Technology insights

Industrial heat monitoring made simple

Thermal monitoring systems are an effective way to identify issues in industrial environments before they develop into problems. Continuous heat monitoring can enable insightful process optimization, timely preventative maintenance, and rapid identification of hazardous issues. This helps to increase the quality of operations and processes by avoiding systems interruptions and potential destruction. The IND-Thermal-90 sensor from Terabee offers a cost-effective alternative to conventional IR cameras, using thermopile array technology to provide spatially-resolved thermal monitoring at a fraction of the price.
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In terms of wavelength, infrared (IR) light lies just beyond human perception. The human eye can detect light with wavelengths up to about 750 nm, while infrared light has wavelengths in the region of 760 nm to 1 mm. Though invisible to the human eye, this part of the electromagnetic spectrum contains incredibly useful information: all objects emit infrared light. The intensity of this infrared glow in the infrared sub-region between 7 and 14 micrometers (the wavelength detected by the IND-Thermal-90) is determined by the object’s temperature. If we could see infrared light, we’d know the temperature of objects just by looking at them.

This is the principle on which infrared cameras are built. Infrared cameras, or thermal cameras, are devices capable of ‘seeing’ in infrared, thus giving them insight into the temperature of anything within their field of view. 

In industrial environments, seeing the infrared spectrum brings major advantages. Thermal imaging cameras make it possible to immediately identify a range of process-critical or safety-critical issues from their telltale thermal emissions. For example, such devices can spot if processes are running too hot (or too cold), if a conduit is leaking, or if the equipment or a sub-system is overheating. Additionally, they enable improved process optimization and equipment maintenance and can react to fire hazards by raising warnings or alarms.

Terabee IND-Thermal-90 Camera

The Terabee IND-Thermal-90 is an ultra-versatile and small-footprint thermal imaging camera developed to provide the numerous benefits of industrial thermal vision at a low cost.

The Terabee IND-Thermal-90 is one of the lightest and most compact multi-pixel industrial thermal cameras on the market. Offering a 32 × 32 pixel frame resolution over a 90° field-of-view (FoV) in both horizontal and vertical directions, the IND-Thermal-90 uses a thermopile array to detect temperatures across a wide range, with no need for calibration beyond the factory. IP65 protection level makes it ideally suited to dirty industrial environments, while Modbus transmission protocol via RS485 ensures compatibility and easy integration in automated factories.

By default, the IND-Thermal-90 is equipped with three alarming applications which can be selectively enabled or disabled by the user. Alarm events are associated with the switch of a dedicated digital output. Such applications allow respectively to monitor:

  1. The average and minimum /maximum temperatures over the full frame, localize hot/cold spots and optionally raise alarm in case measured min/max temperatures exceed the (user-selectable) thresholds.
  2. The average temperature of an arbitrary central area of the FoV and compare it to the (user-selectable) thresholds in order to raise alarms.
  3. The average temperature of user-defined regions of interest (ROI), list and count hot/cold spots (i.e. the ROIs exceeding the user-selectable thresholds) and raise alarms.
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The sensor raw data (temperature of the pixels) is always available in the background and can be retrieved over the RS485 network supported by Modbus communication protocol.

The IND-Thermal-90 smart temperature sensor is ideally suited for applications such as machine and equipment monitoring, production process and area monitoring, and early fire detection.

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Machine and Equipment Monitoring

The Terabee IND-Thermal-90 offers cost-effective continuous monitoring to eliminate the need for manual spot checks. Its small and lightweight form factor means it can be deployed anywhere and used to monitor e.g. pumps, motors, and clutches for wear, overload, or overheating. Customized warnings and alarms can be used to immediately alert personnel when safe operational limits are reached, and enable timely preventative maintenance before costly failures arise.

Inline Process Monitoring

Thermal dynamics play an important role in many production processes, and deploying inline thermal monitoring can produce insightful data to better understand and optimize these processes. The IND-Thermal-90 sensor can provide product statistics (including min/max, average, and outliers) which allow optimal decisions to be made regarding production, improving throughput, and reducing system pitfalls or failures.

Area Monitoring

Heat monitoring is particularly valuable in hazardous environments that pose an explosion risk. In these environments, the IND-Thermal-90 can be used to monitor bunkers, storage, or open areas to detect overheating and hotspots before they reach a hazardous level, and sound early fire alarms before fires occur. Alarms via automated feedback can be automatically triggered in response to heat monitoring to help prevent fires or explosions from occurring. 

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Optimized for Embedded Applications

The small enclosure of the IND-Thermal-90 embeds onboard intelligence, provides on-the-EDGE data treatment and local feedback loops to minimize the need for external computation. Direct feedback from the sensor can be used to raise alarms and trigger events or emergency stops. In case of alarm, a digital output can be used as a direct input to PLCs or relays.

Easy connectivity and networkability – facilitated by a GUI and Modbus RS485 interface – make the IND-Thermal-90 ideally suited to automated monitoring and optimization for the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT).1 

Want to know more?

Terabee is a world leader in sensing, electronics, and automation. The Terabee applications team has worked with some of the world’s biggest brands and technology companies to develop bespoke sensor integrations. Get in touch with Terabee today to find out more about how the Terabee IND-Thermal-90 camera can make your processes safer and more efficient.

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