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diode laser cladding

A FLIR Systems T650sc thermal imaging camera is being used by the Nuclear Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (Rotherham, UK) to support its research into diode laser cladding of large components.

Researchers at the Nuclear AMRC are investigating the use of a powerful diode laser to rapidly coat large areas of metal with a high quality layer of speciality alloy, in a fraction of the time of conventional cladding methods.

Dr Bernd Baufeld, power beam technology leader at the Nuclear AMRC, said: “Optimising the laser cladding process requires a clear understanding of the temperatures created as the laser melts the metal powder onto the component surface, and the cooling rates during the solidification of the clad layer. We looked at a number of potential thermal imaging systems, and it became clear that the FLIR Systems T650sc was ideal for our needs.”

Dr Baufeld added: “The high resolution and temperature sensitive discrimination of the FLIR T650sc has allowed us to observe and optimise the cladding process. It also highlights any critical situations which could be harmful to the equipment or material. Besides being able to create high-resolution images to document the cladding process in detail, the camera’s quick and easy image capturing and software features such as time lapse recording of long processes have proved essential for our development work. The ability to produce self-viewing files has also been important for sharing our results. Overall we have been very pleased with the camera and technical support from FLIR Systems.”

The FLIR T650sc thermal imaging camera delivers the highest sensitivity and most advanced feature set available on a portable IR camera. The T650sc camera is able to measure temperatures of up to 3,632° F and includes a 5 MPixel digital camera that provides visual images that can be overlaid with infrared data. Optimised for industrial and research and development (R&D) applications, the T650sc supplies a combination of infrared and visible spectrum images of superior quality and temperature measurement accuracy – plus contrast optimizer, laser pointer, voice annotation and a host of other advanced features.

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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