Ametek Land and SVA Industrie Fernseh (SVA) have developed an auto-retraction system to protect a thermal imager in the volatile atmosphere of a glass furnace.

The housing and pneumatic auto-retraction system is for use on Ametek’s NIR-B (Near Infrared Borescope) glass thermal imaging solution for glass furnace applications.

The development provides further protection for Land’s NIR-B Glass thermal imager against damage from overheating within a glass production environment, particularly in cases of air purge, water cooling or power failure.

“We approached SVA as we were aware of the company’s expertise in pneumatic technology for high temperature environments,” said Mark Bennett, Glass Industry Lead at Ametek Land.

“This latest innovation takes NIR-B Glass to the next level, offering major benefits to glass producers in terms of better asset protection and enhanced lifespan for the equipment.”

Axel Jürgens, Managing Director at SVA, based in Germany, said: “This latest innovation makes NIR-B Glass the most-advanced thermal imaging solution for the glass industry on the market.”

The pneumatic auto-retract system consists of a rapid-response retraction mechanism, which instantaneously retracts the instrument from the furnace wall in the event of failure.

The system will retract from a number of failures, such as air purge, water cooling, and mains power, and, if there is an over-temperature condition detected, at the borescope tip.

The system is fully pneumatic and has no exposed electrical components operating within the high-temperature environment of the glass melt-tank.

The system’s IP66- rated control box can be positioned up to 20 metres away and houses an uninterruptable power supply, which in the event of a power failure can automatically retract the NIR-B Glass.

An integrated air purge ensures that the thermal imager maintains a clean lens at all times. With a high-performance water cooling system built-in as standard, the overall system has a low air flow requirement, even in the highest temperature furnaces.

NIR-B Glass, launched in 2016, enables glass producers to receive continuous real-time temperature data, combined with a crystal clear thermal video image.

This means operators can clearly “see” cold spots from air leaks coming through structural refractory, so that cracks or collapses are easily detected.

This, combined with the ability to visualise flames, allows the plant to optimise the flame pattern and burn efficiency.