Process Engineering Simplified

Infrared Inspection

November 20, 2017

SPEC utilizes infrared imaging to support on-site inspection of conditions and diagnosis of issues that are not apparent to the naked eye. It is a non-contact measurement tool that be safely used during operation of the process. There are several instances where infrared imaging can be used, including:

    • Overheated motors or bearings due to operation or plant conditions
    • Heat loss and opportunity for addition of insulation to tanks and piping
    • Blocked piping or buildup in piping
    • Leaks of product, steam or other media


Recently, SPEC used the IR camera to evaluate steam and heat exchanger piping on a tank reactor. When steam traps are blocked due to buildup of particulate or solids the steam condensate cannot escape the process and will affect the ability of steam to heat the tank. Strainers are a common source of buildup and require periodic maintenance.

The inlet temperature of the steam trap should be relatively close to the temperature of saturated steam. By evaluating the temperature of steam traps, it can be evaluated if the strainer is blocked or failed affecting its ability to properly drain.