KNAPP UK Ltd’s resident customer support team at the distribution centre of shoe retailer Clarks has used thermal imaging techniques to save the customer in excess of a quarter of a million pounds in potential repair and downtime costs in just 3 months.
State-of-the-art thermal imaging cameras are used routinely at all four of KNAPP’s UK sites with a resident service team. Explains Ebb Kretschmer, Head of Customer Services for KNAPP UK Ltd, "We use thermal imaging as part of our regular maintenance regimes. It is highly effective and allows us to be proactive rather than reactive to faults and failures."
Costly breakdowns avoided
At Clarks’ warehouse in Street, Somerset, the thermal imaging highlighted a damaged motor and gearbox, a problem PLC, a phase imbalance on a shrink-wrapping machine and damage to the X-axis on a stacker crane. Says Kevin Ashman, Site Manager for KNAPP at Clarks, "We would never have found these risky problems at this stage without the thermal imaging equipment. Correcting these faults in a controlled way avoided breakdowns that would have been extremely costly for Clarks."
All electrical systems, equipment and components are subject to deterioration once commissioned. This damage may take many forms – such as loose or corroded connections and joints, insulation resistance breakdown and worn or pitted parts – but poor electrical connections result in high resistance and a subsequent rise in temperature. If uncorrected, this will lead to overheating, resulting in component failure and possibly fire, or even explosion.
"As differences between normal operating temperature and higher levels due to malfunction cannot be picked up on sight by even the most highly skilled engineer," explains Ebb Kretschmer, "the use of thermal imaging as part of routine maintenance makes perfect sense. It is a non-contact form of testing, which can be carried out whilst equipment is running – in production and on load."
The benefits are not limited to avoidance of costly downtime and improved safety. "Of course, dealing with these hotspots increases the energy efficiency of the system and adds to the lifespan of the capital equipment," says Ebb Kretschmer.
Open day planned
KNAPP UK Ltd will be hosting an open day on Wednesday 22 September to explain the benefits of its value-added customer support services, as well as to highlight the latest innovations in KNAPP group products. Taking place at the company’s headquarters in Long Crendon, near Aylesbury, the event will also feature trusted associate companies who will be able to give advice on issues such as energy-efficient lighting and heating for warehouses.
"Our customer support division is now firmly established in the UK," says Ebb Kretschmer, "with over 65 of KNAPP UK Ltd’s employees dedicated to providing the best in maintenance, repair and upgrade services. We feel the time is right to invite our existing and prospective clients to see how we work and discover the cost-saving potential of our added-value services such as thermal imaging, leak detection, portable appliance testing, and health & safety training."