Jan 2016
Electricity Distribution
Thermal imaging Observation techniques for Underground CAble Networks (TOUCAN)
Jan 2016
Sep 2017
Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks, Scottish Hydro Electric Power Distribution and Southern Electric Power Distribution
SSEN Future Networks Team
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Network Innovation Allowance
Network Monitoring, Asset Management, Conductors, Maintenance & Inspection, Fault Management and Condition Monitoring
Thermal imaging equipment has traditionally been specialised and very expensive but thermal sensing technology has advanced to the point where it is relatively inexpensive to manufacture and is more readily available. This has resulted in a number of comparatively inexpensive devices becoming available on the open market, including some very low cost devices which attach to a smart phone or tablet. Within the context of rapid location of underground cable faults trials and investigations with a range of imaging devices and solutions will be carried out and, if successful, recommendations made for equipping repair operatives and depot staff. A training programme for safe and efficient use of the equipment will be designed and delivered.

• Produce a literature review of available products
• Select and acquire product examples for testing based on cost and performance criteria
• Establish common equipment testing and results recording methods
• Evaluate equipment performance in simulated fault scenarios
• Issue equipment to field operatives for evaluation in real fault scenarios
• Acquire data and develop tools for performing a detailed cost benefits analysis
• Document all results, conclusions and recommendations
• Evaluate project outcomes for possible adoption by BAU

The project will be successful upon the achievement of the following results and conclusions after assessing devices as complementary tools:

  1. A range of thermal imaging devices are successfully evaluated as to their ability to locate or assist in locating underground cable faults and in which conditions;
  2. Practical comparisons are made between the performance of low cost devices with that of higher specification equipment;
  3. Substantiated recommendations are made on whether or not there are benefits in equipping field operatives with thermal imaging cameras, and low cost devices in particular.