How thermal imaging helps dry ice plant maintain uptime

Continental Carbonics deploys thermal imager and thermal multimeter in proactive maintenance.

Continental Carbonic Products, Inc., headquartered in Decatur, IL, specializes in the manufacture and distribution of dry ice (solid carbon dioxide), along with sales and rental of dry ice blasting equipment. They service customers throughout the eastern two-thirds of the United States through their strategic network of eight dry ice manufacturing plants and 47 distribution facilities. Among those dry ice manufacturing facilities is a facility in Winnebago, MN where Ryan Manwarren is the maintenance manager.

The dry ice produced by Continental Carbonic is used in a variety of industries, including meat processing, food distribution, medical product shipping and blasting dry ice used for industrial cleaning. Each plant operates a range of equipment — block presses, packing machines, an assortment of large compressors and motors as well as band saws to cut the dry ice into smaller pieces.


Refining CO2 into food grade product

Many of the plants are located next to an ethanol plant because one of the byproducts of ethanol is carbon dioxide – CO2. The Continental Carbonic plants take the CO2 and refines it into a food grade product. Liquid CO2 is injected into extruders where it is formed into solid block, standard pellet, rice pellet and high density blasting pellets.

About two years ago Continental Carbonic embarked on a reliability initiative to develop a strong preventive and predictive maintenance program.

“We worked long and hard to write procedures for each set of equipment and are moving into a more predictive maintenance mindset,” said Manwarren, the maintenance manager who had learned preventive techniques in the U.S. Air Force.


Baseline checks with thermal camera

The team started its initial round of baseline checks using the TiS75 Infrared Camera, checking compressors and motors at the panel. They found quite a few high temperature signatures indicating issues to explore further.

Manwarren elaborated, “We were just trying to get a baseline scan and we found hot spots indicating a problem. We were able to get them all fixed. The potential for major equipment failure and excessive downtime paid for the thermal camera twice over.”


Fix and Verify with 279 FC Thermal Multimeter

The technicians who were assigned to make the fixes carried with them the Fluke 279 FC Thermal Multimeter. With the 279, his team can find the hot spots indicated by the earlier scan, fix problems using the multimeter and verify the fix is correct with the included thermal imager. Manwarren’s team has been using the 279 for spot checks on electrical panels and other equipment.

“The thermal camera on the 279 is point and click,” he said. “It requires very little background and training in the finer points of thermography. Technicians can see where a problem is indicated and fix it immediately with the multimeter and verify the repair is complete. If needed, he can also follow up with a more complete thermal scan using the TiS75.”


Source – FLUKE


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