Climate control ceilings are becoming increasingly popular in modern building design for many reasons, but to be fully effective, climate control ceiling elements must be properly installed and this is where the diagnostic ability of FLIR thermal imaging is proving essential.
From an architectural standpoint, climate control ceilings allow the climate control of the indoor environment to be invisibly integrated into the structure of the building, providing uniform temperature, high acoustic comfort and low airspeeds, resulting in minimal draught and dust displacement.
A total of 1200 square metres of climate-controlled ceiling were recently installed by Inteco BV at a new building at the Bernhoven Hospital in The Netherlands. To ensure all the elements had been correctly fitted and were working optimally, Inteco called on an Flir to provide that verification.
Bas Coolen, a senior thermographer from Thermografisch & Adviesbureau undertook the work with a FLIR T440bx thermal imaging camera which has several features that make it especially suitable for building inspection.
The climate control ceiling in the Bernhoven Hospital is the MeandRo system developed and patented by Inteco. This is a radiant ceiling for cooling and heating, using the passage of both hot and cold water and consists of perforated sheet steel ceiling panels in a sandwich construction, factory-equipped with a MeandRo element.
Elements are attached to each other using quick links and it is here where mistakes can be made during installation. Poor connection means the desired interior climate cannot be achieved but with the safeguard of a thermal imaging check, such errors can be quickly rectified. Another problem that can arise during installation is an insufficient supply of hot or cold water, causing improper functioning of the ceiling, but this too can be detected by the infrared camera.
However, thermal imaging can help ensure these issues are avoided. Bas Coolen explains: “Temperature differences in the ceiling can be seen quickly with thermal imaging and with the new MSX, multi-spectral imaging function, on the FLIR T440bx, it’s easy to orient yourself to see exactly which elements you are inspecting.”
The MSX development embosses digital camera detail on the video and stills, providing great visible results without diluting the thermal image. Orientation of the target is easy, reports are clutter-free and all of these elements contribute to faster and more efficient inspection.
Bas Coolen continues: “With a thermal imaging camera, a significant surface area of the climate control ceiling can be inspected in a very short time and it is clear to see whether the elements are working as they should be.”
The FLIR T400bx combines good ergonomics with high-quality imaging at 320 x 240 pixels. As is characteristic of the FLIR T-Series, it is equipped with a tiltable optical unit that allows imaging at any angle. It also has a built-in compass which allows the camera’s direction of view to be added to each thermal image.
“Thermal imaging technology has already proven itself in many different applications,” Bas Coolen concludes. “But its use for climate control ceiling inspection highlights its ability to identify problems quickly and clearly so they can be resolved without delay. In this particular application, the technology has helped to minimise any post-installation problems at the hospital that would not only interrupt its smooth running and inconvenience staff and patients but also incur additional costs.”
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