Visualising sound with a FLIR ultrasonic leak detection camera


Those working in non-destructive testing (NDT) will know that it is possible to visualise sound. However, you do not have to be an acoustic engineer to make sense of it: the FLIR Si124 industrial acoustic imaging camera produces a precise acoustic image that is overlaid in real time on top of a picture from a digital camera. The blended visual and sound image is presented live on screen, visually displaying ultrasonic information and allowing the user to accurately pinpoint the source of the sound.

Acoustic imaging is used for two primary purposes: detecting air leakage and locating partial discharge from high-voltage systems. Using sound imaging from 124 builtin microphones, the FLIR Si124 can help professionals identify leaks and locate partial discharge up to ten times faster than with traditional methods, it is claimed.

Compressed air is the single most expensive energy source across all factory types, yet up to one-third of that compressed air gets lost due to leaks and inefficiencies. An air leak in a quiet environment is sometimes audible to the human ear, but in a typical industrial environment it is impossible to hear even bigger leaks due to loud background noise. Fortunately, the Si124 filters out the industrial noise, allowing professionals to ‘visualise’ sound even in noisy environments.

In electrical systems, partial discharge can lead to equipment failures and unplanned downtime. With the Si124, professionals can safely detect problems from up to 100 m away and analyse discharge patterns. The camera classifies three partial discharge types, namely surface discharge, floating discharge and discharge into the air. Knowing the type and severity of the discharge enables the facility to schedule maintenance to minimise failures and downtime.

What sets the Si124 further apart from other acoustic imaging cameras is the FLIR Acoustic Camera Viewer cloud service. Image captures are quickly uploaded to the cloud service over WiFi and then immediately analysed, providing the user with in-depth information, such as the size and energy cost of a compressed air leak or the partial discharge classification and pattern of an electric fault.

In addition, users receive 8 GB of storage and wireless data transfer capabilities, making sharing photos and data simple and efficient.

The Si124 requires minimal training and can be used one-handed. Through a regular maintenance routine, professionals can identify issues quickly, helping utilities keep the power flowing and manufacturing operations going.