Thermal Imaging is the process to create an image using Infrared Radiation. Most things emit some form of Infrared Radiation, including humans and animals. Infrared Radiation is directly affected by temperature, e.g. the higher the temperature the more Infrared Radiation is emitted, and the inverse is also true. Using a Microbolometer, a thermal camera can generate a Thermal Image by applying a colour palette to the different intensities of Infrared Radiation.
Process control is where there has been a system put in place to monitor and produce a desired result. It covers a wide variety of simple and complex applications, from maintaining room temperature to mixing the exact right colour of paint, and is used in almost every manufacturing, energy producing and building industry.
Industries can use thermal imaging to aid process control by enabling 24/7 monitoring of their systems to avoid overheating on critical components, thus lowering the potential of possible line, or full production, shutdowns, and emergency maintenance situations. Reducing the risk of these interruptions and providing extra data for maintenance teams, allows for better system reliability and performance, as well as reduced loss of downtime and revenue.
Specifically, monitoring the key processes or components using a thermal camera can often identify when a component starts to fail, or an undesired change occurs in the monitored process which will affect the result, i.e., mixture changes, forced shut down, output affected to not meet specified requirement.
Thermal Imaging provides the user with different methods of identifying and visualising temperature related problems and is ideal in electrical and mechanical applications.
Below are some examples of the faults a thermal camera can detect from a process control system: