When it comes to identifying potentially dangerous gas leaks, UK industry remains alarmingly underprepared and underqualified, according to industrial services provider ERIKS.
The European Union has identified OGI as one of the most effective ways of identifying gas leaks, but the equipment is both expensive and complex. Operators would need extensive training in order to operate a camera at the correct wavelength, temperature range and resolution. They would also need to be able to interpret the resulting images in order to identify any areas requiring urgent or future maintenance.
Condition Monitoring Manager David Manning-Ohren explains: “OGI is an incredibly advanced and valuable technology, but that doesn’t mean anyone can pick the camera up and start spotting gas leaks.
“The technology itself is very complex and how it is used will depend on a number of factors, such as the surrounding temperature or whether the camera is being used in the open air. Furthermore, the images it produces are not simple – they require accurate interpretation. In other words, you need to know what you’re looking for.”
Operators must be trained to Level 2 standard, however ERIKS estimates that the number of operators of thermographic equipment currently at this standard is around 2% or less.
David continues: “OGI cameras are a big investment. By relying on the camera to do all the work for you, you are not only wasting your money, you’re also wasting resource and, in the worst-case scenarios, you could even be putting your entire plant and its workforce at risk.”
As an alternative, ERIKS is recommending that businesses partner with a specialist that can incorporate OGI as part of an effective condition monitoring package.
David says: “All OGI operators at ERIKS are trained to a Level 2 standard. They know how to utilise the camera, how to get the best results possible, and how to analyse the images. From this, they can advise the most effective, efficient course of action, while also providing the company with a video log of the survey.
“OGI is EU-recommended technology, but it does come at a high cost. By partnering with a specialist, you can be confident that you’re getting the information you need to keep your plant safe and secure, while also focusing maintenance resource where and when it is most needed.”