Taking the heat out of temperature monitoring

Paul Boughton
Advances in infrared thermometry and the software it uses are ensuring reduced downtime, simplified process monitoring and easier preventative maintenance for chemical process operators.

FLIR's latest offering is MeterLink, an industry-first wireless connection between selected FLIR cameras and measurement instruments from Extech, a subsidiary of FLIR Systems.

The MeterLink simplifies the work of an electrical or building inspector by making it possible to transfer, via Bluetooth, the data acquired by the measurement instrument into the infrared camera and implement it on the infrared image for accurate, coordinated documentation. According to the company, the new technology saves time and eliminates the risk of faulty records or notes.

For example, during infrared inspections of electrical components, users can transmit key electrical readings such as current or voltage from a MeterLink-enabled Extech EX845 1000A AC/DC clamp meter directly to a FLIR infrared camera. For professionals concerned with tracking moisture and water ingress, MeterLink works with the Extech InspectorPro MO297 multi-function moisture meter and psychrometer.

Guy Pas, FLIR vice president of sales, commercial systems EMEA, emphasises the significant role of customer input in developing MeterLink: "We have heard from our customers that they wanted their infrared cameras to 'talk to' their meters. MeterLink enables FLIR customers to integrate valuable readings from advanced, multifunction Extech meters into one format, their infrared image.

MeterLink and the related connectivity features we're introducing represent FLIR's commitment to driving innovation and leadership in the infrared camera industry."

Another new feature is Instant Reports, an in-camera application that generates PDF inspection reports on-the-go. So inspectors can easily compile images and findings into a fully-formatted PDF report that can be given to a client at a job site via USB memory stick.

Meanwhile, Bluetooth Voice Annotation means that inspectors can now connect a Bluetooth wireless headset to a FLIR infrared camera for easier recording of voice comments associated with their inspections. A copy-to-USB function transfers onboard images or reports directly to a USB memory stick. Copy-to-USB increases customer convenience by saving time and simplifying file sharing without the need for a PC, USB cable, internet, or email.

Finally there is IR Window Auto-Correction which ensures thermographers get connected to accurate diagnostics when protective safety interfaces, like view ports or IR windows are needed.

Raytek is having continuing success with its CM IR thermometer for industrial applications and OEMs.

This rugged, NEMA-4 sealed, single-piece integrated sensor offers powerful features to handle nearly any temperature measurement requirement.

Although small in size, the Raytek CM outperforms competitive temperature measurement sensors at nearly twice the price. The sensor insures a consistent manufacturing process and allows tighter tolerances on heating processes, reducing heating costs while improving process throughput and product quality (Fig. 1).

Designed for easy integration, the CM sensor can easily replace traditional contact probes with a J-type or K-type thermocouple output, or with a user-scaleable 0-5 volt output, if the application is susceptible to noise.

According to the company, the CM includes precision, high-resolution silicon optics, providing excellent optical resolution at a very attractive price.

An RS232 digital interface allows the user to configure all programmable sensor variables via the powerful Raytek DataTemp Multidrop software. These include a 24 volt DC alarm output triggered by target temperature or head ambient temperature; peak hold, valley hold or variable averaging signal processing; adjustable target emissivity settings; and adjustable window transmissivity setting.

A built-in sensor health LED provides a convenient on-line indicator of the sensor's operating status and aids in troubleshooting initial sensor set up.

A remote configuration capability allows it to be configured for virtually any application, reducing installation and troubleshooting time, and streamlining data acquisition. This feature also eases troubleshooting when the sensor is located in a hostile or remote location.

The sensor is designed to measure target temperatures ranging from -20°C to 500°C. Its onboard electronics are protected by a rugged IP 65 (NEMA-4) stainless steel housing, allowing the sensor to function in ambient temperatures to 70°C without cooling.

For its part, the new optoNCDT1402 laser sensor from Micro-Epsilon replaces the company's previous optoNCDT 1401 product.

The new sensor provides improved performance and extreme flexibility. This flexibility comes from a brand new Teach-In function, which can be used to limit or change the measuring range for each application. In this way, both the resolution and the linearity of the sensor in the pre-set measuring range can be significantly improved. This is of particular benefit in applications where only a small measuring range but high performance is required.

The flexibility of the optoNCDT 1402 is further enhanced by an integrated swivelling cable connector, which can be used to change the direction of the cable output to suit the individual application.

By utilising a CMOS sensor, the optoNCDT 1402 has an increased measuring rate of 1.5kHz making it suitable for rapid processes. An RS422 digital interface is provided, as well as analogue current/voltage output.

As before, the new series comprises seven sensors, which have measuring ranges between 5mm and 250mm. Together with the integrated controller, the very compact design makes mounting faster and easier and installation is possible in restricted spaces. Due to its very effective, real time compensation process for the changing reflection characteristics of different target surfaces, the company says its optoNCDT 1402 sensor is universally adaptable to a wide range of tasks.

In other supplier news, BetaTherm Sensors offers a competitive range of chip-based thermistors and probe assemblies for temperature measurement, temperature control and compensation applications in most sensing situations

Meanwhile, Thermo Est thermocouples offer a temperature range from from -200°C to 2400°C and are resistant to pollution and corrosion. This ensures a range of themocouples that are ideally suited for all applications including nuclear, process industries, laboratories and testing situations.