New short-wave thermal imaging camera developed for welding, cutting and additive manufacturing
Precision sensor manufacturer Micro-Epsilon has extended its thermoIMAGER TIM series of short-wave thermal imaging cameras with a new version that is suitable for almost all near infrared (NIR) and CO2-based laser processing applications, including laser welding, cutting and metal additive manufacturing.
Operating on a narrow-band spectral wavelength of 780-820 nm, the thermoIMAGER TIM M-08 thermal imaging camera is specifically designed for non-contact temperature measurements on metal surfaces during laser processing. The camera uses a special filter that makes it ideal for use with NIR lasers such as neodymium-YAG lasers that operate outside of this range. This means the laser light does not pass through the filter, making the TIM-M08 particularly suitable for monitoring temperatures during laser welding and laser additive machining processes.
In addition to the well-known advantages of thermoIMAGER infrared cameras such as their compact size, robustness (protected to IP67), USB interface and TIMCONNECT licence-free software, the TIM M-08 is able to measure temperatures in a range from 575°C to 1,900°C without the need to swap or change settings. The lower starting temperature and special filter combined means that the TIM M-08 is perfect for capturing the heat dissipation through the metal as well as the weld temperature itself.
Glenn Wedgbrow, Business Development Manager at Micro-Epsilon UK comments: “The control of part temperature when laser welding within the additive manufacturing process is important for the strength and resilience of the build. The challenge for thermal imaging cameras has always been that the lasers operate in the same wavelengths as the camera needs for measuring the required temperature which can damage the camera detectors. The TIM M-08 avoids this problem by using a different spectral wavelength and does not require additional filters to operate.”
Short wavelength cameras for metal processing applications
Infrared thermal imaging cameras are normally grouped and differentiated according to their purpose or the material to be measured. For example, for the metal processing industry, Micro-Epsilon now offers three special short-wave thermal imagers: the TIM M-1, TIM M-05 and TIM M-08. These cameras cover many different metal temperature measurement tasks, from furnace melting through to secondary metal processing applications.
The thermoIMAGER TIM M-1 is a compact, robust (IP67) short wavelength infrared thermal imaging camera, which is specifically designed to measure the surface temperature of hot and glowing metal surfaces (as well as ceramics and graphite) in the range from 450°C to 1,800°C.
The thermoIMAGER TIM M-05 is a compact, robust (IP67) short wavelength infrared thermal imaging camera specifically designed to measure the temperature of molten metal or glowing metal surfaces in the range from 900°C to 2,450°C.
Licence-free analysis software
All thermoIMAGER cameras are set up using the TIMConnect software, which is available as a free download from the Micro-Epsilon website. TIMConnect includes a variety of process control and analysis features such as hot spot tracking, advanced peak hold for signal stability, as well as linescan modes for capturing up to 1,000 frames per second. Communication with the camera is made by USB connection. This licence-free software includes a full SDK and command library to allow custom software visualisations to be created.
A range of accessories are also available for the thermoIMAGER TIM range, including air purge collars, high temperature cables, protective windows and cooling housings, which enable the cameras to be operated in environments up to 315°C and can therefore be installed in a wide range of industrial metal processing environments.