Robust temperature measurement solutions for processing

Paul Boughton
Accurate temperature measurement is crucial and this relies on a range of technologies including IR thermometry, optical pyrometry and thermocouples. Here we look at the best on offer today.

Raytek has launched an enhanced version of its ThermoView Pi20 process imager with DataTemp Pi (DTPi) software. Described as a rugged, yet easy-to-operate thermal imaging solution, it includes two additional cameras, a new enclosure and C++ software development kit (SDK) allowing for use in a wide range of process environments.

Designed for automated monitoring and control of continuous or stationary targets, the ThermoView Pi20 fixed-mounted process imager provides an automated view of a process, allowing plant operators to shorten process start-up times and lower production line changeover costs. The camera is paired with intuitive DTPi software, which minimises or eliminates the long learning curve associated with many process imaging systems.

The ThermoView Pi20 is now even more robust and versatile with the addition of two 45-degree remote focus cameras and a new 'outdoor' enclosure. The company says that this solution is ideal for applications ranging from furnace refractory monitoring to semiconductor/solar manufacturing and production of glass, plastics, automotive components, building materials, food and beverage products, and petrochemicals. Customised solutions are also available for engine testing, steel coating, metal forming, materials testing, solar module testing and automotive fabrication.[Page Break]

Together, the Raytek Pi20 camera and DTPi software offer multi-point control flexibility corresponding to areas of interest (AOIs) on the product with independent alarm settings. This provides the ability to reduce heating costs by applying heat to only the areas that need it. Users can also tell immediately when a product changeover is made if their process is under control. Process problems that show up as temperature anomalies are instantly detected, and image file and AOI archiving based on alarm conditions captures data showing when the alarm condition occurred.

Featuring an IP54 rating, the rugged ThermoView Pi20 camera is offered in two temperature ranges: -40 to 500°C and 200 to 2000°C. For each temperature range, three lens options are available: 21.7° x 16°, 30° x 22° and 45.2° x 33.7°. The ThermoView Pi20 provides easy networking over long distances using a standard Ethernet interface, which transmits up to 30 frames per second of imaging data from the camera. Additional fibre optic Ethernet accessories enable Ethernet cable runs beyond 90 metres, eliminating the need to place the PC operating DataTemp Pi software in a hazardous area. These features reduce the user's capital investment costs by eliminating the need for specialized enclosures and expensive industrial computers to survive in a harsh field environment.[Page Break]

Raytek has also enhanced its M13 Series infrared temperature measurement system with MI3 1M and MI3 2M high temperature sensing heads. The new sensing heads extend the MI3's performance for specific original equipment manufacturer (OEM) applications and high temperature manufacturing processes.

Designed to deliver industry-leading performance and flexibility at the lowest installed cost per measurement point, the Raytek MI3 Series represents a new generation of performance and innovation in non-contact temperature monitoring. These high-performance IR sensors reduce energy costs by allowing tighter process control and more efficient process heating. Improved control performance usually results in less product variation, higher product quality and increased throughput.[Page Break]

Optical pyrometry

At Prague Precision, the focus remains on multichannel optical pyrometers. The company's data processing technology means makes it possible to automatically eliminate signal disturbance so that they can be used in situations when standard one- or two-channel pyrometers do not give reliable results.

These include, for example: measurement of unstable or moving objects such as molten metals in steelworks, blast furnaces and foundries; measurement of objects with islands of different temperature and/or emissivity on their surface such as slag islands; measurement in environments with varying observation conditions - where dust and smoke can decrease transmittance; and measurement in plants with aggressive process environments.

The optical pyrometer measures intensity of radiation in eight optical bands in visible and near infrared spectral regions with high sampling rate. The instantaneous temperature of radiating material is determined using a special calibration which relates the spectral emissivity of the material to its temperature and reflects the specific conditions in a plant. In the selected time interval, the resulting temperature and its related error are statistically calculated using many measurements performed within a short period of time.

Acquired information about radiation intensity in eight spectral bands is utilised for elimination of disturbances which negatively influence the accuracy and reliability of the temperature measurement in industrial conditions. In order to eliminate these effects the internal computer of the optical pyrometer performs following operations: recognition and analysis of the particular situation which occurred during the measurement optimisation of the whole measuring process and temperature calculation in accordance with actual conditions; carrying out the corrections of measured data in accordance with the actual conditions; and statistical processing of the experimental data, evaluating the resulting temperature and its error.[Page Break]

Total cost of ownership

Lower total cost of ownership is an important competitive advantage in plant and machine construction. The monitoring of operating parameters, for example the pressure and temperature of operating fluids such as hydraulic oil, lubricants or cooling water, is essential for trouble-free operation, and thus for calculable operating costs.

Optimally adjusted operating fluid temperatures help save energy. And simple, therefore reliable, adjustment and operation of the sensors plays a major role in minimising commissioning and servicing times. Thus great attention was paid to simple operation and good display readability during the design of SICK's new TBS temperature switch.

The TBS combines temperature measurement, limit temperature detection and in-situ display in a single device (Fig. 1.). It is available with one analogue and up to two digital output signals.

In addition to several installation lengths of from 25 to 350 mm, the TBS is also available with four different screw-in threads. Parts in contact with the media are entirely made of stainless steel. The housing can be twisted in two directions for flexible integration in differing installation situations. This permits orderly cable routing and optimum alignment of the display to the operator.

The TBS temperature switch has the same look and feel as its cousin, the PBS pressure switch. SICK says that users will be pleased that the uniform operation of both devices simplifies commissioning as well as parameter adjustment during operation.

According to IMF Electronic, monitoring and control of temperatures is one of the most important measuring tasks in automation and process technology. The correct temperature often influences quality and efficiency of the process. To avoid dangerous states, the temperature must be monitored in many applications. To do so, compact temperature switches and transmitters as well as cable and probe sensors are used that are connected to an external control monitor. In some industrial areas non-contact infrared measuring sensors are used.

For its part, IMF Electronic offers temperature switches, transmitters, self-monitoring temperature transmitters, control monitors, a measure signal converter for temperature sensors, a sensor with adjustable switch points and a sensor with an integrated control monitor. The company also has an extensive selection of clamp and ring fittings, and thermowells