Thermal imaging camera improves quality control

Written by: Paul Fanning | Published:

SPI Lasers has been using Micro-Epsilon's thermoIMAGER TIM400 camera on a routine basis for both product development and manufacturing.

The company's product range includes a wide variety of fibre laser products, including lasers for welding, cutting, marking, engraving, and for micro machining.

Vincenzo Scarnera, senior reserach and development engineer at SPI Lasers UK says: "We found our previous thermal imaging cameras were very difficult to interface with our code. Data logging for R&D purposes and for test programmes was proving very challenging and time consuming, so we decided to look for an alternative solution. A colleague at SPI Lasers pointed me in the direction of Micro-Epsilon.

"As well as being a very affordable, compact thermal imaging camera with high resolution, we selected it because we were particularly impressed with its software integration capabilities. I can write my C#.Net code in an easier way and integrate the TIM400 camera with my new and old setups. The camera is so versatile that I can interface it to almost any R&D or NPI application where I need to log the temperature profiles of diverse laser components. I've also been impressed with the camera's reliability."

Scarnera says that the TIM400 is able to log the temperature profile of laser components and output the data to other software programs.

"The camera fully supports the Microsoft.Net framework for programming, including VB.net, C++.net and C#.net," explains Scarnera. "The delegate/event paradigm is fully implemented by the Dynamic-link Library provided and it is extensively documented by Micro-Epsilon, allowing me to write event-driven programs."

As well as enabling easy integration with R&D and test lab software, the TIM400 can also integrate with existing plant automation and control systems. The fully featured software TIMConnect provides quick and easy set up together with a range of software tools and a developer kit.
The TIM400 is supplied with an integral process interface for input and output of analogue and digital signals such as alarms or temperature values. Open connectivity drivers are also provided for software integration via Dynamic-link Library, ComPort and LabVIEW.

The thermoIMAGER TIM400 is also able to capture and store thermal video and images with extremely high optical resolution (382 x 288 pixels) at a full frame rate of 80Hz. The camera is also equipped with a detector that provides excellent thermal sensitivity of 80mK.

One of the smallest USB cameras in its class, the TIM400 weighs 320g with dimensions of 46mm x 56mm x 88mm. The camera comes pre-calibrated with temperature ranges from -20°C to 900°C, with an option to extend this up to 1,500°C.

David Jones, sales engineer at Micro-Epsilon UK says: "The TIM400 camera is very versatile and opens up a multitude of possibilities for thermal analysis and hotspot detection of components in R&D and test lab environments. Compared to conventional infrared cameras, the TIM400 offers more than four times the number of pixels, which means infrared images are significantly clearer and sharper. In addition, very small objects with surface areas down to just 0.8 square millimetres can be detected reliably. A frame rate of 80Hz also allows infrared images to be captured in real time."


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