Inspecting Natural Gas Compressors

FLIR Systems has published an application spotlight that describes how incorporating a borescope and Optical Gas Imaging (OGI) camera into routine maintenance protocols can help natural gas companies improve safety, reduce costs, and extend the life of compressors.Compressors are a common component in natural gas plants, and they are specifically designated for inspection in environmental regulations such as the US EPA OOOOa. Compressors can fail for a range of reasons, including extensive wear or thermal stress on constituent parts. Determining the source of the failure through internal or external inspections will often be time consuming, labor intensive and can be costly if equipment has to be shut down.

A solution increasingly being adopted by natural gas companies is to use a borescope to routinely visually inspect compressor pistons and an OGI camera, such as the FLIR GF620, to locate gas leaks. The GF620 allows companies to inspect compressors for emissions from a safe distance and quickly facilitate pinpoint maintenance reducing downtime and maintaining regulatory compliance.

With features including thermal analysis and a proprietary High Sensitivity Mode, maintenance engineers can use a GF620 OGI camera to quickly and efficiently inspect a compressor for leaks without having to dismantle the equipment which can be very time consuming.

The HD resolution FLIR GF620 helps inspectors survey for fugitive gas emissions from further, safer distances than is possible with lower-resolution OGI cameras. The GF620 is equipped with a 640×480 infrared detector, the camera is calibrated to measure temperature, allowing the user to assess the thermal contrast between the gas and the background scene, and adjust it to improve visibility.  The FLIR GF620 also features the company’s unique high sensitivity mode, which accentuates plume movement to improve detectability in low-contrast scenes.

To read the application spotlight in full please visit For further information on the GF620 OGI camera please visit