Thermal imaging improves QA in ultrasonic welding

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Thermal imaging specialist Thermascan has developed a novel system for inspecting ultrasonic welds for a company that was losing nearly £1m in wasted product due to faulty welding.

The welding process joins a top lip to a plastic container, which is then filled. The lid is subsequently applied and a vacuum lift takes the finished product off the production line. Weld failure results in the bottom of the container separating from the top, spilling the contents and resulting in waste and costly production downtime.

A Flir A320G thermal imaging camera is mounted to monitor the thermal performance of each of the probes and therefore the integrity of the weld.

'The I/O ports on the Flir camera allow it to perform not just a monitoring but also a control function,' explained Thermascan's Dave Blain. 'It works in conjunction with a pneumatic arm that is activated when the weld temperature is not adequate. It simply pushes the reject off the line so there is no danger of it being filled and causing damage.'

The Flir A320G thermal camera is GigE Vision and GenICam compatible, a feature that cuts down integration time significantly. This model can also be fully controlled from a PC and comes with a choice of software to suit the application.

Flir's own software allows the camera to produce high-speed, real-time radiometric images but another benefit of the Flir A-Series camera for Thermascan is that it is also compatible with LabView. 'This allows us to integrate a solution such as this into the customer's management and maintenance system,' Blain explained.

The flexibility of the Flir A-Series means its operation can be tailored to suit the precise need of the application. For example its output can trigger alarms or activate other control devices such as oven thermostats or cooling sprinkler systems. The technology can also be used to monitor can or container fill levels.