Keeping the food on our table by keeping the production line moving

Bristol based Kliklok International supplies food packaging equipment to household names around the world. Their machines box, wrap or bag the food we see in our kitchen cupboards, fridges and freezers.

Thermal imaging isn’t new. Seeing how it fits in with your business, however, may not be obvious. In 2009 Kliklok used a thermal imaging camera for the first time to identify a worn component. Using a borrowed camera it became obvious where the fault was and it underlined how effective thermography could be. All moving parts create heat, but a worn component generates more. The component that had been troublesome to locate was found almost immediately by its heat signature saving time and money.We take packaging for granted, but there are serious consequences should the machinery used go wrong. Wear in moving parts is normal for any equipment and not least in bearings, rotational parts and chain rails of a food packaging line. The demand in the food industry means these machines are often working 24/7 and so the consequence of a component failure bringing the production line to a halt is a headache that any line manager would rather not have.

The ideal solution would be to predict likely component failure, so those parts could be replaced during routine maintenance before it fails and seriously impacts production. Additionally, complex equipment can hide worn machine parts and so a solution to pin point the component would be beneficial. The answer came in the form of thermal imaging.

Finding fault

It wasn’t long before Kliklok started evaluating thermal imaging cameras on the market as an indispensable tool for themselves. They needed something that could easily be transported by an engineer, show images clearly and with an ability to send these back electronically to headquarters if required.

Advances in the technology and production have also brought the price point down to a level that any company can easily afford – the cost savings made using it means it is also a piece of equipment these companies cannot afford to be without. 

After a full evaluation of other thermal imaging cameras available, Kliklok chose the testo 875-2. Roger Mason, Service & Installation Manager at Kliklok explains, “The testo 875-2 was able to demonstrate all the features that assist us in fault finding when servicing our customer’s equipment and all at a price that was well within budget.” 

It’s about having the right specification at the right price, something which the testo 875-2 offered over other suppliers. The camera has a good list of optional extras, but the standard equipment includes digital camera, USB connection and SD memory cards that permit the capture and transmission of images.  

Incorporating an integrated digital camera, the testo 875-2 can take a true optical digital image that can be compared to a captured thermal image, very useful if used remotely to identify the part or area where a fault may be located.

So now Kliklok have a tool that can identify and overcome a mechanical problem before a costly breakdown. The good news didn’t stop there, as scanning electrical installations clearly show unusually heavy loads, bad connections and arcing. Great news for the food industry and great news for the Kliklok service department, as they can offer (and honour) quality maintenance and service agreements. 

Saving reputation

Preventative maintenance on-site may be the key advantage to Kliklok in using thermal imagery, but to reinforce its effectiveness it is used routinely to build a thermal image or heat signature record for all new equipment being supplied. 

On average 20 images are taken, but on larger or more complex machines Kliklok can take up to 50 reference images of the various parts and components. This record can also be supplied as part of the documentation shipped to the customer, with Kliklok holding a master copy on file. This “fingerprinting” allows the flexibility of either the customer’s own or a Kliklok engineer identifying a possible problem. 

The heat signature reference library held by Kliklok or the customer can be used for a comparison. If the customer has similar thermal imaging equipment they could capture a thermal image and send this image electronically back to Kliklok for comparison, in effect providing a remote diagnosis. With customers throughout the world, remote diagnosis ensures parts can be supplied and be on hand locally when they are needed. 

The Testo 875-2 has proved to be an extremely cost effective piece of kit for Kliklok. An affordable solution that protects Kliklok’s reputation in providing a quality product and ensures their customers keep the production lines running. 

Telephone: 01420 544 433