This paper summarizes a proposal for implementing a predictive maintenance program based on infrared scanning inspection in merchant vessels. Current use of infrared inspection in merchant vessels is discussed,
with an analysis of the problems and the benefits. Finally, a method for developing an inspection plan is proposed. The method consists of a selection of parameters, with consideration of infrared thermography
and which general and specific criteria must be followed. Infrared thermal imaging is currently used for many engineering activities, mainly in industrial plants, in which predictive maintenance is widely
used. However, this technique is being applied only in some types of merchant vessels, such as fast ferries and, in general, high-speed crafts. The main objective of the maintenance program proposed in
this paper is prevention of loss by reducing the risks of fire and explosion. Twenty percent of the world ship losses in the last 25 years were caused by fire or explosions, the second most common cause
of loss after bad weather. The proposed method consists of inspection and diagnostic tasks done on a systematic basis. The measurements of surface temperatures can detect hot spots and, subsequently, potential
ignition sources. All the electrical power, distribution, and receptor devices; insulations; and any hot surface in the engine room, such as boiler casings and exhaust pipes, are included in the maintenance
program. The second objective is related to the savings achieved by preventive maintenance reduction and the benefits of healthy facilities. Thermal scanning can detect small temperature differences between
close points on a surface. This capability allows the detection of potential failures, such as cracks and lack of insulation in pipes and casings, thermal isolations, and small leaks of pressurized fluids
such as steam, compressed air, and nonvisible fluids. The authors are currently working on a research project sponsored by the Spanish Maritime Authority within the scope of the development of new technologies
focused on increasing maritime safety. One of the tasks of that project is the method of carrying out the inspection programs presented in this paper.
Document Type: Research Article
Publication date: January 1, 2004
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