The Benefits of Infrared Thermography

HSB’s thermography services can help avoid unexpected breakdowns that can halt production, knock out power, and even cause fires. Thermography, also called infrared testing, uses an infrared camera to detect the amount of energy emitted from an object via infrared wavelengths. The camera converts the infrared information into an image with temperature readings. Infrared wavelengths are shorter than the human eye can see, and thermography detects heat-related problems long before they can be seen with the human eye.

Why use Thermography testing?

Thermography can easily detect thermal anomalies in electrical equipment. The excessive heat may be due to overloading, improperly sized components, load imbalance, or most commonly, resistance due to poor connections. Mechanical issues can also be detected, such as improper lubrication, misalignment, or any other friction-related issue.

Studies have shown that for every dollar spent on a thermography survey, five dollars in cost avoidance is identified on the damage. When considering factors like business interruption, downtime, and extra expense, that ratio becomes more like 1 to 20. In terms of electrical fire exposure, depending on the size and type of facility, the average is 1 to 60. The savings can far exceed the investment.

There’s no downside to thermography testing, only benefits. By using infrared technology to help identify potential problems with electrical and mechanical equipment, a facility can take equipment off-line for repair before failure occurs, production is halted, or a fire impacts your business.

HSB’s thermography testing services can provide a means to save money. Anytime a problem can proactively be detected, it saves the consumer time and money. It’s usually far cheaper to repair an item instead of replacing it after it fails. In most cases, the only expense in repairing an item is the cost of labor. HSB leverages this technology to help customers prevent costly unexpected outages to equipment, processes, and operations.

A key to the quality of HSB’s thermography services is the quality and experience of our staff. All HSB Thermographers are certified at Level II minimum, with at least 10 years of experience. Thermography is their full-time job, and they are dedicated experts in the field, with experience in many different operations and industries.

Why Use HSB Thermography Services?

HSB has been conducting thermographic surveys since 1983, providing service to practically every type of business, from grocery stores to steel mills worldwide. The program meets the American Society of Nondestructive Testing Practices for Thermal/Infrared Testing Certification and is overseen by Snell Infrared in Barre, Vermont – an independent Level III certification company.

By combining the use of infrared as a tool with our knowledge of equipment and risk, HSB thermographers are more than just common “hot spot” locators. Thermographers consult with customers to clarify their objectives before the work begins, and customer satisfaction is our primary concern.

HSB Thermography Service Examples

A private school in Florida – Our thermographer noticed the conduit to an electric meter had a slight elevation in temperature. They recommended the local utility be called in to investigate and repair. The utility discovered the meter was wired incorrectly, resulting in erroneous readings. This resulted in the utility issuing the school a $60,000 credit for several years of overcharging based on the improper readings.


Foundry in Pennsylvania – An HSB thermographer discovered a large high voltage electric motor and bearings on the drive shaft operating at a high temperature. The thermographer also used his Augoscope device to further inspect the motor with vibration analysis. The vibration analysis confirmed that the motor had mechanical looseness, possibly due to bearing wear, which validated the thermal image. This finding prevented a future failure and saved the foundry $35,000 for a replacement motor.

motor thermography


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© 2019 The Hartford Steam Boiler Inspection and Insurance Company. All rights reserved. This article is for informational purposes only and is not intended to convey or constitute legal advice. HSB makes no warranties or representations as to the accuracy or completeness of the content herein. Under no circumstances shall HSB or any party involved in creating or delivering this article be liable to you for any loss or damage that results from the use of the information contained herein. Except as otherwise expressly permitted by HSB in writing, no portion of this article may be reproduced, copied, or distributed in any way. This article does not modify or invalidate any of the provisions, exclusions, terms or conditions of the applicable policy and endorsements. For specific terms and conditions, please refer to the applicable endorsement form.

JR Smith

Ronald (JR) Smith is an AVP of Thermographic Services for Hartford Steam Boiler.


  • It’s good to know that thermography testing can help detect any problems with mechanical equipment. My uncle wants to outsource for some different infrared testing and doesn’t know where to start. I’ll be sure to share this with him so he can get an idea of who to hire.

  • I appreciate that you mentioned how infrared thermography can help with ensuring that a building is energy efficient and not losing too much heat. That must be a nice feature for determining if an HVAC system needs to be fixed or replaced. If I owned a building that required that kind of testing, I would want to make sure it had optimal energy efficiency.

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