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How to Monitor the Outside Condition of a Glass Furnace?

The condition of glass furnace refractories is vitally important to safety and process efficiency, especially towards the end of the life of the tank. Deterioration of the refractories can increase fuel costs and may cause glass break-outs or refractory failure. 

Monitoring the exterior of the melt tank with a thermal imager can indicate any hot areas which may indicate refractory damage. It also gives an early warning of potential glass break-outs. 

Monitoring is especially critical at the tank bottom, where glass break-outs can cause maximum damage.

Early detection is essential when a glass break-out occurs since if the leak is not detected and stopped (using water and compressed air) in the first 20 minutes, it is unlikely it can be stopped. In addition to the risks to personnel, this also has considerable cost implications since the batch is lost, the energy used for the melt is wasted, the tank will require repair or replacement, and clean-up of the plant will be necessary. Possibly of most significance, production will have to cease until the situation has been resolved. 

The ideal safety monitoring solution, therefore, is one that can continuously monitor the tank bottom from underneath, quickly detecting glass leaks before it is too late

Our solution for this application is the LWIR-640 monitoring system, which combines cutting-edge, high-resolution radiometric camera technology with sophisticated data processing and powerful software support. This delivers detailed thermal images with unrivalled precision. 

The thermal imaging provided by the LWIR-640 camera allows a continuous view of the entire target at any distance. Thermal data generated by the camera is presented in real-time, making it faster and easier to detect anomalous hot spots, alerting plant staff to take immediate action. 

Glass Furnace Monitoring

Bottom of glass furnace temperature monitoring using LWIR-640 thermal imager.

Glass Furnace Monitoring

Electrodes temperature monitoring with alarms. 

In addition to providing a fast-response safety monitoring system, the LWIR-640 solution also supplies the thermal data necessary to detect damage or wear to the refractory lining at an early stage. This allows corrective maintenance to be scheduled at the least disruptive times. By increasing the reliability of safety monitoring, the LWIR-640 system can also reduce insurance premiums for an added return on investment.

Continuous thermal imaging can also be used for accurate interior monitoring using our NIR-B-2K borescope thermal imaging system, establishing temperature trends throughout the furnace. It also detects cooler spots which may indicate refractory damage. 

LWIR-640 and NIR-B-2K thermal imagery can be combined within our advanced thermal imaging software, IMAGEPro, to show a view into the furnace for thermal distribution and batch coverage functions and also to monitor the outside of the furnace for hot spots.

Glass Furnace Monitoring

Multiple displays showing both LWIR-640 and NIR-B-2K thermal images. 

Detection of damage to the tank allows early maintenance and extends the tank’s lifespan. Around 70% of container glass production costs come from energy, so preventing cracks and lost heat produces significant savings. Early detection of glass break-outs enhances plant safety.

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