The eyes have it: New video options give an unprecedented view of asset performance

Sheila Kennedy explores condition monitoring via video.

By Sheila Kennedy

Video-based condition monitoring is on its way to becoming a staple in the maintenance and reliability professional’s toolkit. Innovative video capture and advanced video imagery enhance the timeliness and accuracy of asset monitoring and inspection processes. Complex and remote industrial assets, shrinking budgets, and aging workforces and infrastructures are driving the development and adoption of these new technologies.

Drone-enabled monitoring

With videos captured by drone and analyzed in the cloud, maintenance engineers can avoid costly and time-consuming trips to check on an asset. Bentley Systems combines drones and reality modeling software to enable continuous surveying and “inspectioneering” (the convergence of inspection and engineering) in an immersive 3D environment.

Reality modeling is going mainstream, explains Phil Christensen, vice president of analytical modeling at Bentley Systems. “It is practical today to have a continuously surveyed, as-operated 3D digital model for all of your infrastructure assets,” he says. “Now, ‘right time’ information is always available during operations and maintenance leveraging technology that automatically indexes location with geocoordination.”

The Drone Enterprise Asset Management Solution (DEAMS) from Infor combines the software company’s EAM application with Drone Aviation’s tethered drones to provide up-to-date asset information. The drones can remain in operation for hours because they are powered from the ground through the tether. Video capture, perch-and-stare, and laser scanning functions are supported.

“DEAMS users are able to take an automated approach to asset maintenance and reallocate personnel to perform other essential tasks,” says Wayne Bobby, vice president of Infor Federal.

Sophisticated video imagery

Modern video capabilities simplify condition detection and analysis. Iris M optical monitoring video from RDI Technologies uses patent-pending Motion Amplification to make subtle motions visible to the user in a simple video format. RDI says the Iris M is about 100 times more sensitive to measuring displacement than traditional imagery-based measurement is. Displacement measurements within an image can be made with a click of the mouse.

“Traditional vibration data comes in the form of time waveforms and frequency spectra that require analysis and interpretation,” says RDI Technologies founder and CEO Jeff Hay. “With the Iris M, motions and faults reveal themselves within the videos. For example, an imbalanced machine is simply seen to be rocking back and forth.”

IL5 digital high-speed video cameras from Fastec Imaging generate live (normal-speed) video for viewing via network or online. The date and time of each frame is recorded with microsecond accuracy. High-speed video can also be captured when triggered by a fault condition, giving the engineer an undistorted, slow-motion video of the event.

Samples of these views, which may be as short as a few tenths of a second or span several hours, can be recorded as high-speed video and archived at intervals for analysis, providing condition and performance records over time, explains Tim Brandt, product manager at Fastec Imaging.

Application-focused solutions

For remote and unmanned sites such as pipelines and pump stations, operators need to deal with small leaks in minutes, not hours or days, says Christopher Beadle, a vice president at IntelliView Technologies. The company’s Liquid Leak solution has the ability to detect fluid leaks in real time and then send a picture and 15-second clip to a control center for action, all within one minute of detection.

“We typically see leaks 25 times smaller than other systems by using analytics to assess every frame of video for a temperature change in a grouping of pixels, indicative of a leak profile,” explains Beadle. IntelliView Technologies also offers video solutions for continuous flare stack monitoring, industrial security and safety surveillance, and environment and wildlife protection.

To inspect the interiors of sewer, water, and drain pipes, Rausch Electronics USA offers its miniCam360 pan-and-tilt push camera that records video, audio, and photos. Digital zoom, self-adjusting smart LED lights, SD card recording, and handheld Bluetooth remote control are among the features. The system includes a TFT LCD camera, 200 feet of cable on reel, a system control unit and monitor, and lithium-ion batteries for four hours of operation.

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