Thermal imager demonstrates its software integration capabilities at SPI Lasers

A leading manufacturer of fibre lasers is using a thermal imaging camera from Micro-Epsilon in its quality control system on a variety of existing and new fibre laser products.

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

SPI Lasers' Head Office and Manufacturing Facility in Southampton has been using Micro-Epsilon's thermoIMAGER TIM400 thermal imaging camera on a routine basis in both product development and manufacturing - and is extremely pleased with the results.

Vincenzo Scarnera, Senior R&D Engineer at SPI Lasers UK comments: "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."

Scarnera continues: "As well as being a very affordable, compact thermal imaging camera with high resolution, we selected the thermoIMAGER TIM400 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 have also been impressed with the camera's reliability and we now view it as an invaluable NPI tool."

Scarnera says that the TIM400 is able to log the temperature profile of laser components and output this data to other software programs. "The camera fully supports the Microsoft.Net Framework for programming, including, and, which we often use here. 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," explains Scarnera.

As well as enabling easy integration with R&D and test lab software, the thermoIMAGER TIM 400 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 (alarms, temperature values, etc.). Open connectivity drivers are also provided for software integration via Dynamic-link Library (DLL), ComPort and LabVIEW.

The thermoIMAGER TIM 400 is 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 (80 images per second). The camera is also equipped with a detector that provides excellent thermal sensitivity of 80mK. This enables the camera to detect even smaller changes in temperature. One of the smallest USB cameras in its class, the TIM 400 weighs just 320g (including lens) 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 to +1,500°C. The camera is currently provided with 30-degree or 13-degree angle of view (aperture) lenses.

David Jones, Sales Engineer at Micro-Epsilon UK commented: "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 TIM 400 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."

January 2014

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