Shifting to Condition Based Maintenance With the TCAM2500 Thermal & Visual Monitoring System

The Scenario – Frequent Incidents At Large Utility Substations

The Operations group at an electric power utility is struggling to manage and maintain equipment at large remote substations. Aging infrastructure, a lack of automation systems, and a shortage of qualified staff have increased the frequency and severity of unplanned outages resulting in fines and higher maintenance costs. As issues occur, crews are dispatched reactively to physically inspect the site, identify the cause, and conduct repairs.

Not only is this approach time-consuming and expensive, but it also limits the availability of data and makes it difficult for the Operations group to spot trends or detect minor issues before they grow into significant failures.

In response, the Operations group is seeking a comprehensive substation monitoring solution that simplifies data collection and allows crews to monitor the health of high-value assets and equipment from a single, centralized location.

The Challenge – Finding Faults Before Failures Occur

Large remote substations have numerous pieces of equipment that can fail and disrupt power. Insulation breakdown, corrosion, weather, wildfires, animal intrusions, and other breakdowns can all damage equipment. Once on the site, crews must manually inspect power transformers, insulators, bushings, circuit breakers, load tap changers, control cabinets, and more using handheld measurement devices. These truck rolls are inefficient, and crews on-site at one substation cannot be allocated to other tasks.  

Basic thermal and visual monitoring solutions are an improvement over physical inspections, but they may not provide the capabilities, coverage, or analytics required for larger substations. Similarly, specialized wired sensors or Internet of Things (IoT) devices installed on each piece of equipment can provide accurate data, but add cost, complexity, and integration issues to an already challenging environment.

The Solution – TCAM2500 Thermal & Visual Monitoring System

The TCAM2500 Thermal and Visual Monitoring System from Systems With Intelligence is a comprehensive substation monitoring solution that provides continuous, real-time thermal monitoring of remote substation equipment. Engineered for high-reliability operation in electric power substations, the TCAM2500 system enables automated monitoring of multiple assets.

Depending on the size of the substation, the utility can install and connect multiple units to gain a complete view of the facility. When plugged into the VMS2000 Video Management Software, users can view live streams from hundreds of sensors deployed at substations across a wide geographic region, manage the sensors, set movement patterns, configure thermal boxes, pinpoint areas of concern, and protect critical equipment – all from a single location.

Advanced analytics automatically detect  thermal anomalies and notify users through  email or alarms connected to the SCADA system. By knowing the issue in advance, crews can be dispatched with the right tools and replacement parts to conduct repairs before a more severe failure occurs.


  • Dual visual and thermal monitoring
  • Night vision with 192 thermal regions of interest
  • Programmable pan/tilt mount for automated inspections
  • IP66 rated for outdoor deployment
  • Substation hardened digital video server for multiple cameras


  • Reduced maintenance and repair costs
  • Increased reliability with fewer unplanned outages
  • Effective allocation of repair crews and resources
  • Continuous temperature readings under all load conditions
  • Simplified substation monitoring from a centralized location

The Results – Reduced Maintenance Costs and Increased Reliability

As a comprehensive substation monitoring solution, the TCAM2500 system provides better visual and thermal resolution, enhanced coverage, and more advanced features than basic, low-cost IoT sensors.

Once the system is deployed and the Operations group is trained to use the software, crews gain access to real-time thermal and visual data and streams from multiple sites. With fewer truck rolls, utilities can shift away from scheduled maintenance toward a Condition Based Maintenance program where crews are proactively dispatched when an issue is first detected.

The TCAM2500 Thermal and Visual Monitoring System allows utilities to reduce maintenance costs, mitigate the risk of unplanned outages, and protect high-value assets while allocating scarce resources more efficiently. Compared to physical inspections, the utility can manage the health of remote substations more effectively, ensuring reliable power distribution to customers.