Product Details Supplier Info More products

Flir thermal imaging cameras are playing an important part in the predictive maintenance programme at Medite Europe, the manufacturer of medium-density fibreboard (MDF).

Medite offers seven ranges of MDF products including many variants, with more than 400 possible specifications.

All are manufactured at the company’s Clonmel factory in Ireland.

A key element of this is ensuring that any electrical or mechanical fault is spotted and repaired before it becomes a production-disrupting failure.

Infrared measuring technology is suitable for this detection application.

The regular infrared maintenance surveys are conducted by thermographic consultant Bob Berry and help to ensure the factory’s smooth running.

Recently, however, Berry has been able to add even greater value to his thermographic inspections at Medite Europe thanks to an introduction by Flir.

This is a Bluetooth wireless solution between the infrared camera and a measuring instrument called Meterlink.

It allows measurement data from meters to be embedded in an infrared image for greater accuracy and intelligence.

The correlation between temperature and electrical load is well established and thermographers have included load ratings where relevant.

Bob Berry of Thermal Vision, is a certified Level 3 thermographer and, in common with other consultants, he performs more than a hundred inspections per year.

This creates a lot of data and readings from different instruments can get lost or mixed up.

’The more time it takes me to assimilate the information, the longer the report generation process becomes,’ said Berry.

Berry has now adopted the Flir Meterlink facility, which is available on a variety of Flir infrared cameras including the Flir T425 mid-range model, used at this inspection.

It is suitable for a wide range of electro-mechanical inspection tasks that are common at larger industrial plants such as Medite Europe.

’The menu system of the Flir T425 camera has many analysis tools that can be set up according to the needs of the job,’ said Berry.

’Its Meterlink feature allows the camera to receive data automatically from an Extech EX845 clamp meter,’ he added.

Berry also said that the straightforwardness of Meterlink means he is much more likely to take time to stop and use the clamp meter than when he is taking independent readings and making notes.

He explains: ’The clamp meter is fitted to the first phase and the infrared image frozen complete with embedded current reading.

’The camera then prompts you to add more current readings, one at a time, each being stored in the appropriate image,’ he added.

On this basis three phases require three readings.

No notes need to be taken and there’s no danger of the readings being attributed to the wrong job or lost.

It may require slight changes to the inspection routine but, in Berry’s opinion, this is not at all inconvenient.

The saved measurements are fully accessible in the Flir analysis and reporting software Reporter 8.5 and easily added in the results tables.

This means thermographers can be certain that the current readings tally with the thermal image.

It eliminates all possibility of any mix up.

The title and location of individual faults can be saved directly in the image as voice or text comments and annotations.

’This combination of a Flir infrared camera and Extech clamp meter completely rules out the possibility of confusing the location, the equipment or load data from individual faults,’ said Berry.

For Berry’s customers, such as Medite Europe, companies are able to assure that the infrared inspection survey is being conducted thoroughly so that maintenance resources can be more effectively targeted.

FLIR Systems specialises in technologies that enhance perception and awareness.  The company brings innovative sensing solutions into daily life through its thermal imaging and visible light imaging technology and systems for measurement, diagnosis, location and advanced threat detection.  Its products improve the way people interact with the world around them, enhance productivity, increase energy efficiency and make the workplace safer.

FLIR Systems has six operating segments – surveillance, instruments, OEM and emerging markets, maritime, security and finally, detection. Of these six, ‘instruments’ is of greatest interest to trade and industry and the second largest segment in the company’s portfolio. This division provides devices that image, measure and assess thermal energy, gases and other environmental elements for industrial, commercial and scientific applications.

These products are manufactured across five production sites, three in the USA and two in Europe; Sweden and Estonia.

A model to suit every application and budget
The options that FLIR Systems provides for measuring temperature and studying thermal performance have never been greater.  Not only does the company offer a huge range of models to suit all thermal application needs but the technology is also affordable and very easy to use.  Thermal cameras now come in various shapes, sizes and degrees of sophistication and FLIR continues to invest heavily in the development of new and complementary technologies to differentiate itself from competitors.

An important milestone in the development of thermal imaging has been the introduction of the FLIR Lepton® core, a micro longwave detector, the size of a mobile SIM.  This has allowed thermal imaging to be repackaged to meet the needs of an even wider audience and, in combination with another new technology called Infrared Guided Measurement – IGM™ – has led to the development of a range of test and measurement meters with imaging capability.

Another important growth area for FLIR thermal imaging is in continuous monitoring to assure quality and safety.  Through its introduction of discrete fixed mounted thermal cameras which are fully compliant industry standard plug-and-play protocols, FLIR Systems has provided industry with infrared machine vision which is instantly ready for quick and easy network installation.

Protecting assets and people from fire is an area for which thermal imaging is least known but, thanks to FLIR Systems’ development, it is now one of the most cost-effective methods available.  Its application flexibility and rapid return on investment present an attractive proposition for any site or safety manager.

View full profile