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Corus of approval for IR camera

01 October 2007

Corus has specified a Flir Systems thermal-imaging camera to pinpoint problems and boost health and safety.

Thermal images illustrate the temperature of the rolled steel at the Corus plant
Thermal images illustrate the temperature of the rolled steel at the Corus plant

The London headquartered steel and aluminium product manufacturer’s Long Product Rolling Department, whose function is to improve the process of reheating, rolling and finishing long products such as rails, purchased the ThermaCAM SC640.

Temperature is a key factor during the rolling process and if the material is too cold equipment can be damaged. Furthermorem, the temperature at the end of the rolling process has a significant effect on the final properties of the steel.

In addition, when the steel is cooled temperature needs to be measured against time and various techniques are employed for this purpose, such as forced air or spray cooling.

‘We are using our new ThermaCAM SC640 to measure the temperature of the rolled steel at any point from furnace dropout when it is roughly 1300°C to the final cold product,’ explained development engineer, Chris Oswin. ‘In the steel industry there are a lot of potential dangers and the higher resolution of this camera allows us to take images further away and in complete safety. The image quality lets us pick-out the temperature of particular parts of the sections as they are cooled whereas with our previous camera we had to rely on an average temperature reading.’

The R&D team chose the ThermaCAM SC640 because its video mode and remote control meant they could conduct detailed work in compliance with health and safety requirements. Furthermore the team stressed the importance of the camera’s ability to hold a constant resolution across a wide temperature range saying that it allowed them to track the cooling of a steel product from 1300°C to ambient.

The product’s 307,200 pixels enable dynamic events in Long Products R&D to be seen in greater detail. The camera’s large field-of-view also allows the team to compare the cooling of multiple sections in close proximity to one another. ‘In the past we took an image of each section and compared the temperature of two or more images,’ Oswin continued. ‘Now we can get multiple sections on one image and make direct comparisons.’

Up to 8x digital zoom also enhanced the study of smaller targets. After zooming the operator can pan around the LCD display to examine all areas of the image, not just the centre. ‘This feature and the expanded field-of-view allows us to do far more than we could with our old camera but eventually we hope to invest in further lenses, telephoto and wide-angle,’ Chris added.

‘Thanks to the ThermaCAM SC640 we can now look closely at transient processes, something we were unable to do before.’ Oswin concluded. ‘By comparison with our old camera the new ThermaCAM is also smaller, lighter, easier to use and has a better battery-life so we can use it for longer periods of time and for tasks for which the old camera was just too unwieldy.’

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