Thermal Inspection System (TIS) for Furnaces


Industrial furnaces face some of the most demanding operational challenges; they must deliver heat in a controlled fashion throughout a sometimes very large volume, and for many products the temperature must be maintained to within a very few degrees of some ideal, or the product may be ruined; this applies to ceramics, heat-treated components of varying types, tempered steel, and so on.

Unfortunately, sensors to monitor temperatures are difficult-to-impossible to place in the exact area of treatment, and temperatures inside a furnace can in fact vary considerably. A method to actually be able to map temperatures throughout the furnace in real-time and use this as data for controlling the furnace’s operation.


With the support of the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority and in partnership with the Gas Technology Institute, IEM researched, developed, and demonstrated a means to accurately and reliably obtain temperature maps of the interior of a furnace, making use of the characteristic of temperature emissions at different wavelengths to eliminate the typical problems posed by emissivity variation in broad-spectrum imaging or single-wavelength approaches.

The Thermal Imaging System offers considerable promise to refine and improve the operation of industrial operations that use furnace-based processes for treatment and production of materials and finished objects, especially those which are dependent on accurate and reliable temperature control in a narrow range. Such control also should significantly improve the energy efficiency and reduce the waste emissions of such devices, by allowing any problems with the burners to be immediately detected and addressed.