zumBrunnen was asked to perform an infrared study of a recently completed refrigerated food processing plant in Florida.  The goals of the study were:

  • To determine whether the 4″ thick insulated panels were installed to prevent infiltration of hot air from the outside, and identify where problems exist.
  • To determine where electrical problems may exist in control and power panels.
  • To determine where problems may exist with conveyor motors.
  • To determine whether final payment should be made to the contractor.

The building envelope is built of insulated panels that fit together with tongues and grooves.  The primary concern was the ridge vent on the roof, which had been specially insulated to prevent infiltration.  The joints at the perimeter of the cold room were also a concern.

The thermal images typically showed about a 10° delta from the sunny side of the ridge compared to the shady side of the ridge.  No thermal gradient is apparent discharging from the vent, so the special insulation looks successful.

The electrical circuits were not fully loaded in some cases, so no statement can be made whether all circuits are operating as designed.  However, a survey of the panels did identify some hot terminations and a possible control transformer that was running hot.

Note that the transformer is running between 115°F and 121°F, compared to the ambient 63°F cold room.

Conveyor motors were generally running at a temperature that felt warm to the touch, but not hot to the touch.  The exception was a single pair of motors.  zumBrunnen recommended that the motors be checked by the electrician to determine whether problems showed up on the voltmeter.

zumBrunnen expected to find some room for improvement around roll-up and personnel doors.  In one case, a threshold was missing at a personnel door, but the major thermal leaks in the cold room were from the roll-up doors.  The contractor and owner will look for improvements that can be made.

The final report included 100 color photos, each with an accompanying infrared image for a total of 200 images.  An accompanying narrative report described the purpose of the study, the conditions, and a detailed listing of any anomalies that were encountered with a recommendation for each situation.  The draft report was provided to the owner in less than a week.

If you are considering having an infrared study performed for your plant or your facility, be sure to pick a company that has factory-trained specialists.  zumBrunnen inspectors are trained by ITC for FLIR Infrared Cameras.

zumBrunnen, Inc.

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