Short wavelength thermal imager for process control

| Information and Communication Technology

Infrared thermal imaging camera
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The thermoIMAGER T1M M1 camera from Micro-Epsilon provides short wavelength thermal imaging capabilities suitable for metal and ceramic process industries.

Micro-Epsilon has launched a new compact, robust (IP67) short wavelength infrared thermal imaging camera, which is specifically designed to measure the surface temperature of hot metals, as well as ceramics and graphite. The camera offers a significant cost advantage, with a selling price that is similar to currently available short wavelength spot pyrometers.

Due to its short-wave spectral range of 1µm, the new thermoIMAGER TIM M1 is ideal for temperature measurement applications in metal processing, including the temperature monitoring of metal hardening and forming processes. In the range 0.92µm to 1.1µm, metals are subject to a significantly higher emissivity than in other wavelength ranges.

Chris Jones, Managing Director at Micro-Epsilon UK comments: “Compared to other short wavelength similar resolution thermal imagers currently available in the market, the TIM M1 offers a significant cost advantage. The camera also provides an unmatched range of process integration features, enabling it to be easily integrated into the customer’s own industrial networks or production control system. The M1 can also measure the temperature of metals through standard glass windows.”

“Micro-Epsilon has developed a product offering that is ideal for metal processing applications. We spoke to the marketplace and asked them what their ideal solution would be for temperature monitoring and process control. They told us that high accuracy, a wide temperature range, ease of use and installation, sufficient robustness to survive the harsh environment, and high ambient temperature operation were key factors. In addition, they wanted a lower cost camera compared to other currently available solutions, as cost can be a prohibiting factor that can prevent installation in multiple locations,” explains Jones.

The answer is the thermoIMAGER TIM M1. It has a high resolution CMOS detector with 764 x 480 pixels, a temperature measuring range of 450C to 1800C, and like all Micro-Epsilon thermal imagers, the TIM M1 comes with full licence-free software for fast set up and easy configuration. It is very compact at just 46 x 56 x 90mm, yet for harsh environments, can be supplied with a large stainless steel air or water-cooled housing that can operate in 315C ambient temperatures.

As Jones states: “Most importantly, the thermoIMAGER TIM M1 has a selling price that is similar to currently available short wavelength spot pyrometers. As you can expect, this unit is in high demand and its roll out has already begun.”

The M1 is supplied with the licence-free TIMConnect operating and analysis software as standard, which includes a variety of process control features, including an ‘image merging’ function. This smart feature allows the user to view on a single screen up to four M1 camera images and process these as ‘one image’. This is a very useful tool when users need to monitor a large target or area, for example, when searching for hotspots in a long production line. The M1 can be set up to provide detailed analysis of high speed, thermodynamic processes and is able to output analogue temperature or alert values via the process interface (PIF).

Powered and operated via a USB 2.0 interface, the M1 provides temperature images and profiles of a target area. This plug-and-play unit enables the real time capture and storage of images or video of an event for slow motion play back or snapshots at a later date – a key feature in many quality, R&D and inspection work. The TIM M1 offers frame rates up to 1kHz, which means that users can monitor the temperature of fast moving metal objects or processes.

The M1 is lightweight (320g including lens) and compact (46 x 56 x 90mm) and operates in ambient temperatures of 0C to +50C (+315C with an integrated cooling jacket). The standard 5m or 10m USB cables are also available in high temperature (HT) versions for use with cooling jackets. The TIM USB Gigabit Server enables extended cable lengths of up to 100m via Ethernet.

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