Integrating Thermography With Your CMMS-EAM Systems


More and more companies are investing in CMMS systems to organize the complex task of managing capital equipment and facility infrastructure whether it is process or production equipment or building systems like HVAC and computers. CMMS is a great organizational tool but cannot directly monitor equipment conditions. PdM technologies including thermography excel at monitoring equipment condition but do not have the ability to organize overall maintenance operations and have historically been closed proprietary systems. If maintenance practices and investments are to really pay off, the integration of the two tools is necessary. As organizational systems become more computerized, the overall access and quality of data substantially increases. The challenge is how best to create, organize and disseminate the vast amount of data that computerized database systems like CMMS inevitability create. In addition, inevitably the added workload will be required without additional staff. To achieve this, one must make sure that any data collected is integrated with the original database. In this way, the investment in building asset databases is leveraged across the many interfaces and platforms. Techniques to push out this data and take back updated machinery health data is what this paper will discuss and provide specific examples of doing this in practice.

Disadvantages of Current PdM/CMMS Systems

  • No common data formats between systems
  • No way to integrate CMMS asset data into PdM devices
  • Data transfer is manual and time consuming, limiting the ability to build an integrated program
  • No ability to “drill down” and extract metrics
  • Lost opportunity to develop correlations between PdM methodologies

Advantages of Integrated PdM/CMMS Systems

  • Asset data entered once is leveraged across multiple systems
  • Common nomenclature delivers consistent results regardless of operator skill and training
  • Significant efficiencies can be realized and costs and or effectiveness of PdM tools increased
  • Route-based data collection derived from historical data results in better utilization of manpower resources

Integrating CMMS Data with Your Thermography Program

To begin you need to create a thermography camera system that can operate like a data logger. Common elements in data loggers are: a touch screen, a sophisticated file management system, the ability to handle data formats like XML and an easy way to input and output data. A tablet form-factor makes it practical to use your finger or stylus to execute software features. Many of today’s popular portable vibration data collectors are excellent examples of product designs that are conducive for integration. Similarly, the thermography camera – data logger system is also best designed to be a ruggedized tablet style computer with a thermal camera channel. Some of the most common features of data loggers that make them easily integrated into CMMS systems are:

  • Rugged small tablet form factor
  • Touchscreen user interface
  • Application-specific software functionality
  • PC-familiar internal file management
  • Simple-to-execute file exchange between PC and device

Once the portable user interfaces has been established, a desktop software application must be implemented that interface both to the camera and to CMMS databases. A software wizard can be used to map CMMS source data to a thermography asset database. Data must be exported from the CMMS system as a CSV file. The wizard then imports those fields that are desired to be tracked. The wizard must assure that each record of asset data that is exported from the CMMS system maintains sufficient identification to ensure that links between the CMMS source and the thermography program database are maintained. By automating the population of the thermography asset database, the user eliminates the need to enter potentially hundreds if not thousands of records into the thermography program making it more likely the tool will be used effectively. Once the CMMS source data is in the camera it is highly efficient to tag asset information to captured images during the inspection process using intuitive pull temperature rise, incident severity, repair recommendation, a visible control photograph and the asset descriptions are permanently stored in the infrared camera’s thermal image where they can be automatically loaded in pre designed report templates for quick and easy report generation. In addition to simplifying data gathering and automating report generation, the asset lists can be organized into route files. Such a thermography camera can take asset files and organize them into routes that the thermographer can then use to guide them through all the inspection points assigned for the next inspection cycle, an enormous step toward efficiency and savings.


  • Field inspection is a data intensive process
  • Leveraging a source database across all PdM modality is efficient and cost effective
  • Standardized data ensures consistent results (for example 3 operators might call the same asset three different names)
  • Data can be organized into routes and operators can be trained to conduct data gathering
  • Future potential to correlate data across PdM modality to improve route cause analysis of various equipment problems
  • Software when used as intended can lower program costs significantly and by eliminating manually intensive data entry the prospects of using an integrated data base within a portable PdM instrument like a thermography camera are greatly enhanced.

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Author: Josh L. White
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