thermographic function on an OGI camera will also help determine the background temperature/energy the gas

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SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2016 - ECD [ELECTRICAL+COMMS+DATA] 33

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