FLIR Systems ThermoVision™ A40 is preferred camera for fire prevention and fire detection in solid waste bunkers
Solid waste management is a crucial sector in our
consumer society. It is a USD 43- billion-industry and growing as more
regions experience positive economic growth and prosperity and
consequently produce more household waste. At the same time, legitimate
environmental concerns push for an increasingly streamlined waste
disposal, treatment, neutralization and recycling process. The waste has
to be gathered, stored and processed. As supply (in this case places
for storage or processing of waste) is scarce and demand is increasing,
economic laws of market and efficiency increasingly apply to waste
In densely populated West-European countries, solid household waste is collected and carried to a waste incineration plant, rather than dumped directly in landfill sites. The most advanced incineration plants use the combustion heat to fuel up an adjacent waste-to-energy system, which provides heating and power to nearby residential areas.
Preventing fires with infrared
The need for fire prevention becomes even more acute for installations with a waste shredder: sparks from shredding metal and other solid parts compound with methane gases, resulting in an explosive cocktail scattering around the entire waste bunker.
Consequently, fire prevention and fire detection are
important issues for waste storage and management. While most national
or regional legislators stipulate that fire prevention ought to be taken
by the public or private plant operator, they generally do not clearly
Infrared cameras are excellent tools for both fire prevention and fire detection, provided they offer some basic features that serve the purpose.
Fire prevention systems are installed by specialized system integrators. One such
m.u.t. offers a complete solution including
planning, installation, software, hardware, and maintenance. It has
installed more than forty infrared camera-based early fire detection
systems in waste bunkers across Europe. “Preliminary planning is the
hardest part of the job”, says Werner Hagedorn, Account Manager for the
early fire detection products, “we have to define the best place to
install the camera, divide the entire waste bunker in zones and ensure
that for example the minimum surface of 30x30 cm to detect hot spots
that is advised by some regional legislators, is covered by the camera.”
ThermoVision™ A40 monitors waste bunkers constantly
m.u.t has chosen the FLIR Systems ThermoVision A40-M fix-mounted camera for all its waste bunker installations. The A40 offers a spectral range of 7.5 to 13 μm, which allows to look through smoke and dust. Its 320x240 pixel uncooled microbolometer detector provides excellent thermal sensitivity and clear infrared imaging. Visual Basic/ C++ and LabView™ software development kits enable customers a smooth application integration. m.u.t has successfully made use of these facilities to integrate the A40 camera into ARTUS, its waste bunker early fire detection software suite.
One ThermoVision A40 camera, mounted on a pan stilt
and placed in an appropriate protective housing, is able to inspect a
surface of up to 2,000 sq m. The camera registers the surface
temperature of the waste, comparing it to the maximum temperature
defined by the waste bunker operator.
The m.u.t. engineers divide the bunker surface in
zones which depend on the size of the waste bunker. The camera checks
every zone subsequently and its FireWire output provides temperature
information and infrared imaging to the crane operator’s monitor screen
in real-time. The operator is also able to steer the camera from his
working place. Three alarm levels marked by visual as well as sound
alarms warn the crane operator of substantial temperature differences on
the waste surface in a particular zone. The waste is then mixed and
turned, transferred to another zone, or carried directly to the oven for
Although every infrared camera detector pixel measures a temperature value, the m.u.t engineers have chosen a temperature measurement, based on a 3x3 pixel grid. They considered 2x2 pixels as inadequate and uncertain. “3x3 pixel secures additional measurement accuracy and consequently a clearer image contrast, while excluding false alarms”, says Volker Meliss, Marketing Director at m.u.t.
“The ThermoVision A40 does all the mea-surements”,
says Hagedorn, “and its thermal sensitivity and measurement accuracy are
excellent. But above all there is no need for a camera with a cooled
detector for such applications as waste bunker inspections: the A40-M
has an uncooled detector and needs virtually no specific maintenance.
And that makes infrared monitoring of waste processing as well as in
many other industrial applications affordable”.
Acknowledgements to Joachim Sarfels, Area Sales Manager at FLIR Germany, for establishing contacts and providing support
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