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Electronics company protects workforce with infrared cameras

Supplier: FLIR Systems Australia
20 June, 2011

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has established six pandemic alert phases that grade the development of swine flu.

When France upgrades to the WHO alert level 6, CEAT Electronique will be ready with a defined action plan.

And central to that plan is FLIR infrared. However, the FLIR camera will not be idle before or indeed after any outbreak. Thanks to its versatility it will also be used in the company’s engineering laboratories.

Proven technology
CEAT Electronique is one of a growing body of commercial organisations that are investing in FLIR infrared as a proactive measure to safeguard its workforce. The technology has proven its value in monitoring public health at airports, train stations, subways and even hotel lobbies. Indeed it has already made a significant contribution to the containment of SARS and avian flu.

For Samsung, CEAT Electronique is an important part of its operation. The French company is a major repair centre for Samsung mobile phones and notebooks undertaking tasks that range from sub-assembly exchange to renewing CMS components on a PCB.

Protecting the knowledge base
"One of our key strengths is our ability to repair a wide diversity of models in both small and large quantities," explains Technical Director, Stéphane Zenadja. "Our staff members have huge expertise and knowledge."

In the event of a major outbreak of swine flu, that knowledge base could clearly be temporarily comprised so CEAT Electronique has taken the decision to adopt a preemptive approach. It has just taken delivery of one of FLIR’s infrared camera models that are equipped with dedicated features for identifying individuals with elevated body temperatures.

The company has chosen a FLIR T360. This is one of the FLIR’s mid-range models whose portability means it can be used for other tasks beyond human temperature monitoring.

Dedicated features
The FLIR T360 comes complete with automatic temperature compensation. This feature automatically normalises variations in ambient temperature, allowing the camera to compare the temperature of an individual with that of others in close proximity. In effect it provides an average group body temperature allowing anyone with elevated values to be picked out from the crowd.

The camera also has a colour alarm. This allows the operator to set a predetermined threshold temperature so that all areas that are hotter than the preset value can be easily identified on the infrared image. The sound alarm obviously provides audible verification of the abnormal temperature discovery.

Ideal for mass screening
"When France goes to alert level 6 we will apply the following plan," Stéphane Zenadja continues. "First, we will check the body temperature of everyone coming in to our building with the FLIR camera and refuse entry to those who do not pass through that control. We will all wear masks and change them every four hours and apply an alcohol wash to our hands every two hours."

FLIR cameras can measure temperature differences as small as 0.08 °C and produce images in real time. As the evaluation process takes less than a second, they are ideal for the rapid screening of large numbers of people. As a result CEAT Electronique will be able to single out anyone showing signs of infection to protect the remainder of its 500-strong staff.

Dual use – added value
Stéphane Zenadja cites the camera’s ease of use and integrated display as being important factors in its use beyond its primary health monitoring role. The camera will also be employed by the company’s engineering department for the infrared inspection of mobile phone components to detect current leakage. Additionally CEAT Electronique has plans to use the FLIR T360 to set-up a new test procedure to improve accuracy in diagnosing mobile phone faults. For this purpose it has also bought a 100 micron close up lens to enable its technicians to focus on the smallest components on a mobile phone’s PCB.

"The FLIR T360 will certainly help us enhance our technical reports to Samsung by allowing us to add thermal views of some defective components," Stéphane Zenadja concludes. "So in addition to safeguarding the health of our workers, it will also enable us to add value to our technical competence."