It is well-known that refractory linings in steel mill ladles have limited lives, and useful life may be shortened even more due to breakage of refractory bricks from mechanical shock. As the lining wears or develops breaks, the outer part of a transport ladle can be exposed to molten metal. If not caught in time, the result can be ladle disintegration and a molten metal breakout, threatening the lives of workers and destroying equipment.
Viper's system includes thermal imaging cameras from FLIR, placed in robust housings, installed in fixed positions where they have a clear view of a filled ladle as it passes by on the gantry crane. Those cameras capture video images of the ladle in real time, and calculate temperatures of the ladle shell or ladle’s surface. A few cameras can cover the entire surface of the ladle, but typically a few regions of interest (ROIs) are predefined for closer scrutiny and analysis. The thermal images of ROIs where failures are more likely to occur can be stored in PC memory for later comparison to current images. Defining ROIs also allows ViperVision software to ignore high temperatures on objects around the ladle that are within the camera’s field of view (FOV), which in turn lowers the amount of unwanted alarms.
FLIR cameras are integrated with the ViperVision software which directly communicates with most industrial platform controllers. The software will analyze and compare the data against the ladle’s predefined parameters, and it will trigger an alarm if warranted. These parameters can be adjusted based on the specific application needs.