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Enhancing the thermal efficiency of manufacturing

In this project, EMPRESS 2, NPL's temperature team are seeking to address four contemporary thermometry challenges in heat treatment within high value manufacturing, with EU partners.

The need

High value manufacturing depends on accurate, traceable temperature measurement. This project seeks to address four contemporary thermometry challenges in high value manufacturing.

Below 1000 °C many industrial processes, such as welding, coating, forging and forming, require reliable surface thermometry. Conventional methods are prone to large errors, generally tens of degrees.

Above 1300 °C sensor drift is a significant unaddressed issue for casting, forging and heat treatment, causing errors of tens and sometimes hundreds of degrees. Improved and standardised sensors are needed.

Measurement of combustion temperature is extremely challenging. Non-contact thermometry is fraught with difficulties such as the three-dimensional nature of the flame and its strong spatial temperature variation. For this reason many users have resorted to complex and exotic laser-based systems for which traceability is almost non-existent. NPL’s verified ‘standard flame’ can be transported to users’ sites, but must first be trialled in industry.

Many processes are not amenable to any conventional thermometry techniques due to inaccessibility, ionising radiation, electromagnetic interference and contamination. New methods, such as those based on optical fibres, are ideal but further development is needed before these can be used to measure traceable temperatures.

This work is part of the EMPIR project EMPRESS2.

The impact

The project is introducing traceability to ITS-90 directly into industrial processes, and developing novel calibration techniques and sensors with immunity to perturbing influences. This will substantially reduce the uncertainty of temperature measurement in many areas of industry, compared with the current state of the art. This in turn will enhance the efficiency of the processes.

Read more about harsh environment thermometry

Read more about contact thermometry