Plastics QA inspection company integrates thermal imaging for defect detection

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German company Kunststoff-Zentrum SKZ KTT, which provides QA systems for the plastics industry, has integrated a thermal camera into one of its injection-moulding machines to enable users to control and automatically remove any defective parts.

Micro-Epsilon’s ThermoImager TIM thermal imaging camera is installed in the injection moulding machine in order to detect defective parts. The camera uses the thermal radiation from the workpiece to detect not only visual faults, but also hidden defects within the material itself.

In addition to Micro-Epsilon’s operating software, SKZ also developed control software designed specifically for plastics processing, which visualises the workpiece and compares this to an infrared reference image. The system also ensures rapid, secure machine changeovers, as any newly produced parts are evaluated immediately after changing the mould tools. This continuous quality control is particularly useful to automotive suppliers, where the value of injection-moulded parts increases by several hundred per cent as the parts are processed.

Powered and operated via a USB 2.0 interface, the ThermoImager TIM 160 is an inline radiometric thermal imaging camera that provides temperature images and profiles of a target area.

Micro-Epsilon’s latest addition to the range is the ThermoImager TIM 400 and 450 inline infrared thermal imagers. These cameras capture and store thermal video and images with extremely high optical resolution (382 x 288 pixels) at a full frame rate of 80Hz. The cameras are equipped with new detectors, which provide excellent thermal sensitivities of 80mK and 40mK respectively.