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Transforming perception with advanced thermal imaging

Thermal imaging assumes a vital role in overseeing the food production process, and FLIR’s specialists have developed an upgraded system for enhanced reliability. Food & Beverage Industry News reports. 

FLIR, a Teledyne Technologies company, specialises in the design and manufacture of thermal imaging cameras, sensors, and related technologies.

The FLIR A-Series are easy to control, compact, and are a fixed-mount continuous monitoring thermal imaging camera for condition monitoring. Image: FLIR Systems

Thermal imaging plays a crucial role in food manufacturing, offering numerous benefits that enhance quality control, process efficiency, and safety standards.

Their products are used for applications such as thermal imaging, night vision, temperature measurement, and threat detection.

Thermal imaging plays a crucial role in food manufacturing, offering numerous benefits that enhance quality control, process efficiency, and safety standards.

Thermal imaging cameras can detect temperature variations in food products, allowing manufacturers to identify hot spots or cold spots that may indicate improper cooking, refrigeration,
or storage. 

By monitoring temperature uniformity, companies can ensure that food items are cooked or chilled to the correct temperatures, reducing the risk of foodborne illnesses and ensuring product quality.

Through this application, thermal imaging can, and does, play an important role in strengthening food safety during the production and storage process. 

Specifically, the use of thermal imaging cameras in food processing is growing for applications such as:

  • Oven baked goods
  • Microwave cooked meats
  • Microwave drying of parboiled rice and other grains
  • Inspecting ovens for proper temperature
  • Proper filling of frozen meal package compartments
  • Checking integrity of cellophane seals over microwave meals
  • Inspecting box flap glue of overwrap cartons
  • Monitoring refrigerator and freezer compartments

“Thermal imaging can show an incomplete shape, non-uniform temperature profile, or varying gradients.,” said Sean Towner, sales manager at FLIR Systems. 

“Thermal data analytics assist in finding and correcting errors in the production equipment, thereby helping to prevent the output of
defective products.

“FLIR has various fixed-mount thermal cameras ranging from A50/70-Series to the A-Series, which are both suitable for food and
beverage industry.

“There are smart sensor cameras that can be easily integrated into HMI/SCADA systems and have built-in analytics and alarms and built-in web interface depending on your condition monitoring needs.

The FLIR A-Series also promises ease of integration and use. Image: FLIR Systems

“As well Image Streaming cameras are available that are Genicam and GigE compliant and support RTSP protocols.”

The FLIR A-Series are easy to control, compact and are a fixed-mount continuous monitoring thermal imaging camera for condition monitoring, process control/quality assurance, and fire prevention. 

Fire prevention is an important factor in the value of thermal imaging, helping mitigate the risk of fire and the losses that come with it. 

The FLIR A-Series can also tackle the most complex remote monitoring objectives and perform 24/7 reliably, some models even have built-in alarms to help you find the problem before you realise it.

Temperature differences of 1°C/1.8°F or more are often used to determine pass/fail criteria for everything from packaging and sealing to food production, die casting, and a variety of other applications. 

On top of this, infrared imaging can repeatedly and accurately illustrate thermal patterns and gradients used to identify these flaws in production processes, helping create a more reliable and food safe process.

The A-Series thermal imaging camera also offers up to ±2°C accuracy within temperature ranges of -40°C
to 2000°C.

“The latest innovation for thermal imaging is our dual field-of-views lens,” said Towner.  

“With a single form factor just 6mm longer than the standard single-lens setup, you now can have two lenses without adding weight while enjoying a smoother experience operating
the camera.

“This dual field-of-view lens, also called FlexView, is designed to improve operational efficiency, safety,
and accuracy.”

The A-Series also offers fully radiometric performance and imaging quality, resulting in the ability to measure and record the temperature of every pixel in the scene for improved decision support. 

“Precision and timing are very important in food and beverage industry, but human errors do occur sometimes, so thermal technology does play an important role to make sure these errors occur as rarely as possible,” said Towner.

“Thermal imaging technology is proving to be considerably useful in terms of strengthening controls on food safety standards in a cost-and time-effective way.

“Thermal imaging helps ensure quality especially fixed mount cameras which can report quickly and without any direct contact with the equipment minimising disruption to the production line.”

Thermal imaging cameras can also act as environmentally friendly tools to improve food safety while simultaneously working to limit the current rate of energy consumption and gas emission such as ammonia from refrigeration system. 

The host of benefits in the use of FLIR’s A-Series thermal imaging creates another barrier of protection for the food production process.

FLIR’s thermal imaging solutions also promise an ease of integration and use, empowering users to make quicker and more informed decisions.

A great example of the company’s continued innovation is its adoption of AI technology to enhance its thermal imaging solutions. 

This leap in sensor technology promises sharper, more detailed imagery, enabling users to discern finer nuances in their thermal scans with unparalleled clarity.

By harnessing the power of Artificial Intelligence, these systems can now automatically identify and classify objects within the thermal imagery, streamlining work flows and empowering users to make quicker, more informed decisions in various scenarios. 

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