When thinking about Infrared Thermal Imaging Cameras, there tends to be an immediate thought of either security cameras with night vision systems, or of handheld devices that are commonly used in such applications such as building thermography and spot-checking electrical panels. Of course, these are massive industries and there are many products that fill these needs.
When considering industrial applications such as those found in the plastics industry there is less knowledge of the capabilities of the technology. Many producers will utilise handheld infrared thermometers or cameras for spot checking equipment and machines, but these are heavily reliant on an operator continuously viewing the image and interpreting the results correctly whilst understanding the limitations of such a device. For high-speed applications this is impossible.
Integrate with your existing process control
Now imagine if you could integrate a thermal imaging camera into your existing process measurement and control systems at a surprisingly low cost. Imagine being able to have a complete thermal view of each and every part you produce and automatically provide feedback to your control system to improve quality and yield. Rather than work in the dark by monitoring temperature at a few points with thermocouples, shed a light on what is happening within your process and drive consistency and uniformity in your temperature control.
Optris Thermal Imaging Cameras are designed for precisely this type of application. The miniaturised, rugged designs are intended for mounting on industrial machines to provide continuous monitoring of a given process. This could be injection moulding, extrusion, vacuum forming or blown film processing.
Some Design Features
There are a few key design features of the Optris thermal imaging camera range that lend themselves to this type of use:-
- USB or Ethernet connection to a Windows PC allows the cameras to be very small and low cost. Mounting the cameras onto machines is easy as they take up very little space and are perfectly capable of handling arduous environments.
- High speed frame rates of up to 120Hz allow the monitoring of extremely high-speed applications, and with response times of approximately 12 milliseconds we really can capture fast moving processes, for example parts being ejected from mould tools.
- High resolution images allow the temperature measurement of very small objects or parts, often impossible to achieve and often the cause of many moulding quality issues (too hot, too cold, short shot etc.).
The key feature of all Optris Thermal Imaging Cameras that makes integration so easy is that they include a “Process Interface”. This interface is a direct connection between the camera and your process control system and can be used as a direct replacement for existing sensors such as thermocouples.
The process interface is easily configured to provide a variety of inputs and outputs. For example, the interface can provide a direct alarm output should a set of temperature conditions not be met. Or alternatively can provide an industry standard 4-20mA output to your process control equipment. You can also provide the camera with inputs from external sensors to tell the camera when to take measurements.
It is possible to provide multiple outputs from the camera using our optional Industrial Process Interface which will provide up to three outputs. Each output can be configured to monitor an individual area on the screen, called measuring areas in our software. Each of these can be configured to a different area on the component being manufactured.
Process Parameters Ltd is the UK distributor for Optris, a German manufacturer of infrared thermometers and thermal imaging cameras. We have more than ten years’ experience in this field and can help you achieve the best performance from this type of product. Contact us now to discuss your application and find out if Thermal Imaging can improve your process.
For more information about using Infrared Measurement technology in the Plastics Industry, why not download this brochure?
This article is intended as a guide and does not replace our own free technical assistance which is always readily available.