High-speed Thermography in Additive Manufacturing

In additive manufacturing, temperature is one of the factors on which the quality of the final product depends. Thermal imaging cameras record temperature developments and deviations in real time and enable rapid intervention in the ongoing process.

Monitored Process Control and Quality Assurance

Additive manufacturing – also known as 3D printing – refers to manufacturing processes in which material is applied layer by layer to create three-dimensional objects. Thereby chemical and physical hardening and melting processes take place, in which temperature plays a decisive role. Infrared cameras support the systematic monitoring of the entire manufacturing and machining process.

Numerous of these manufacturing processes are based on laser technologies such as laser melting, sintering or build-up welding. Other processes, such as binder jetting, are completed by a sintering pass to fully cure the material. Temperature also plays a decisive role in thermal spraying for achieving the best possible surface hardness and optimum non-stick properties. In order to localise and detail thermal conspicuities in these processes, InfraTec infrared cameras support the determination and subsequent adherence to thermal process parameters by in-line monitoring. Infrared cameras can be integrated directly into the process control system to enable a non-contact and non-invasive temperature measurement.

Here, the detection of the temperature distribution of the powder bed surface and the measurement of melting temperatures are relevant in most cases. Both can be realised for temperature ranges higher than 2,000 °C and while the laser is working (insitu measurement).

Close monitoring of machines, processing plants, materials and temperatures during the production and processing of additive parts is of fundamental importance both in industry and in research. The mapping of heat flows in components is necessary for a complete understanding of the process and allows precise control of the temperature development in the parts and materials to be processed as well as exact thermal control of the process. An early detection of errors in production is therefore possible, rejects are actively avoided, and returns are minimised.

Furthermore, process and cycle times can be significantly optimised and correlations between process parameters and (melting) temperatures can be derived.

  • training about active thermography

    Training: Active Ther­mo­graphy in NDT – Advant­ages, Chal­lenges, Oppor­tun­ities (chargeable)

    InfraTec offers a special seminar "Active Thermography in NDT" for thermography users with a corresponding professional orientation. It facilitates an efficient introduction to this NDT method. Participation fee for the training: 380 EUR*.

Requirements for Infrared Cameras in Laser Based Additive Manufacturing

Due to the characteristics of lasers in additive manufacturing, the infrared cameras used must meet specific requirements. This applies, for example, with regard to the temporal resolution.

Working with a laser is typically characterised by short laser action times, where heat input takes place within fractions of a second. This requires measurements with high image frequencies in full and partial images. Particularly in micro material processing with pulsed laser light, the demands on thermography systems are very high. Suitable for this application is, for example, the ImageIR® 8300 hs, as it can image high-speed processes with an image format of (640 × 512) IR pixels and the high image frequency of 1,004 Hz.

The thermal and geometric resolution of infrared cameras is equally important. Depending on the process and material, lasers can be used to create very large or very small temperature differences, which must be monitored continuously and very precisely. Here InfraTec offers different camera functions, such as HighSense mode, HDR function, HighSpeed mode and geometric resolutions in the HD range.

InfraTec - Additive manufacturing for process control
  • InfraTec-icon-detector-1920x1536
    Detector Format

    Efficient measurement of smallest structures on large-scale objects

  • InfraTec Icon 15 mK
    Thermal Resolution

    Precise detection of smallest temperature differences

  • InfraTec Icon 105.000 Hz
    Frame Rate

    Analysis of high-speed dynamic temperature changes and processes

  • InfraTec-icon-10-gige
    10 GigE

    Transmission and storage of large amounts of measurement data on a computer in very short time

  • InfraTec-icon-ip67
    Protection Degree

    Constant excellent optical and metrological performance even in harsh industrial environments

Advantages of this Thermography Solutions in this Application

  • Further information about HDR-function

    HDR – Simultaneous Mapping of Wide Temperature Ranges

    The High Dynamic Range (HDR) function of the Infrared ImageIR® camera series enables measurement scenarios with extremely different temperatures to be recorded continuously. When recording in HDR mode, multiple thermograms with different integration times and different filters are recorded quickly in succession and compiled into an overall image with a high dynamic range. The measuring range can span up to 1,500 K. Users obtain high-contrast images in a wide temperature range characterized by high measurement accuracy.

  • HighSense for thermographic camera series ImageIR®
    Further Information about HighSense

    HighSense – Always the Optimal Camera Setting

    Thanks to HighSense, ImageIR® users have the option of setting up individual measuring ranges based on the factory calibration that best suit the respective task. The software also offers the possibility of storing a large number of such areas clearly arranged. Individually named and permanently stored, the operator can quickly access them. The same applies to changing, renaming and deleting profiles. HighSense is available for different camera models of the ImageIR® series. This function can optionally be added to systems already delivered.

  • Thermografie-Kameraserie ImageIR® mit neuer 10 GigE-Schnittstelle
    Further information about the 10 GigE technology

    10 GigE Interface for a Strong Increase in Output

    The 10 Gigabit Ethernet interface of the high-end camera series ImageIR® opens this extremely fast transmission standard with a NIC specially developed by InfraTec. This works with optical or electrical transceiver modules that are easy to change and are called SFP+.

    Different 10 GigE fiber SFP+ transceivers allow transmission ranges of up to ten kilometers with the same low sensitivity to electromagnetic interference. A corresponding standard SFP ensures backward compatibility with the conventional GigE interface. This combination allows the ease of use of the cameras with the 10 Gigabit Ethernet interface in existing systems - though at a reduced transmission rate.

  • InfraTec glossary - Rotating filter- und aperture wheel
    Get further information about the separate filter & aperture wheel

    Separate Filter & Aperture Wheel – Spectral Thermography

    The combination of a separate filter and aperture wheel, allowing a total of 30 freely selectable combinations, is prerequisite for an universal application in measurement tasks with high object temperatures and in the field of spectral thermography. The neutral density filters used for signal attenuation or the combination of spectral filters and apertures reliably prevent interference effects.

  • Thermal image during ignition of an airbag Image Small
    Further information about subwindowing

    Window Mode (Subwindowing) – Capture of Rapid Sequences

    The thermal imaging camera can be operated in full, half, quarter and sub mode. With the camera control software, it is possible to use the extended subwindowing function. Using click-and-drag, freely definable sections can be set up quickly and conveniently. A defined sub-frame of the detector is picked out to achieve these extremely high refresh rates.

  • InfraTec thermography - Geometrical Resolution

    Geometrical Resolution – Efficient Analysis of Complex Assemblies

    InfraTec's infrared cameras with cooled and uncooled detectors have native resolutions up to (1,920 × 1,536) IR pixels. Spatially high-resolution thermograms ensure that components and assemblies are imaged down to the smallest detail and thus defects can be reliably detected and precisely localised.

  • Integrated Trigger / Process Interface and Interfaces - Digitally Controlling of a Infrared Camera and External Devices

    The internal trigger interface guarantees highly precise, repeatable triggering. Each of the two configurable digital inputs and outputs are used to control the camera or to generate digital control signals for external devices. In this way, for example, the operation of a printed circuit board and the interval of a measurement can be synchronised.

    The selection of different camera interfaces allows the processing of analog data, such as the voltage directly through the camera and thus the insertion of this information into the thermal image data. Relevant variables can be included in the evaluations with the software, which makes it easier to draw conclusions about the causes of temperature changes.

Reliable Localisation and Detailed Mapping of Thermal Anomalies

By in-line monitoring of thermal process parameters, infrared cameras from InfraTec support the optimisation of additive manufacturing processes.

  • Non-contact and non-reactive temperature measurement
  • Mapping of heat flows in components to gain a complete understanding of the process
  • Precise control of heating and cooling of the materials to be processed
  • Monitoring of defined energy inputs and reduction of thermal load
  • Precise thermal and even spatial control of the process due to high-speed data acquisition, high geometric resolution and delay-free triggering
  • Complete recording, documentation and evaluation of temperature distributions to determine the optimum energy input by the laser
InfraTec - Additive manufacturing for process control

Associated Thermographic Automation Solutions

  • Automation InfraTec INDU-SCAN - In-process industrial temperature measurement
    Process Control - INDU-SCAN

    Process Control - INDU-SCAN

    Contactless measurement of temperature distributions and profiles with industrial thermographic cameras permits efficient monitoring and control of temperature-dependent processes and procedures within a system-integrated quality assurance programme in industry.

  • Quality control for more precision in press hardening PRESS-CHECK
    Quality Control or Press Hardening - PRESS-CHECK

    Quality Control or Press Hardening - PRESS-CHECK

    Check the microstructures of sheet metal parts during the stamping process and establish a uniform high strength and quality of all produced stampings safely and with a contact-free method.

  • PV-LIT test solution for solar cells
    Photovoltaic Test System - PV-LIT

    Photovoltaic Test System - PV-LIT

    Get advantages in costing and quality by non-contact thermographic testing of your solar cells and PV-modules.

  • Thermography test solution E-LIT
    Electronic / Semiconductor Testing - E-LIT

    Electronic / Semiconductor Testing - E-LIT

    Detect inhomogeneous temperature distribution and local power loss during the production using the Lock-in thermography.

Get in contact with InfraTec thermography division

Would You Like to Know More?

It is not unusual for tasks to be associated with special requirements. Discuss your specific application needs with our specialists, receive further technical information or learn more about our additional services.

United States

InfraTec infrared LLC
75024 Plano, TXUSA

Overview of InfraTec Services

  • Cooled and uncooled high-end thermographic cameras for the solution of complex tasks
  • Various detector formats with up to (1,920 × 1,536) IR pixels and wide temperature measurement ranges
  • Modular design for optimal adaptation to the measurement and test situation (also OEM solutions available)
  • Complete range of precision interchangeable lenses with first-class transmission quality
  • Integrated solutions including accessories and software for R&D and process control
  • First-class service to ensure high system availability
  • Innovative measurement technology with more than 25 years of expertise

Download Flyer Additive Manufacturing

Infrared Cameras for Additive Manufacturing

Associated Industries & Applications

  • Laser Industry

    Laser Industry

    High-end thermography in heat-generating laser applications in materials processing.

  • thermal imaging in metallurgy


    Efficiently reduce the energy consumption of your metallurgic processes using infrared camera systems.

  • thermal imaging in plastic industry
    Plastics Industry

    Plastics Industry

    Cost-efficiently control die-casting and extrusion processes by means of infrared camera systems.

  • microthermography


    Micro-thermography allows for the thermal analysis of extremely small structures in the micrometer range, providing a detailed representation of the temperature distribution on complex electronic assemblies and components.