Message Board Thread - "Pitching PdM to utility power plant managers"

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Pitching PdM to utility power plant managers Scott Willits 8/11/2004
Hi all,

I have an opportunity to make a pitch to a local power plant manager next week. They currently use IR once a year only for a very limited application evidently required by federal law (involving storage of nuclear fuel though it's no longer a nuke plant).

The balance of the plant (now NG, sometimes backup fuel oil) uses no IR whatsoever (outside of occasional switchyard/substation scans). The maintenance supervisor's feeling of course is that they run as tight a ship as they can using preventive maintenance techniques, thus IR is unnecessary. He has agreed to give me some time to try to convince him that regular IR scans throughout his entire facility would definitely be more cost effective if they shift away from schedule based toward condition based maintenance.

I've been to InfraMation once and read what I can to keep up on this stuff, but here is the first chance I've had to go head to head running a large facility who really understands the distinction between PM and PdM, and understands how IR would fit into it, but is convinced he doesn't need it.

I need to find a concise, coherent way to walk in there and sell him IR in 15 minutes or less, on the basis of the cost effectivenss. I need hard data to do so. In the ocean of information out there, I'm looking for one single wave I can paddle into and ride to the shore. :-)

Any advice would be greatly appreciated. Specific examples of power plants who've made the switch from PM to PdM along with some kind of metric gauging the cost effectiveness of the IR program would be invaluable to me right now.

Scott Willits
Re:Pitching PdM to utility power plant managers Gary Orlove 8/11/2004
We have just what you might need right on this website! Our newsletter archives have a lot of good information.

Take a look at the article "Keys to a Good Substation Inspection Program" by Mark Goff at TVA for some good information on the effectiveness of IR CM versus other technologies, in numbers.


To see a listing of several years worth of newsletters go to

Gary Orlove
Infrared Training Center
Re:Pitching PdM to utility power plant managers Gary Orlove 8/11/2004
An expanded version of the above article is included in the Proceedings of InfraMation 2002 and includes several documented case histories each with dollar savings.

You can order copies of the proceedings in printed and or CD ROM format at

Gary Orlove
Infrared Training Center
Thanks, Gary Scott Willits 8/11/2004
I actually found that one right after making my post earlier, and have already printed it out. It will be helpful, but I think I've already got substation work lined up with this utility. The power plant management looks like they're going to be a tougher nut to crack so I'm still looking for this kind of data that specifically applies to inside the generating station.

I'd love to hear stories from anybody who's pulled off what I'm trying to do here, which basically convince somebody who understands infrared but doesn't think they need it that it really will save them money in the long run. We've got a lot of this mentality in my region -- good ol' boys who are convinced they're so good at what they do that nothing can make them do it any better. It's my challenge to find tactful ways to demostrate beyond a shadow of a doubt that, whether they can do it better or not, they can still do it more cost effectively!
Re:Pitching PdM to utility power plant managers Manuel 8/11/2004
hi scott ..

lets try the hard way .. (G.Orlove show you the executive way)

visit this link:

download the videos and show them to him what can happens if doesnt have PdM ..

good luck ..

As luck would have it Scott Willits 8/20/2004
my original appointment with this manager was cancelled due to an emergency meeting he got called into. I didn't learn this until I showed up, so I left a few materials with the receptionist, hoping he'd take a look at them and be encouraged to set up another time with me sooner rather than later.

Well I'm very pleased that Brian May's paper on boiler inspections was on top of the stack I gave him, because he called me back within a few hours and had already decided that he does want that boiler looked at after all. We did a preliminary walk-through this morning and I'll get started on early next week to finish before a four-week shut down to commence on Friday.

This is a really big step for me -- I've been trying get my foot in the door with this utility for months, and I'm confident that this first inspection will spawn a steady stream of work in the future. I really want to thank all you guys at ITC for your support, and a shout out to Brian May of Entergy for the fine paper he presented at InfraMation last year. Special thanks to Joe DeMonte for really lighting a fire under my butt at the Level II down in LA earlier this month too.
Re:Pitching PdM to utility power plant managers Keith 8/27/2004

Thanks for the "shout" in regards to the Paper on boiler inspections from last year's Inframation Conference. I am glad that it made a difference and was a help to you. I would liek to talk with you more on this subject, please give me a call at (601) 629-6266. Will you be attending the 2004 InfraMation Conference?


Keith B. May
Re:Pitching PdM to utility power plant managers Scott Willits 8/27/2004
Hey, thank YOU Kieth! Your paper is what got me in the door, and after a successful inspection where I found problems they would definitely have caught otherwise, I'm now a vendor in good standing and can expect repeat business from that client. Let me buy you a beer in Vegas in October.
Re:Pitching PdM to utility power plant managers Scott Willits 8/27/2004
I meant to say, definitly would NOT have caught otherwise...
Re:Pitching PdM to utility power plant managers chukster54 9/1/2004
Well Scott,

I have been trying in my area for 2 years to even get an audience with the plant manager and so far no luck. I did talk to the engineer in charge of the preventative mtce. program and he reflected to me how they rent a camera from FLIR' for 2 weeks in the summer and perform the IR inspection for all 4 or 5 counties that they serve. I also asked if they had a certified thermographer and he laughed or maybe giggled.

So, I gave up and have moved on because how can one make sense to someone else with that attitude. I have found that it is hard to convince budget minded managers that they can avoid a costly incident if they will just embrace this service.

Don't give up because I haven't (yet). If you are an independent thermographer such as I am then you might consider broadening your IR services like I have and go to the Equine IR clinic in San Luis Obispo, Ca. which I did attend and I plan on attending the one in New Mexico this Dec.

Also, you might branch off into the "building Science" like have also. I have seen that it is hard for an independent Thermographer make it strictly on electrical inspections especially if in your area like I am you are competing with the local utility.

Good Luck,
Chuck Shepherd
Building Science Technologies, inc.
Bailey, mississippi

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