Op­ti­cal gas cam­eras

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Op­ti­cal Gas Imag­ing (OGI) cam­eras use spec­tral wave­length fil­ter­ing and ster­ling cooler cold fil­ter­ing tech­nol­ogy to vi­su­al­ize the in­frared ab­sorp­tion of VOC/ Hy­dro­car­bon, SF6, re­frig­er­ants, car­bon monox­ide and other gases whose spec­tral ab­sorp­tion matches the re­sponse of the cam­era.

By us­ing OGI tech­nol­ogy, com­pa­nies can in­cor­po­rate a ‘Smart LDAR’ (leak de­tec­tion and re­pair) pro­gram that al­lows op­er­a­tors to safely and ef­fi­ciently vi­su­al­ize gas leaks. OGI has al­lowed com­pa­nies to re­duce in­dus­trial emis­sions and op­er­a­tors to con­form to fu­ture reg­u­la­tions.

In ad­di­tion, OGI saves money, as part of a much more ef­fi­cient process, but most im­por­tantly it im­proves the safety of their as­sets and their per­son­nel.

To get the most out of OGI equip­ment, you should con­sider the fol­low­ing tips.

1. Un­der­stand the ap­pli­ca­tion and needs

Dif­fer­ent ap­pli­ca­tions re­quire dif­fer­ent cam­eras. In other words: one cam­era may not see all the gases, so you need to un­der­stand which type of gas you are deal­ing with. For ex­am­ple, a VOC/ Hy­dro­car­bon OGI cam­era will not see SF6 and a CO cam­era will not see re­frig­er­ants.

2. En­vi­ron­men­tal con­di­tions

The suc­cess of pas­sive op­ti­cal gas imag­ing de­pends on en­vi­ron­men­tal con­di­tions. The greater the back­ground en­ergy dif­fer­en­tial, the eas­ier the cam­era will be able to vi­su­al­ize the gas leak and pin­point its source.

Ac­tive op­ti­cal gas imag­ing (i.e. us­ing a laser based backscat­ter­ing tech­nique) re­lies on a re­flec­tive sur­face in the back­ground. This presents a sig­nif­i­cant chal­lenge when you are look­ing at com­po­nents high up and point­ing the cam­era at the sky.

Also, rain and strong winds need to be taken into ac­count. Rain can make de­tec­tion very dif­fi­cult, but wind can ac­tu­ally help vi­su­al­ize the gas be­cause it makes the gas move.

3. Op­ti­cal gas imag­ing is qual­i­ta­tive

Due to the en­vi­ron­men­tal vari­ants, back­ground en­ergy dif­fer­en­tial and vari­a­tions, an OGI cam­era will not be able to tell what amount of gas is leak­ing or which gas it is. An OGI cam­era will how­ever pin­point the source of the leak in the most ef­fi­cient and ef­fec­tive way.

4. Use a snif­fer probe

Use an OGI cam­era to vi­su­al­ize the leak and trace its source. Then, use a snif­fer probe – a toxic vapour anal­yser (TVA) or or­ganic vapour anal­yser (OVA) to quan­tify the leak. Com­bin­ing an OGI cam­era with a snif­fer probe is re­ferred to as Smart LDAR.

5. Use all the fea­tures and func­tions

Cer­tain OGI cam­eras – in­clud­ing all of FLIR’s GF-se­ries cam­eras - are du­aluse sys­tems. They can also be used for in­dus­trial main­te­nance in­spec­tions, in­clud­ing high- and low-volt­age elec­tri­cal in­stal­la­tions, me­chan­i­cal in­stal­la­tions, pipework and in­su­la­tion, ovens and many more.

The ther­mo­graphic func­tion on your OGI cam­era will also help you de­ter­mine the back­ground tem­per­a­ture/ en­ergy the gas is ab­sorb­ing. Un­like with other ther­mo­graphic ap­pli­ca­tions, your ob­ject of de­tec­tion (gas) has no visual rep­re­sen­ta­tion and it is mov­ing con­stantly. There­fore, a con­tin­u­ous fo­cus is most im­por­tant and so is the ther­mo­graphic ca­pa­bil­ity to de­ter­mine the tem­per­a­ture range set­tings. An OGI cam­era also al­lows you to record a movie to cap­ture the move­ment and pin­point the leak. It is al­ways ad­vised to take a visual im­age.

6. Keep it safe

A gas imag­ing cam­era is a quick, non­con­tact mea­sur­ing in­stru­ment that can also be used in hard to ac­cess lo­ca­tions. It can de­tect small leaks from sev­eral me­tres away and big leaks from hun­dreds of me­ters away.

It can even show leaks on mov­ing trans­port ve­hi­cles, greatly im­prov­ing the safety of both the in­spec­tor and the plant. Thanks to their sen­si­tiv­ity and, with some cam­eras, the high sen­si­tiv­ity mode (HSM), you can scan for leaks from a safe zone or even from a greater dis­tance, com­pared to tra­di­tional gas de­tec­tion meth­ods.

7. Con­sider fu­ture emis­sions reg­u­la­tions

FLIR Op­ti­cal Gas Imag­ing cam­eras de­tect dozens of volatile or­ganic com­pounds, in­clud­ing the green­house gas Sul­phur Hex­aflu­o­ride (SF6), hereby ef­fi­ciently con­tribut­ing to a bet­ter en­vi­ron­ment. Op­ti­cal gas imag­ing cam­eras also al­low you to com­ply with new in­dus­trial emis­sions reg­u­la­tions & pro­ce­dures.

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