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Thermal imaging cameras for food applications

21 April 2023

Throughout production, transportation, and storage of perishable goods it is important to carefully control the temperature. Ideally this should be handled by tools which can automate crucial operations to help minimise human error. FLIR Thermal imaging cameras can fulfill this offering a solution that automates non-contact temperature measurements in many food processing applications.

Analogue video outputs can be viewed on video monitors, and digital temperature data, including MPEG4 video outputs, can be routed to a computer via Ethernet.

The main elements of the solution are a thermal imaging camera and associated software. They act as smart non-contact sensors to perform 100% inspections, measuring the temperature of equipment, refrigerated products, and cooked foods as they exit the cooking process.

They can be positioned almost anywhere as needed and can also be used to inspect package sealing and improve efficiency in other food processing operations. Third-party software makes it easy to incorporate these tools into automated machine vision systems without the need for extensive custom-written control code.

In addition to cooked food inspections, thermal imaging cameras can monitor conveyor ovens. They can even be part of a feedback loop to help control oven temperature. Another use of thermal imaging cameras for conveyor ovens is monitoring temperature uniformity across the width of the conveyor oven cooking belt. If a heating element inside an electric oven fails, or you get uneven heating across an air impingement oven, one side of the product stream may be cooler. This can be quickly identified with thermal imaging cameras.

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