What´s going on in the engine room, Scotty?
When Scotty joined the USS Enterprise crew back in 1966 he probably was the most enthusiastic engineer on the planet. A starship full of the newest technology and everything under his control. What a great place to be.
It must be the same feeling a maintenance engineer of a tanker or a cruiser has these days. Managing everything in the background for the Captain, the crew and the passengers must be quite exciting, but challenging too. Some of the biggest cruisers for instance have a length of over 300m with huge engine rooms, home to hundreds of gauges, pipes, valves, motors, all needed to bring passengers safely to their destination.
I think that the most important, maybe not the most visible, must be all the sensors which help to control and monitor the engine room of a ship from a central place - the captain´s control room.
The main aim of the Captain and the maintenance crew must be that whatever happens the passengers should not be affected by it. Even the smallest defect in a valve can cause damage that requires investigation and repair - or in the worst case can cause an accident.
To avoid this, many manufacturers are looking at solutions for preventative maintenance. Flir for instance developed the AX8 - a thermal imager sensor (893-8489) that can be used to monitor temperatures within an engine room and even trigger alarms if the value is out of the norm for a pre-determined period. This enables the Captain or maintenance engineer to spot problems before they lead to breakdowns and potentially costly repairs.
Find out more in this video
Just imagine if Scotty would have had an AX8 thermal image sensor (893-8489) back in 1966. Even for a science fiction movie this would have been something really special - maybe worth a dedicated episode => "Where No Man Has Thought Of Before" instead of "Where No Man Has Gone Before"
For those of you want to know more about the technical features of the AX8 (893-8489) technical please have a look at this video where Peter Oakes is using it on a Raspberry Pi board.
The Flir AX8 (893-8489) is available from RS Components.