FLIR thermal imaging
cameras are being used as part of a solution with an intelligent software in a
smart waste monitoring application in the Czech Republic.
Waste management is
a thriving industry in many developed countries throughout the world, primarily
for the extraction of energy. However, the complete waste management cycle from
the storage of waste, through sorting and recycling, up to the effective
conversion to electricity carries a high risk of fire, with hazardous
consequences for both personnel and the environment.
development and trading company, Workswell has developed a complete thermal
imaging solution called Waste Bunker Monitor using FLIR Systems’ thermal
imaging cameras for the continuous inspection of solid waste.
Three quarters of
the municipal waste in the Czech Republic are stored in landfills with approximately
400,000 tons of that waste thermally processed in municipal waste incinerators,
amounting to a total heat supply of about 2.3 million Gigajoules and a gross
electricity production of about 18,000 Megawatt Hours.
The ZEVO plant at
Malešice has been operational since 1998 and takes care of the transformation
of waste into thermal and electric energy. The acquired energy is used in
heating for domestic water and residential buildings.
A genuine threat in
waste plants, fires are commonly caused by spontaneous chemical combustion of waste;
heat from vehicles that collect the municipal waste; and fire or devastating
explosions due to the increased concentration of methane released from the
waste during the decay process.
The ZEVO Malešice
plant decided to invest in the Waste Bunker Monitor system from Workswell to
reduce the risk of fires.
The waste at the
ZEVO Malešice plant is imported into a storage tank for the homogenisation process
and to ensure sufficient reserve of waste so that the plant can be operated
continuously. Workswell chose two FLIR A615 thermal imaging cameras with a
resolution of 640x480 pixels and an 80° lens. These cameras monitor the storage
tank for hot spots that indicate the possibility of a fire.
The Waste Bunker
Monitor system from Workswell combines the non-contact measurement technology
from FLIR Systems with proprietary software, presenting plant operators with
the critical areas that have an increased risk of fire.
According to Jan
Kovář, Managing Director at Workswell, the whole system is scalable and can
consist of several thermal imaging cameras with high spatial resolution, and
thermal sensitivity greater than 0.05°C. The company has found the FLIR A315 or
FLIR A615 cameras as the best fit for their system.
The monitored area
is divided into zones in which the temperatures are evaluated several times per
second. Consequently, the automatic system reports any area with an increased
surface temperature to the crane operators.
At the head of the
thermal imaging system is a control and visualisation software that displays
the images and temperatures coming from the FLIR thermal cameras. The software
also provides the operator visual and audio alerts whenever the temperature
exceeds a certain value. An area map divided into sectors provided next to the
thermal image makes it easier for operators to pinpoint the exact location of a
Jan Kovář says they
have not yet witnessed any fires at the ZEVO Malešice plant, and is confident that
the system and the thermal imaging cameras from FLIR will do a good job of fire
prevention. He adds that the affordability of FLIR’s thermal cameras contributes
to the overall cost-effectiveness of the Waste Bunker Monitor system.