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Siemens has developed a thermography-based analysis system for the diagnosis and repair of converter modules

24.06.2011
The Siemens Division Industry Solutions has developed a system for analyzing frequency converter modules. Thermal images are recorded in order to investigate both defects and functioning parts of a module.

These are then compared with corresponding images in a reference database. If sources of faults are identified, the test system automatically outputs recommendations for repairs and spare parts. This reduces the time required to diagnose and repair frequency converter modules by up to 30 percent. That, in turn, not only reduces the expenditure on repairs and spare parts, but also enables realistic estimates to be made of the remaining service life and risk of the module failing.

Electronic modules are subject to diverse loads during operation that can lead to power losses. These loads frequently cause the temperature of the components and their surroundings to rise, and this can be made visible by thermography. A thermal imaging camera is used to capture the temperature distribution on the surface. This method requires only a few minutes to check electronic modules for thermal risks, damage and critical areas. The analysis quickly provides reliable information about the current operating condition, long before damage would otherwise become visible. The Siemens automatic module analysis system also uses this methodology. It involves dismounting the control unit, and subjecting it to an electrical functional test. The temperature distribution over the surface is then determined by measuring the infrared radiation.

A thermal image is taken immediately after the module is switched on in order to detect any faults arising during the ramp-up sequence. This is followed by further functional tests, for each of which new images are taken. The recordings are then compared with reference images in a database. The sources of the faults thus identified are immediately output as a report, which includes a recommended repair, and specifies the spare parts required. The exact repair required for the defective component can then begin.

The Siemens thermography-based fault analysis system is used by the repair service for frequency converters and, if required, can also be adapted for use on other types of modules. It contributes toward reducing the time required to diagnose and repair frequency converter modules, and lowers the expenditure on repairs and spare parts. It takes less time than conventional methods of analysis which do not use thermography, and also has a hit rate up to ten percent higher. That reduces the failure rate of the components and increases their reliability. As well as for identifying the repair required, the test system can also be used to examine the quality characteristics of modules. For example, complete batches can be tested, and the resulting report given to the ordering party. The results are input into further development of the modules concerned.

Further information about industrial maintenance services can be found at: http://www.siemens.com/simain

The Siemens Industry Sector (Erlangen, Germany) is the worldwide leading supplier of environmentally friendly production, transportation and building technologies. With integrated automation technologies and comprehensive industry-specific solutions, Siemens increases the productivity, efficiency and flexibility of its customers in the fields of industry and infrastructure. In fiscal 2010, which ended on September 30, 2010, revenue from continuing operations of the Industry Sector (excluding Osram) totaled around €30.2 billion. At the end of September 2010, Siemens Industry Sector had around 164,000 employees worldwide without consideration of Osram. Further information is available on the Internet at: www.siemens.com/industry.

The Siemens Industry Solutions Division (Erlangen, Germany) is one of the world's leading solution and service providers for industrial and infrastructure facilities comprising the business activities of Siemens VAI Metals Technologies, Water Technologies and Industrial Technologies. Activities include engineering and installation, operation and service for the entire life cycle. A wide-ranging portfolio of environmental solutions helps industrial companies to use energy, water and equipment efficiently, reduce emissions and comply with environmental guidelines. With around 29,000 employees worldwide (September 30), Siemens Industry Solutions posted sales of €6.0 billion in fiscal year 2010. www.siemens.com/industry-solutions

Rebecca Zapfe | Siemens Industry
Further information:
http://www.siemens.com/simain

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