After time, temperature is the most measured physical unit. In production, as well as in quality control and maintenance, temperature represents an important indicator of product quality or equipment conditions.
Users struggling with large maintenance bills for thermocouples, or the plant downtime required to replace regular contact-type temperature probes, can benefit by switching to non-contact infrared temperature measurement devices.
In fact, there are many advantages when using infrared thermometers:
• Fast response time (ms range), user gets more information per time period.
• Measure objects that move, rotate or vibrate.
• Measure high temperatures up to 3000ºC. Contact probes will not work or have a short lifetime.
• No mechanical damage or contamination of the surface (food, pharmaceuticals, painted surfaces, soft plastics etc.).
• No influence of objects with high thermal conductivity where object temperature would change if contacted (e.g. glass, wood, small or very thin objects).
However, to ensure accurate repeatable measurement users must consider the following:
• There has to be direct line of sight between the sensor and the object.
• The optics of an infrared thermometer need to be protected against dust or condensation.
• IR thermometers measure surface temperatures and the ability to emit thermal radiation depends on the kind of material and especially on the surface finish.
Recently the IR sensor market has seen two major trends emerge:
Firstly, IR thermometers are significantly lower in cost. The most expensive parts of an infrared thermometer are the lenses and detectors. New lens materials, technologies and mass production of IR detectors for consumer products have resulted in lower prices for these two important components. Together, with the increased demand for industrial IR-thermometers, high volume production of standard sensors has resulted in greater manufacturing efficiency for the IR thermometer manufacturers.
Secondly, IR sensors are becoming smaller in size. In the past, the measurement of low temperatures made it necessary to use fast lenses with relatively large diameters in order to capture enough emitted energy. Progress in detector technology and the use of better detector performance, together with improved low noise analog preamplifier techniques have helped reduce the dimensions of the IR sensing head dramatically. As a result, lenses can have smaller diameters.
Due to the increasing expectations of users, and competition among manufacturers, infrared thermometers are continually being improved and electronic design is an area that has seen the most advances recently.
R&C Instrumentation covers the full range of IR temperature measuring devices.
The Raytek range of portable units cover temperatures from -50 to 3000°C. Fixed units from Raytek and Ircon are well known and the scanners from both companies can be supplied as complete applications packages with software to suit many industrial applications.
Continual innovation and new products like the Endurance series, designed in conjunction between Raytek and Ircon, ensure that solutions are available for all situations. There are many reasons to consider IR temperature measurement to maintain and control process plants and R&C’s application engineers are ready to assist.
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