Benefits of Thermal Imaging
FLIR cameras have developed a well-deserved reputation based on their construction, performance, and reliability. Originally noticed by fire departments who found immediate usage for the cameras during hot spot inspections when putting out fires, FLIR cameras have come a long way since those early days. Now, the units are so sensitive, they get notoriety on TV ghost-hunting shows, and they provide extremely accurate monitoring capability for industrial applications as well. No surprise, thermal camera system installations experts like Connors Industrials rely on FLIR cameras as the backbone of their physical hardware strategy.
Today’s Connors Industrials software systems and designs combined with FLIR’s infrared cameras and Valmet’s sensors have been applied in everything from primary metal melting plants with Ladle Vision applications to viewing inside secondary steel processing stations to capital equipment hot spot detection. The approach has become a proven installation model, with repeat success again and again.
First and foremost, the most valuable benefit of thermal cameras in a commercial or industrial application is safety. Both as a monitoring tool as well as for investigation and detection, FLIR thermal cameras and Valmet thermal sensors are being applied in numerous environments that were previously too dangerous or extreme for prior technology. Everything from refinery operations to problem detection of manufacturing systems provide ample applications for thermal camera analysis.
Objective accuracy comes in as a second top benefit. The simple fact is computer technology with the right calibrations provides extremely accurate measurements. When combined with the correct thermal wavelength in high heat environments, Valmet camera view systems give operation managers extremely valuable windows into areas they otherwise wouldn’t be able to access. The inside of production systems, for example, are far too hot for any kind of human observation, but without knowing for sure what’s happening, mistakes can occur that cause damage or result in nonconforming heat specifications. A robust detection system can provide a camera window inside the hot chamber, allowing immediate and ongoing measurement of activity so managers can fine tune their operations. It improves production, efficiency and safety.
The design of Connors Industrials’ camera setups is unique and based on practical experience in terms of how thermal cameras work best in specific industrial environments. Infrared cameras are regularly installed with a dedicated air purge to prevent residue build-up on the lens as well as potential dust capture. Cooling systems also come integrated with the cameras to maintain a protective immediate environment for the camera and prevent long-term damage from radiant heat exposure.
Fixed Installation Advantages
Taking a dedicated view approach, Connors Industrials’ strategies dictate a locked view. Added views simply require more cameras. This allows for enhanced focus, range as well as constant distance which makes it easier for measurement calculations. It also removes the variation caused by hand-held or mobile camera observations.
Connors Industrials puts a big emphasis on integration with existing client systems, which is why all setups utilize CAT 6/coax cable for physical line connections on networks.
Significantly Improved Worker Safety.
With no need to perform in-person inspections, the injury rate of exposed inspection becomes non-existent. Workers aren’t put in the position of handling cameras near dangerous zones or containers.
For high heat conditions especially, thermal camera systems can provide a continuous feed on high equipment conditions during the entire manufacturing process. The same data can be stored as infrared observations as well as thermal readings. And the information can be continuously provided in “movie” output as well as static imagery.
The Big Picture
There’s no question that automated thermal camera systems have proven their worth. With the obvious relationship between the range of temperature on the infrared scale and metallurgical production processes, the use of thermal cameras provides the ideal process management tool for manufacturing facilities and plants. There are minimum standards, but with the available thermal camera capabilities and customized software developments Connors Industrials can provide via FLIR cameras and Valmet sensors daily reporting information which can support safety as well as management of control of capitalized equipment.
Continuous temperature measurements of ladle shell at secondary processing can measure the kinetic effects of power from electrodes, stirring from argon plugs and exothermic chemistry changes.