Thermal cameras are not only used to safeguard property and people but also to protect mission-critical equipment. At manufacturing plants, maintenance teams want to aggregate data to continually evaluate an asset’s health and know if it is about to fail.

Production managers are keen to catch process anomalies that result in faulty products or packaging before these products leave the production line. Safety managers need to detect excessive heat build-up on fuel, hazardous material, and electrical components before combustion occurs and a fire breaks out. By deploying thermal cameras for condition monitoring, process control, and fire prevention applications, plant managers ensure maximum uptime and avoid catastrophic events.

Why thermal cameras?

Because temperature changes can be an early indicator of equipment deterioration, non-uniform temperature profiles on products, or a hotspot area, thermal automation cameras are a premier choice for plant managers. Radiometric thermal cameras yield a temperature value for every pixel in an image and clearly visualise the temperature differences of a surveyed area. Upon exceeding a specific temperature threshold, a thermal automation camera sends an alarm, or, if integrated with other control processes, triggers an action to de-escalate the situation.

FLIR automation cameras in action

FLIR offers an array of radiometric thermal cameras that are highly effective automation solutions. Here are three examples of how FLIR automation cameras made a difference for critical facilities in the industrial sector.

  • Steel Mill: Few equipment failures are as dangerous and damaging as a steel breakout at a steel mill, where a ladle or torpedo enclosure ruptures and pours out hundreds of tons of 1400°C (2552°F) molten iron onto the plant floor. Because hotspots can occur on this machinery in less than a minute, engineer service company ANT Automation provides its steel mill customers with a Continuous Infrared Analysis (CIRA) platform.
  • Condition Monitoring: The cornerstone of the CIRA solution is reliable thermal imaging from a FLIR automation camera, which monitors the entire surface of ladles and torpedoes; provides historical temperature data to distinguish between typical splashes and hotspots, and sends an alarm to personnel to act upon true hotspot detection. As a result, ANT Automation customers experience heightened equipment protection, cheaper insurance premiums, and greater peace of mind.
  • Paper Mill: At paper mills, calendaring or the process of putting paper webs through hard pressure rollers to smooth the paper is important. However, excess moisture can occur on the paper web between the rollers, damaging roll covers and causing downtime. One North America paper manufacturer experienced an average of 30 moisture events annually where each event equated to $100,000 in losses.
  • Process Control: To remedy the situation, the manufacturer turned to Eigen, an AI-enabled vision solution provider. Eigen provided a platform that featured FLIR automation cameras, an edge computing device, and analytics software. The FLIR cameras continuously monitor the paper web prior to it entering the calendar machine and upon detection of cold streaks, trigger an unload alarm so that calendar stacks are opened and roll covers are cleaned. Eigen estimates its automation solution will result in 300 unloads for a total savings of $1.2 million.

Waste facility and fire prevention

Based in the town of Legnago in Northern Italy, Ecologica Tredi operates an 11,000 square metre facility that specialises in the recovery and treatment of special, hazardous, and non-hazardous waste. Should material combust and cause a fire at the plant, the consequences include unwanted pollutants released into the environment, damaged equipment, and lengthy business interruptions. Thermostick Elettrotecnica provides a comprehensive monitoring control and alarm system based on FLIR automation cameras

To enhance workplace safety and meet regulation compliance, Ecologica Tredi partnered with Thermostick Elettrotecnica, who specialises in unconventional fire detection systems. Thermostick Elettrotecnica provided a comprehensive monitoring control and alarm system based on FLIR automation cameras. These FLIR cameras monitor work and storage areas and upon specified alarm events, can activate sprinklers or cannons.

FLIR AX8 camera

Thermostick Elettrotecnica also deployed a FLIR AX8 camera to survey material on the conveyor belt coming out of a shredder. Upon identifying abnormally high temperatures, the belt stops. After completing its audit of the facility, the Ministry of Interior said Ecologica Tredi was one of the most equipped for fire prevention.

These are just a few deployments that demonstrate how automation solutions, like the FLIR A400/A700 Smart Thermal Sensor camera, can be used to avoid unplanned outages, production line shutdowns, fires, and other surprise events that cause substantial disruptions and financial loss.

Deployment recommendation

When evaluating how to implement thermal cameras for one's automation application, there are several factors to consider. Here are a few recommendations to get one started.

  • Select an Accurate Camera: For automation, accurate radiometric thermal images are key. Select a high-resolution radiometric thermal camera that yields sharp images and rich image detail. FLIR offers two optimal thermal detector arrays, 320x240 or 640x480, which provide up to ±2°C accuracy within temperature ranges of -40°C to 2000°C.
  • Choose an Analytics Software: Easily integrate FLIR automation cameras with one's preferred analytics software. Some of the software that FLIR cameras currently integrate with include Cognex Designer Pro, NI Software, Pleora Ebus, Teledyne, and Spinaker SDK.
  • Determine Regions of Interest and Alarm Settings: Define what critical areas need to be surveyed for hotspots or temperature variances. When deploying FLIR cameras, one can select up to 10 regions of interest. Simply use the web-based configuration window on one's mobile device or computer to select spots, draw boxes, or create custom areas. Create one's alarm parameters as well as the desired response by defining the data acquisition output type.
  • Integrate with Control Processes: For improved intervention, integrate thermal automation cameras with other control processes. To do this, ensure one's automation camera is compliant with communication protocols such as GigE Vision, RTSP, MQTT, RESTful API, MODBUS TCP & Master, Ethernet IP, and FTP.
Share with LinkedIn Share with Twitter Share with Facebook Share with Facebook
Download PDF version Download PDF version

In case you missed it

What are the challenges and benefits of mobile access control?
What are the challenges and benefits of mobile access control?

There is a broad appeal to the idea of using a smartphone or wearable device as a credential for physical access control systems. Smartphones already perform a range of tasks that extend beyond making a phone call. Shouldn’t opening the door at a workplace be among them? It’s a simple idea, but there are obstacles for the industry to get there from here. We asked this week’s Expert Panel Roundtable: What are the challenges and benefits of mobile access control solutions? 

Securing a sustainable future
Securing a sustainable future

The UK Government has set out an ambitious ten-point plan, known as the green industrial revolution, with an aim “to forge ahead with eradicating its contribution to climate change by 2050.” This makes our government the first major economy to embrace such a legal obligation. Green recovery Acknowledging climate change and meeting net-zero is a demanding challenge especially for those affected by the pandemic. But the UK Government, with the launch of its aspiring strategy, is investing everything in its power to promote a ‘green recovery.’ Here, Reece Paprotny, Commercial Manager and Sustainability Champion at Amthal, highlights how the fire and security industry has an opportunity to use the current recovery period to explore its own sustainable journey and embrace the significance of environment, economic and social collaboration, transparency, and accountability. Employing sustainable technologies Pressure is mounting on construction to find ways to reduce emissions and help meet net-zero targets The perception is that COVID-19 presents a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to re-write the existing rulebook. This is riding on the significance of changing public support for more environmentally friendly living opportunities, with associated cost savings, efficiencies, and cleaner industries. Innovative sustainable technologies are the key to kickstart this route to success.  Nowhere can this be seen more than in the built environment, which currently contributes to 40% of the UK's carbon footprint. Pressure is mounting on construction to find ways to reduce emissions and help meet net-zero targets. This is through the entire life cycle of a building, to reduce their impact on the environment from planning stages, through build and demolition. Building the right environment By creating the right policy environment, incentives for innovation and infrastructure, the Government can encourage companies to seize the sustainable opportunities of new technologies and value chains linked to green sectors. They can accelerate the shift of current carbon-intensive economic and industrial structures onto greener trajectories, enabling the UK to meet global climate and development goals under the Paris Agreement on climate change and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Transparent working practices Each industry sector is expected to engage and pledge its support to achieve the significant deadlines. Every company can make a difference, even with small steps towards a sustainable future. So whilst elements such as safety and security represent just one component of building the right sustainable environment, it paves the way to opening up our sector to greater efficiencies, transparent working practices, and encourages collaborative use of resources. Sustainability in security The security sector has a significant opportunity to incorporate ‘going green’ into its practices In fact, the security sector has a significant opportunity to incorporate ‘going green’ into their processes, and practices. This is right from product lifecycles to more environmentally friendly work practices when it comes to maintenance and monitoring services. When integrating environmentally friendly practices, starts with the manufacturing and production of the wide variety of systems in operation for the security sector. And some certifications and guidelines can be achieved, such as the ISO 14000 which looks into eliminating hazardous materials being used which in turn will reduce carbon footprint.  Upgrading supply chain process Observing the complete supply chain and working with partners to reduce unnecessary travel, shipments, and transportation of products, can all contribute and create sustainable processes.  In the maintenance and monitoring of products, it is essential installers and security specialists consider their own environmental impacts. Simple changes such as switching company vehicles to electric options for site visits can make a significant difference to climate change and improving air quality. Presenting sustainable ways of disposing of products at the end of their natural lifecycle is key to change in our sector. This is especially in the security industry where many customers will need a complete overhaul of outdated solutions or need systems upgrading due to changing threat levels. Sustainable evolution Progress is being made, specifically in the fire and security industry, in its sustainable evolution. Businesses are trying to develop a reputation for “sustainability” or “good corporate citizenship.” And it has gone well beyond the theory to the practical, where companies recognise activities have an impact on the environment and are also reviewing the social and economic influences. Three pillars of sustainability In a recent interview, Inge Huijbrechts, the Global Senior Vice President for safety and security and Responsible Business at Radisson Hotel Groups sees her vision to combine safety, security, and sustainability. Inge focuses on three pillars, namely, Think People, Think Community, and Think Planet. Think People means that we “always care for the people in our hotels and our supply chain.” So, in outwards communications, safety and security were always part of the Think People focus area. Think Community is caring and contributing in a meaningful way to communities where we operate. Finally, Think Planet makes sure that “our footprint on the environment is as light as it can be in terms of energy, water, waste, and carbon, and making sure that we incorporate sustainability into our value proposition.” Moving forward Apprenticeship schemes are integral to ‘think people’ and have a role to play in the social impact on the security industry There are immediate actions that can be taken by companies in the security industry to support sustainable development, working right from within a company to supporting industry-wide initiatives. From a social perspective, at a foundation level, “Think People’ can see the Living Wage Foundation as an example of a commitment to a team.  This is for businesses that choose to go further and pay a real Living wage based on the cost of living, not just the Government minimum. Apprenticeship schemes are also integral to ‘think people’ and have a pivotal role to play on the social impact on the security industry.  It addresses the sector-wide issue of finding employees with the right mix of skills to collaborate and meet discerning consumer demands for increasingly smart security solutions for homes and businesses. Impact of the full lifecycle of products From an environmental view, or ‘think planet,’ we need to collectively look at all elements of our industry, with a desire to analyse the impact of ingredients used, supply chain, or manufacturing alone, and also consider the full lifecycle of our selected products from creation to end of life. As Jamie Allam, CEO Amthal summarises, “This is a long-term, sustainable investment in our people, our products, and our business based on our values.” “When put together, a social team which feels empowers and operates in environmental optimum working conditions is in a position to provide a great experience to our customers, creating an economic positive difference. It forms the basis of a sustainable sector vision for the security industry-wide to adopt.” Taking action Amthal is taking action based on the ready-made universally agreed UN 17 Sustainable Development Goals. Also known as Global Goals, these are at the heart of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, adopted by all United Nations Member states. This agenda is a plan of action for people, the planet, and prosperity. By being an early adopter, we believe we can engage with customers, partners, and suppliers on these issues and generate opportunities to innovate for mutual and industry sector benefit. Together, we can contribute to building a more sustainable security sector and future, and contribute to the UK Government’s green industrial revolution.

What is the impact of privacy concerns on physical security?
What is the impact of privacy concerns on physical security?

Adoption of General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) by the European Union in 2016 set a new standard for data privacy. But adherence to GDPR is only one element, among many privacy concerns sweeping the global security community and leaving almost no product category untouched, from access control to video to biometrics. Because privacy concerns are more prevalent than ever, we asked this week’s Expert Panel Roundtable: What is the impact on the physical security market?