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FLIR thermal cameras optimise production in Indian aluminium industry

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article image For JNARDDC, the P660 camera is an ideal solution for cost-effective and efficient predictive maintenance
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The JNARDDC institute is helping the Indian aluminium industry save energy and optimise production processes using thermal cameras.

A very welcome technology in the aluminium production industry in India, thermal imaging cameras are being employed by the JNARDDC to also help aluminium producing companies across the country in early fault detection. 

Monitoring aluminium production 

Being an energy intensive process, aluminium production requires process engineers and designers to constantly look for ways to reduce energy consumption at each step of the production. Infrared thermography has played an important role in predictive maintenance of these processes. 

A production process analysis can be performed best when monitored online with the processes running. Online monitoring using thermal imaging will reveal even slight temperature variations across a surface to indicate failing components, such as degrading electrical contacts. 

Thermography can also successfully be used to inspect furnace ducts, bus isolator jumpers, casings, heating chambers or tanks. 

Early fault detection

Infrared thermography has proven to be an effective and beneficial tool to the industry, because it allows production managers to schedule their maintenance routines well before anything critical happens, saving valuable time and significantly reducing production downtime. 

By means of thermal cameras and other heat measuring devices such as heat flux meters, it is also possible to discover scaling in pipelines, or storage and processing units and take corrective action when needed. 

Indian centre of excellence 

The Jawaharlal Nehru Aluminium Research Development and Design Centre (JNARDDC), an established centre of excellence in the Indian aluminium industry offers a variety of R&D, testing and training services. 

To better support its aluminium production customers with high-quality services, JNARDDC decided to purchase FLIR thermal cameras in 2002. The institute was supported by FLIR’s local distributor PCI Limited situated in Mumbai, who recommended the FLIR P660 professional thermal imaging camera for predictive maintenance purposes.

Inspection frequency

Many Indian aluminium production companies usually carry out thermography inspections only when the need arises while others will perform inspections on a yearly or half-yearly basis. The advent of thermal imaging in predictive maintenance programs has resulted in willingness on the part of these companies to perform maintenance routines more frequently, because inspection with thermal cameras no longer requires shutting down production. 

The FLIR P660 thermal camera is now frequently used by the team of Mr Anupam Agnihotri, Head and Scientist at JNARDDC, and Mr S.K. Thokal (Electrical Engineer) and Mr N. Warhadpande (Electronics Engineer). 

According to Mr Agnihotri, customers were a little hesitant initially about the use of infrared cameras for thermography inspections fearing damage to their equipment. 

However, FLIR Systems and its Indian distributor PCI Limited were able to explain the many benefits and background of thermal imaging technology. After a short training program, JNARDDC customers were convinced and understood the importance of online condition monitoring with thermal imaging. 

High-performance P660 camera

The FLIR P660 camera is a high performing infrared inspection system featuring 640x480 detector resolution and a unique ergonomic design. An affordable, easy-to-operate and high-performance infrared camera that delivers accurate temperature measurements at productive and safe distances, the FLIR P660 is an ideal solution for cost-effective and efficient predictive maintenance programs.

The P660 includes an integrated 3.2 megapixel camera for reporting. Infrared and visual images taken with the P660 can be stored in standard JPEG formats. The P660 visual camera comes with matching Field Of View lenses, so IR and visual images are shown at similar long distances using the same Field of View.

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