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FLIR Systems has published an application note that describes how IntelliView, a Canadian specialist video analytics company, developed a smart camera solution based on a FLIR thermal camera to remotely automatically monitor oil pump stations for leaks.

Although pipeline leaks often start small, late detection and identification of leaks can be detrimental. For an oil and gas company, delayed detections can cause millions in financial losses, as well as damage to reputation and the environment. In an effort to avoid these loses, many pipeline operators are taking a more proactive approach to maintaining the safety of their infrastructure and securing high-risk areas from potential leaks.

The application note describes IntelliView’s DCAM (Dual Camera Analytic Module) leak detection solution, a compact combination of visual and FLIR thermal cameras with built-in proprietary leak analytics, wireless connectivity and automatic climate control. Within its field of view, the DCAM has been shown to be able to see an oil leak as small as 0.36 cubic meters per hour from a distance of up to 60 meters. The DCAM software then automatically analyzes the event based on user defined leak parameters and, if a critical condition is determined, an alert notification with image and video is generated for instant verification.

IntelliView’s DCAM is shown to not only detect leaks based on temperature differences presented by the thermal camera, but also based on smart video analytics that takes into account liquid movement and leak size. This resulted in a very low false alert rate. The analytics work together with a series of algorithms to filter out unwanted events, such as moving vehicles, snow, heavy rain, glare and shadowing. Overall, the Smart camera solution is demonstrated to provide a very efficient way to monitor the safety of pipeline facilities on a 24/7 basis, helping organizations to enhance response time, reduce man power and save costs.

IntelliView engineers commented that they selected the FLIR A65 thermal camera for their system as it is a compact camera with a wide range of lenses offering the ability to discern absolute temperatures thereby providing critical information for use in the DCAM analytic algorithms.

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.

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