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Fault detection by thermal imaging

01 Feb 2000

TO detect current leakage and other faults in traction power supply systems, British infrastructure maintenance contractor AMEC Rail has acquired a FLIR Systems 570 thermal imaging camera. Equipped with a GPS unit, video recorder and remote microphone to record voice commentary, the camera is to be used to check for leakage from high-voltage insulators on Railtrack's North London and West Anglia routes.

A FLIR Systems 550 camera was used by AMEC Rail to inspect a traction substation, revealing that a main connection clamp securing a 33 kV down-dropper onto the bushing of a circuit breaker was abnormally hot at a temperature of 175·8í C. Failure of this component was likely to have resulted in a total loss of power supply.

Further trials included an inspection run between Selhurst and Three Bridges at up to 104 km/h, where stills and video images from the rear-facing tripod-mounted camera on the train were used to compile a list of defects for repair including a damaged DC feeder cable.

FLIR Systems, Great Britain

Reader Enquiry Number 138