Infrared light is undetectable by the human eye, but with CAP’s Infrared Program, detecting it is a key component to ensuring the reliability of CAP’s water supply.
Certified engineers use an infrared monitor, a small, hand-held tool that detects infrared light. The monitor is directed at various electrical and mechanical components that are key to CAP’s system such as transformers, motor operated interrupters (MOIs), disconnects and bushings. The monitor’s camera then captures an image that may reveal an area where infrared light emissions are high—a hot spot, if you will.
If emissions are high or are higher than similar objects nearby, it indicates a problem. Using this process to detect mechanical or electrical anomalies helps diagnose problems long before they can be detected using human senses.
“Everything gives off infrared light. It’s just a matter of how much light is reflected, absorbed or emitted by the object. And the emissivity of that object is a parameter in the camera we set to get an actual temperature reading on the image,” explains Dan McWilliams, one of the engineers certified to use the equipment.
CAP has been using the infrared monitor for more than two years and has seen huge benefits.
“We have been able to repair things that, in the past, wouldn’t be discovered until much further down the path. This equipment gives us a much earlier indication that there is a problem so we can respond to it in a more methodical fashion, long before it fails,” said Maintenance Manager Phil Rettinger.
CAP will continue to use high-tech tools to continue to ensure the reliability of our system and water deliveries.