AMETEK Land In-furnace Thermal Imaging Solution Wins Glass Focus Award for Innovation
AMETEK Land, in collaboration with Simpson Combustion and Energy and glass producer Encirc, won the Innovative Solution category at the annual Glass Focus Awards, held by industry body British Glass on June 15, 2017.
Photo Caption: Daniel Capon (Principal Technologist - Analytical, Glass Technology Services), Dave Fordham (Glass Worldwide), Mark Bennett (Glass Industry Lead, AMETEK Land), Robert Rose (Operations Director, Encirc Glass), Dr. Peter Drögmöller (Technical Director, AMETEK Land) and Neil Simpson (Consultant, Simpson Combustion and Energy).
The award-winning collaborative project involved real-time, in-furnace thermal imaging using AMETEK Land’s Near Infrared Borescope (NIR-B) to optimise furnace operations at Encirc’s Elton site in Cheshire, UK.
“We are delighted to win this award. It is a testament to the three organisations’ excellent collaborative working relationship. We were able to demonstrate the effectiveness of the NIR-B solution for Encirc, which is now set to optimise furnace operations and introduce further reductions in emissions for the plant,” notes Mark Bennett, Glass Industry Lead at AMETEK Land.
AMETEK Land’s NIR-B is designed to take continuously over 300,000 optical pyrometer temperature measurements and then generate an extremely high-definition image based on that information. With its thermal imaging capabilities, the NIR-B measures critical point temperatures in the crown and breast walls. Clear furnace images are displayed live on monitors at the Encirc plant, making them immediately visible to the engineering team and allowing operating adjustments to be made in real time.
Prior to the NIR-B, a thermal optical profile of a cross-fired container furnace would typically take at least four hours, due to the furnace’s 20-30 minute reversals, with significant risk of human error due to the position and timing of the temperature measurement.
AMETEK Land’s innovative NIR-B system offers the ability to measure optical profiles continuously and to specifically obtain all points at the end of the firing cycle. Then, if a quality issue is identified during the cold end inspection, even if the system is not recording continuously, there is an opportunity to check the temperature profile at the next reversal (and the following one) to analyse any differences and points of concern. That approach allows operators to address the problem and to make adjustments quickly and effectively.
As part of the project, flue gas measurements were taken using AMETEK Land’s Lancom portable gas analysers. Those measurements were analysed simultaneously with in-furnace thermal images generated by the NIR-B. Comparing that information with historical data, the project team determined that specific regenerators had restrictions on overheating. The result was the NIR-B helped to prevent the Encirc furnace from overheating; addressed regenerator flows; and optimised the fuel profile by identifying where the hot spot needed to be.
The NIR-B’s data was used to improve response times and to identify and then troubleshoot furnace operations, improving yield and achieving higher pull and lower specific energy. So far, a record pull rate exceeding 800 metric tons per day (MTPD) has been achieved. That should result in increased asset life. Additionally, the NIR-B helps provide technical support during customer visits and can potentially reduce emissions.
In presenting the award, judging panel chair Dave Fordham of Glass Worldwide noted, “The judges had been impressed at how this project had advanced the ability to better control furnaces in the future – and at its potential to reduce emissions, which is a priority for many industries”.
British Glass technical director Nick Kirk said, “AMETEK Land deserves to be congratulated on this project with Encirc and Simpson Combustion and Energy, for a great co-operative effort. British Glass is passionate about supporting innovation in glass. We do this by contributing funding and expertise to original research, as a partner in the Glass Futures centre of excellence and by bringing different parties together to discover more about each other’s activity – just as the Glass Focus Awards have done.”