An inline thermal imaging camera has been developed with a spectral range suited to the specific requirements of measuring glass temperature.
Temperature is a key measurement parameter in controlling the quality of glass or glass products. Inline (fixed) thermal imaging cameras or non-contact infrared temperature sensors can be installed that measure the temperature of glass products and surfaces during production, as well as glass substrates used in semiconductor processing and for the manufacture of solar cell panels, automotive glass, glass containers/tubes, light bulbs and LCD displays. However, current thermal imaging technology is limited in the accuracy it can achieve.
Temperature measurement of sheet glass
The thermoIMAGER G7 is the latest addition to the Micro-Epsilon family of thermal imaging cameras and is specifically designed for measurements on any glass objects.
With a spectral range of 7.9µm, the thermoIMAGER G7 accurately measures the temperature of the glass, even very thin glass. Conventional thermal imagers with spectral wavelengths of 8-14µm do not measure accurately the temperature of the glass. At longer wavelengths, glass allows transmission of temperature from objects behind or near to the glass, which gives inaccurate measurements, normally lower than the true glass temperature. Using the G7 camera at a wavelength of 7.9µm eliminates any transmission from other objects, resulting in very accurate glass temperature measurement.
Chris Jones, Managing Director at Micro-Epsilon UK comments: “When measuring at 7.9µm, the glass object becomes a solid body and only emits its own temperature. This results in very accurate temperature measurements, even on very thin glass or thin walled objects such as glass tubes, bottles and substrates.”
Even if the glass has a protective (reflective) coating applied to it, an additional reference pyrometer can be set up to provide an adjustment factor to the camera, which corrects for this reduction in transmission of infrared temperature from the glass – a unique feature of the thermoIMAGER software supplied as standard with the G7.
Like all thermoIMAGER TIM thermal imaging cameras, the G7 is supplied with full, licence-free operating and analysis software, which includes a variety of process control features such as ‘line scan mode’ – a feature that enables the camera to view through a narrow slit (restricted field of view) onto the glass, yet still provide a complete thermal image of the entire sheet.
Powered and operated via a USB 2.0 interface, the G7 provides temperature images and profiles of a target area. This plug-and-play unit enables the real time capture (at 80Hz full frame rate) 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, inspection, R&D and failure diagnostics work.
The G7 is lightweight (320g) and compact (46 x 56 x 90mm) and operates in ambient temperatures of 0C to +70C (+240C with an integrated cooling jacket).
High performance IR temperature sensor for glass
An alternative method of measuring the temperature of glass and glass products is to use a high precision infrared temperature sensor.
Micro-Epsilon’s thermoMETER CT family of infrared temperature sensors includes the CTLaserGLASS, a non-contact infrared thermometer specifically designed to measure the temperature of glass surfaces or products such as solar panels, flat glass lines, light bulbs, car glass finishing and glass containers.
The CTLaserGLASS uses a 5.0µm wavelength detector to accurately measure temperatures from 100C up to 1,650C. The average measuring wavelength of 5.0µm provides a low depth of penetration and enables reflection effects to occur for the infrared measurement of glass. Using shorter wavelengths than this would mean the sensor would measure through the glass rather than measuring the true temperature of the glass itself.
In container glass production, for example, the operator must obtain the temperature of the glass gob (molten glass that is poured into a blow mould) to observe the ratio between glass viscosity and gob weight. The mould temperature measurement is therefore critical for balancing the cooling levels of mould shells.
In the production of flat glass, automotive glass and construction glass, homogeneity of the complete glass panel is important, particularly when it comes to bending, annealing and tempering zones. The double laser aiming of the thermoMETER CTLaserGLASS marks the real spot location and spot size up from 1mm at any distance. The 70:1 (or 45:1) optics with selectable focus, provide a very small spot size of just 1mm.
ThermoMETER CTLaserGLASS has a stainless steel sensor head and can be used in ambient temperatures of up to 85C without cooling and to protect the laser aiming optics, has an automatic laser switch off at 50C. Cooling and protection accessories are also available for harsh environmental conditions. For example, a water-cooled version is available for ambient temperatures of up to 175C.
Other industrial applications
Micro-Epsilon’s thermoMETER CT series of compact, inline (fixed) infrared temperature sensors are suitable for use in a wide range of other industrial applications, from maintenance and process monitoring tasks, to R&D and test laboratories.
The thermoMETER CT series operates with specific wavelengths and are ideal for measuring the temperature of virtually all materials. These include metals, glass, ceramics and composites, from -50C to +2,200C, using laser sighting to easily locate the target to be measured and also define measurement spot size.
The thermoMETER CTLaser M3, for example, has a start temperature of 50C and so fulfills the demands of end users who need to measure the temperature of metals, ceramics and composites, while processing at room temperature. The short wavelength also enables measurements to be taken through glass or transparent plastic windows, a common task in the latest laser welding or lighting systems.
The sensor’s precision double laser sighting, in combination with excellent optical resolution (100:1), minimum spot size (0.7mm), and favourable price/performance ratio, results in a sensor that is ideal for measuring in the metal processing and metal components industry at temperatures starting from +50°C. The thermoMETER CTLaser range also includes the M1/M2 sensors that offer shorter wavelength detectors of 1mm and 1.6mm respectively, ideal for the higher temperature metal applications.
In applications where the emissivity of a target is unclear or varies, the thermoMETER CTRatioM1 offers an alternative solution where the ratio of two different short wavelength detectors is compared. The ratiometric principle, sometimes referred to as a “2-colour pyrometer”, minimises measurement errors caused by objects in the optical path blocking the path. For example, scale build up on hot and molten metals, steam or smoke, which block up to 90% of the measurement spot do not affect the measurement accuracy. The CTRatioM1 measures temperatures from +700°C to +1,800°C and the use of glass fibre optic cables means the sensor can withstand ambient temperatures up to 250°C without the need for additional cooling.