Inspection System helps steel mills manage torpedo car fleet.

Press Release Summary:

Automated Ircon Torpedo Car Inspection System enables continuous thermal inspections to minimize occurrence of hot breakouts in refractory-lined rail cars. Utilizing Ircon thermal imaging camera technology, it provides images of torpedo cars on computer running Microsoft® Windows® XP. Torpedo Car Inspection Software can identify different shaped torpedo cars. Software also provides thermal fingerprinting that helps identifying cars based on raised lettering on their surface.

Original Press Release:

Ircon Introduces Automated Torpedo Car Inspection System

Steel mills can now improve safety and reduce maintenance in their torpedo car fleet.

SANTA CRUZ, Calif., November 21, 2008 - Ircon®, the worldwide leader in infrared (IR) noncontact temperature measurement, has introduced the Ircon Torpedo Car Inspection System. Designed to help steel mills manage their torpedo car fleet, this fully automated system enables continuous thermal inspections that minimize the occurrence of hot breakouts in refractory-lined rail cars.

Repair and maintenance for breakout problems in deteriorated refractory bricks, which cause lost production, increased downtime and even catastrophic injury, can run into the millions of dollars per year.

Using advanced Ircon thermal imaging camera technology, the Ircon Torpedo Car Inspection System provides thermal images of torpedo cars on a computer running Microsoft® Windows® XP. With the ability to take inputs from either a single camera or dual cameras, the user can acquire temperature readings from the sides, top and bottom of the car. Alarms, trend data and thermal images are easily captured-all in one screen.

The Ircon Torpedo Car Inspection System is ideal for preventative maintenance and an effective alternative to manual thermal imaging of individual cars or repair schedules based on tonnage or number of loads. Data captured by the Ircon thermal imaging camera not only shows high shell temperature, but also indicates the hot spot location to look for failed refractory brick, once the car is being serviced. The system includes powerful analytical algorithms for providing refractory trend analysis, alarms for pending failures, and projections of when torpedo cars need to be relined.

The Torpedo Car Inspection Software with automatic setup, is easy to operate; very little user input is required to configure and launch the program. The Ircon automatic image re-sizing feature means that the software can identify different shaped torpedo cars. No unique recipes are necessary to correct for different styles of cars within a steel mill.

The software also provides a unique thermal fingerprinting feature, which identifies cars based on raised lettering on their surface. RF tag readers are no longer needed, as each car is identified by the thermal imaging camera. Temperature swings caused by rain, wind and snow can be factored out, providing the user with the correct shell temperature of the car. This ensures a much more accurate thermal history over time.

Utilizing Ircon Maxline® 2 image capture routines, the Torpedo car system captures a composite of several images as the car moves by, to provide greater coverage of the rail car shell, while at the same time allowing the Maxline 2 camera to be mounted closer to the car. Image data secured by the software can be viewed instantaneously, played back at a later time, or sent directly to an SQL database. Up to 50 separate temperature measurements can be acquired from each captured thermal image.

Beyond the SQL database, temperature information can be displayed at remote workstations using the Torpedo Car client software for further analysis. Alarm reporting triggers, up to two process relay outputs, and two sensor alarm outputs notify users that a failure has occurred.

Unlike line-scanning systems, which rely on a tachometer to compensate for car speed, the Ircon Torpedo Car Inspection Software uses automatic image resizing to capture temperature data. This eliminates loading individual car recipes and using the tachometer for speed compensation purposes.

About Raytek and Ircon

Headquartered in Santa Cruz, California, Ircon has joined with Raytek to offer a complete IR solution, including the industry's most complete line of infrared sensors, linescanners and process imaging systems. Raytek, a Fluke company, is the worldwide leader in noncontact temperature measurement. Raytek designs, manufactures and markets a complete line of infrared (IR) temperature measurement instruments for industrial, maintenance and quality control applications. Raytek distributes its products worldwide with subsidiaries located in Europe and China. For more information, visit or

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