ProductIRC-120 Thermal Camera
If a picture is worth 1,000 words, then a camera that can identify hot spots, leaks, and other equipment issues before they become major problems should be worth significantly more than that.
The Amprobe IRC-120 thermal camera aims to live up to that assignment and takes one of three Gold medals in this year’s Testing & Monitoring Equipment category. The handheld camera provides point-and-shoot functionality and rugged design where technicians need quick and accurate identification of a variety of issues.
Greg Jourdan is a professor of refrigeration technology at Wenatchee Valley College in Wenatchee, Washington. After several months of use, Jourdan reported that its size and ease of use set it apart from other options.
Jourdan also noted that the IRC-120 “can quickly find temperature problems such as air losses, temperature differences, and loose connections.”
After two years of customer research, Amprobe recognized the desire for such an imager below $300. The research also revealed a need for integrating UV capability to avoid the need for multiple pieces of equipment.
To that end, the Amprobe camera integrates UV and LED lights to the IR camera. The laser pointer confirms visual accuracy for the user targeting a piece of equipment and serves the need for single-point temperature measure. The handheld gun factor avoids the need for a separate case and lets the camera fit in a pocket or tool belt.
In addition to troubleshooting, the IRC-120 gives users a 2-in-1 tool for predictive maintenance. Users can perform a “less than 20 seconds” qualitative inspection of the asset through visual temperature instead of individual electrical (power, voltage and current measurements, insulation) and mechanical (vibration) testing.
ManufacturerEmerson Commercial & Residential Solutions
Using a full complement of ten Wi-Fi-enabled smart sensors, the Sensi Predict® from Emerson earned its own Gold medal this year. The Sensi Predict works to keep contractors and homeowners fully informed and up to date on a system’s performance through analysis that can extend overall system life.
The custom sensor technology goes on the home furnace and air conditioner, running detailed monthly performance checks that are conveyed to the homeowner and contractor.
“I do not know of any other systems that match apples-to-apples to this product,” said Rob Minnick, CEO and president of Minnick’s in Laurel, Maryland.
Minnick observed that part of the Sensi Predict’s value on the contractor side is in giving the tech a heads-up on any specific problem so the tech can make sure to have the part, also “reducing the diagnostic time so the tech can go straight to the issue.”
While that time savings can boost the number of calls a given technician can complete, the homeowner can see a tangible benefit from this capability, too. With a Sensi Predict installed, Minnick reported that his company waives its own diagnostic charge, as that work is done by the product.
Before any regular diagnostic analysis is required, the Sensi Predict also allows techs to confirm that a newly installed system is up and operational as it should be.
Emerson said the product is already part of its MeasureQUICK app, a cloud-based dynamic measurement checklist and diagnostic solution. The Sensi Predict is already available in select markets, and the company is expanding its rollout through 2019.
ManufacturerTesto North America
Rounding out this category’s trio of Gold medal winners, the testo 400 from Testo North America uses smart-touch technology to provide airflow, IAQ, and comfort measurement.
The universal instrument made a strong first impression with Fausto Sepulveda, supervisor for the sales department and field supervisor at Reliable Energy, Paramount, California.
He appreciated the number of options in a single tool, along with the built-in camera.
What sets it apart, he said, is “all the probe adapters it has, and how many you can operate at the same time. That the datalogger allows you to gather info overnight, or over as long as a week, to diagnose a system is very cool.”
Once the testo 400 collects that data, Sepulveda noted that contractors can then “get the info so easy on a table and graph and then send a report to the customer.” A tool that can provide a wide range of diagnostics only benefits the end user, he said.
Specifically, the testo 400 can measure for airflow, temperature, humidity, pressure, light, radiant heat, turbulence, CO2, and CO. Techs can connect wireless or cable probes to it; it offers an integrated differential pressure sensor, a pair of connection slots for cable probes, and another pair for thermocouple probes.
The testo 400’s probe heads can be changed without requiring a restart. Techs can save more time by completing and sending measuring data with full documentation — including photos, comments, and a business logo — while still on site, so they can complete the process and get to the next job faster.