Learning to use a modern thermal imager is relatively easy—it can typically be mastered with basic training and hands-on practice. However, properly interpreting a thermal image is often more difficult. It requires not only a background in the application of thermography but also additional, more extensive, training and hands-on experience with thermal imagers.
To gain full return on investment in thermography, it’s important to qualify and certify thermographers! Regardless of the specific use of the technology, thermographer qualification is based on training, experience, and testing in one of three categories of certification. (See Figure 1)
While thermographer certification represents an investment, it is an investment that typically pays large returns. Not only do certified personnel produce higher quality inspections, their inspections are also more technically consistent! Uncertified thermographers are more likely to make costly and dangerous mistakes—and these mistakes often result in serious consequences, such as inaccurate recommendations regarding the criticality of the problems discovered or problems being completely missed altogether. While the appropriate qualification is important, written inspection procedures are also important for attaining high-quality results.
In the United States, certification is issued by the employer in compliance with the standards of the American Society for Nondestructive Testing (ASNT). ASNT is an organization that helps create a safer environment by serving the nondestructive testing professions and promoting nondestructive testing technologies through publishing, certification, research and conferencing. In other parts of the world, certification is provided by a central certifying body in each country that complies with the standards of the International Organization for Standardization (ISO), which is a nongovernmental, international organization that is comprised of national standards institutions from more than 90 countries.
Under both models, qualification is based upon the appropriate training, as outlined in the documents of the relevant standards. A period of qualifying experience and some form of written and hands-on examination are also required.
With all this information, here’s a tech-tip to take away: Prior to performing a thermal inspection, the thermographer should perform a “walk-down” of the planned inspection route to ensure efficiency and to look for possible safety concerns.
Stay tuned for more training and safety information this whole month! All basic information that will help you become a better thermographer