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FLIR thermal cameras used to spot worn cable problems

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article image Andreas Becker says they use the thermal imaging camera to detect the problem when all their traditional methods of fault detection fail

Thermal imaging cameras from FLIR Systems are being used by German cable repair company Becker & Hüser to quickly detect faults in cables.

Becker & Hüser is a cable repair specialist catering to the needs of heavy industries such as mining, shipbuilding or crane works that rely on heavy, rugged industrial cables to ensure continuous power or communication performance. Any breakdown in these cables impacts the operation in terms of productivity, downtime and cost. Becker & Hüser helps its customers to be back in business in the shortest amount of time, an assurance that is facilitated with the use of FLIR thermal imaging cameras.

Mr Andreas Becker, managing director at Becker & Hüser explains that the cables used by their industrial customers are often employed in harsh conditions and moved around a lot, exposing them to damage and breakdown. Becker & Hüser helps companies with fast repair services, so they can reduce their downtime as much as possible.

Since companies do not always have cables on stock, when a cable gets damaged, they will need to choose between repair and purchasing a new cable. The repair option usually provides the highest time gains as waiting for a new cable sometimes requires months.

The Becker & Hüser team is equipped to repair cables in a matter of weeks or days, sometimes even hours, which, according to Andreas Becker can really make a difference, for example, in the case of cable damage on a ship that needs to leave the harbour. The cable repair specialist manages to return the cable to the customer in a condition as good as new, with the same properties in terms of diameter, flexibility and tensile strength.

Becker & Hüser uses a surge voltage generator for locating and pin-pointing high and low resistance faults in power cables. Andreas Becker first learned about the possibilities of thermal imaging at a German tradeshow, especially the ability of thermal cameras to detect voltage differences as heat differences quickly and accurately. FLIR Systems recommended the FLIR E40bx camera as a very cost-effective solution for fault detection. Becker & Hüser is now using the E40bx with a 50° lens and MSX functionality.

Andreas Becker explains that they use the thermal imaging camera to detect the problem when all their traditional methods of fault detection fail. For example, it will be difficult to identify the fault if it is located at the end of the cable right at the connection using their traditional methods. However, the FLIR thermal imaging camera can see the heat difference without any problem, leading to an accurate result much faster.

To inspect an entire cable, Becker & Hüser employees unwind the cable from one reel to another, inspecting the entire length for faults as it unwinds by means of the thermal imaging camera. Andreas Becker says it instils confidence when the customer can be shown the precise location of the problem in the cable, which is enabled by the FLIR thermal imaging camera. 

FLIR E40bx point-and-shoot camera

The FLIR E40bx is a point-and-shoot thermal imaging camera that combines superior performance and value in a compact package. Easy to use out of the box, the camera offers a temperature range of -20°C to 120°C with an accuracy of ±2% and a thermal sensitivity of < 0.045°C. 

Key features of the FLIR E40bx thermal imaging camera also include 160 x 120 pixel resolution for high thermal image quality and 3 megapixel digital camera for fixed picture-in-picture allowing overlay of thermal and visible images for easy location identification and clearer documentation; laser pointer to aid aiming; bright LED lamp to provide light in dark corners; and optional Wi-Fi capability allowing users to transfer images to a smartphone or tablet, add further measurement spots, readjust span and level, change palettes, create reports, and email findings to decision makers or customers easily. 

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