Uncooled thermal imaging camera secures data in rigorous applications

If you can't stand the heat, get a real-time thermal imaging camera that can. Heat contains valuable data about production process efficiency and resulting product quality. However, cryogenically cooled thermal imaging cameras often can't handle continuous, unsupervised process monitoring and control, while spot sensors often provide too little information for true thermal profiling and c...

05/01/1998


If you can't stand the heat, get a real-time thermal imaging camera that can. Heat contains valuable data about production process efficiency and resulting product quality. However, cryogenically cooled thermal imaging cameras often can't handle continuous, unsupervised process monitoring and control, while spot sensors often provide too little information for true thermal profiling and can't trigger machine decisions.

To secure enough data and do it continuously, FSI Automation (Burlington, Ontario, Canada) a division of FLIR Systems Inc. (Portland, Ore.), recently introduced what it says is the first camera to meet these dual challenges. The "uncooled" ThermoVision infrared (IR) camera eliminates the need for cryogenic cooling of its IR detector. ThermoVision captures full-frame images at real-time speeds (60 Hz) of objects at from–20 to 2,000 °C. This "smart sensor" can also control processes directly with its onboard software.

"Heat data add a new dimension to intelligent machine decision-making," says Greg McIntosh, FSI Automation's director. "A visible-light inspection can tell you if the cans on a production line have lids. However, thermal inspection sees invisible problems, like a pinhole leak in the lid's seal, a half-full can, or product that hasn't reached its proper processing temperature."

Uncooled technology

ThermoVision uses an uncooled detector array with a 10-year-plus life expectancy. Advanced integrated circuit fabrication allows the camera's 320 x 240 microbolometer array—a structure of uncooled passive IR detectors—to accommodate the 14-bit, analog-to-digital converter and read-out electronics on the same chip. This gives the camera the dual advantage of high sensitivity (0.1 °C) and wide dynamic temperature range. With a response time of 15 msec, each microbolometer allows real-time standard video output.

A real-time digital signal processor manages the radiometric stabilization input from sensors in the camera. These sensors compensate for environmental heating or cooling of the camera's lens and body, giving ThermoVision a temperature measurement output accuracy of

Finally, the camera can trigger simple high or low alarms for an area of interest (AOI) based on temperature data, or send the maximum, minimum, average, or standard deviation from an AOI to a programmable logic controller or other computer for enhanced machine decision-making during production.

Manufacturing implications

ThermoVision's capabilities mean entire processes can now be monitored instead of several points. For example, temperature fluctuations in a heat-sterilization process are immediately visible to the camera anywhere on a bottle's surface, which means problems can be found and corrected faster. Likewise, the camera can recognize knots in logs because the wood has a different temperature relative to its density.

ThermoVision also offers a multispectral solution to complement visible light-based machine vision tools, such as XCaliper, also from FSI Automation.

For more information, visit www.controleng.com/info .





No comments
The Engineers' Choice Awards highlight some of the best new control, instrumentation and automation products as chosen by...
The System Integrator Giants program lists the top 100 system integrators among companies listed in CFE Media's Global System Integrator Database.
The Engineering Leaders Under 40 program identifies and gives recognition to young engineers who...
This eGuide illustrates solutions, applications and benefits of machine vision systems.
Learn how to increase device reliability in harsh environments and decrease unplanned system downtime.
This eGuide contains a series of articles and videos that considers theoretical and practical; immediate needs and a look into the future.
Sensor-to-cloud interoperability; PID and digital control efficiency; Alarm management system design; Automotive industry advances
Make Big Data and Industrial Internet of Things work for you, 2017 Engineers' Choice Finalists, Avoid control design pitfalls, Managing IIoT processes
Engineering Leaders Under 40; System integration improving packaging operation; Process sensing; PID velocity; Cybersecurity and functional safety
This article collection contains several articles on the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) and how it is transforming manufacturing.

Find and connect with the most suitable service provider for your unique application. Start searching the Global System Integrator Database Now!

SCADA at the junction, Managing risk through maintenance, Moving at the speed of data
Flexible offshore fire protection; Big Data's impact on operations; Bridging the skills gap; Identifying security risks
The digital oilfield: Utilizing Big Data can yield big savings; Virtualization a real solution; Tracking SIS performance
click me