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VIC-3D DIC 9.4 Release

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The development of the VIC-3D system continues at a blistering pace. Taking our lead from customer requests and advancing digital technology, the third update in less than a year brings significantly more agile and powerful features to our flagship DIC solution. As systems continue to be shipped around the world and deployed in a wide variety of applications, we are proud to announce the release of VIC-3D Version 9.4 which contains enhancements to marker tracking and point/marker visualization, as well as FFT improvements. The new features include:

  • All-new 3D marker tracking visualization in iris 
  • Customizable marker/extraction labels with escape codes for inserting data
  • PDF export now supports automatic generation of pages for multiple timestep
  • Velocity computation in FFT
  • New dialog for batch processing with automatic report generation
  • Export area FFT data to Universal File Format (UFF)
  • Velocity and acceleration calculation for markers
  • Visualization of locations and trajectories of extraction points in iris

Thermography in Plant Research for Agriculture

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Environmental conditions today often tend towards extremes. Many areas are very humid and wet, while others are predominantly dry. Particularly in the second case, cultivating raw materials such as grain, beet or maize is a challenge. A challenge that KWS SAAT SE & Co. KGaA is facing. As part of its plant research, the company uses the VarioCAM® HD head 900 infrared camera from InfraTec to analyse the behaviour of plants during drought stress and pest infestation.

Plants of the Future

Research into the behaviour of plants under drought stress plays a crucial role for future agriculture. This is because the research results provide insights into how adaptable and robust a plant variety is and how it reacts to different temperatures. This, in turn, enables decisions to be made about which varieties will be bred further. In the past, specific statements about plant behaviour under drought stress were limited. But with the help of thermography, scientists now have access to valid measurements that allow them to take new selection options into consideration and develop more robust and resistant plant varieties.

KWS SAAT SE & Co. KGaA’s work includes multiplying and distributing sugarbeet and corn seed. The company finances basic research and the breeding of the KWS Group’s range of varieties and provides its subsidiaries with new sorts for multiplication and distribution every year.

Ther­mo­graphy for Better Plant Growth and Against Pest Infest­a­tion

But how does an infrared camera help to detect drought stress or pest infestation of a plant? The answer is quite simple: by measuring the leaf temperature. Complementary to visual cameras, the infrared camera provides exact surface temperatures and their distribution on the leaf. This enables conclusions to be drawn about leaf health and robustness as well as plant growth. This is done without contact and, due to the high geometric resolution, allows the recording and evaluation of large areas. What is measured is the heating of the plant during drought stress, which is not visible to humans, in comparison to the previously determined plant temperature under favourable conditions. Light reflected and absorbed by the plants in different wavelength ranges is recorded for this purpose.

For research on pest infestation, such as in the Dataplant project, a special laser is used that emits a beam of infrared light and illuminates the leaf green. At a certain wavelength in the infrared range, infested or diseased leaf areas are heated differently than healthy ones. The VarioCAM® HD head infrared camera from InfraTec is used for the measurement. Its compactness and handy size allow easy integration into mobile measurement set-ups. There the camera measures how the individual leaf areas heat up and transfers the temperature values directly to the control PC. The data can be stored and evaluated on this PC with an associated software.

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Real Time Digital Image Correlation

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After a long conference drought because of the pandemic, Correlated Solutions were very excited to be back in Novi, Michigan at the Automotive Testing Expo to share the latest in cutting-edge 2D and 3D digital image correlation technology with the automotive engineering community. They had developed an all-new demonstration of the powerful full-field, real-time measurement capability of VIC-3D using a remote control car tire and a simple tester adapted from the VIC-EDU system. The real-time system previewed in this video is capable of measuring over 10K data points at 10 Hz! Read more about the real-time system here. 


If you are interested in how real time data might be useful for your testing, please contact us today.

Case Study: Thermal Micro Actuators for Nanotechnologies

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Microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) offer a wide range of possible applications in the field of nanotechnology. Everyday examples are the position recognition of mobile phones and the use in airbags, digital cameras or pacemakers. Other applications can be found above all in the field of miniaturised medical diagnostics. Growing demands on miniaturisation affect both the system solutions required for this and the sensors and control elements to be developed.

The professorship was able to transfer 20 years of experience gained in the domain of electrostatic actuators to thermally driven actuators. The latter allow the use of electron microscopes for MEMS analysis, which would not have been an option with electrostatic actuators. Prototypes for thermal actuators have already been developed at Chemnitz University of Technology enabling motion control with an accuracy of up to 2 µm and 0.3°. Achieving such precision requires a precise analysis of the material parameters on the actuators used. As expected with thermal actuators, the most important factor is measuring the component temperature as accurately as possible. Due to the very small dimensions and mechanical characteristics of these measurement objects, only the most sophisticated infrared cameras come into consideration. A microscopic lens was selected and combined with the large infrared detector of the ImageIR® 9300 with (1,280 × 1,024) IR pixels to achieve a resolution in the µm range and a large field of view to capture the peripheral components around the actuators.

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Case Study: Infrared Thermography for Determining Heat Transfer Coefficients

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Technical systems and devices are often subject to the influence of thermal energy or heat up due to internal processes. Their efficiency and service life can be increased, for example, by optimised thermal management. The installed active components are usually optimised extensively for this purpose. Passive components, on the other hand, are often neglected in this respect.

Research activities, such as those at the Institute of Thermodynamics of Leibniz University Hannover (IfT), show that there is great potential for reducing energy requirements and increasing power densities. Scientists there use infrared thermography to analyse the heat transfer to surfaces in order to increase it in the future by means of suitable measures.

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Digital Image Correlation Calibration targets

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Successful digital image correlation requires accurate calibration. Correlated Solutions is proud to introduce an all-new set of laser-marked calibration targets with precision marker placement and improved contrast which provides more accurate stereo-camera calibration. This yields more consistent centroid extractions in VIC-3D and produces improved calibration scores. The end result is a more robust 3D digital image correlation system and improved accuracy in displacement and strain measurements.

In addition to the new Calibration Target Kit, Correlated Solutions is also now offering low-resolution calibration targets for cameras with less than one megapixel in total resolution. This is common with high-speed cameras such as the Photron Fastcam NOVA when run at higher speeds. The targets have fewer and larger markers, which allows VIC-3D’s algorithms to locate the centroids with more accuracy and consistency, improving the overall stereo-calibration and analysis results.

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IR camera Solar Panel Monitoring

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An InfraTec thermography automation solution supports the monitoring of one of the world’s largest solar tower power plants in the middle of the Atacama Desert.

Solar power plants usually suffer from the disadvantage that they only supply energy when the sun is shining during the day. CSP (Concentrated Solar Power) solar tower power plants are different: they charge a large thermal buffer storage during the day, which allows the continuous generation of electrical energy also at night‐time. One of these solar tower power plants recently went into operation in the middle of the Atacama coastal desert in Chile. It is the sunniest and driest desert on earth. The extreme climatic conditions prevailing in this region place high demands on the technology used there, including the eight thermographic cameras from InfraTec.

The power plant in Chile, named Cerro Dominador, comprises a 252‐metre‐high concrete tower with a cylindrical 360° solar receiver consisting of 16 panels surrounded by 10,600 movable mirrors arranged in concentric circles. The mirrors, known as heliostats, are controlled to reflect solar radiation directly onto the receiver’s absorber panels at the top of the tower. These panels, consisting of a tubular structure, have molten salt flowing through them, which is heated to over 600 °C by the concentrated solar radiation. The hot molten salt is led through pipes to the ground, where it generates steam via a heat exchanger that in turn is used to drive a steam turbine to generate electricity. Since the liquid salt can be stored in large insulated tanks for up to 17 hours, it is possible for this solar tower power plant to generate electricity continuously.

Temperature monitoring over long distances with infrared cameras
The solar tower receiver’s absorber panels can heat up to 800 °C and are monitored fully automatically around the clock by a total of eight infrared cameras from the InfraTec VarioCAM® HD series. Arranged in a circle around the tower, they form the backbone of InfraTec’s Solar Power Tower Check (SPTC) automation solution. Because of the VarioCAMs high resolution combined with a large field of view each panel can be redundantly monitored by two independent cameras resulting in much higher availability. The temperature and its distribution across the absorber are determined in real time and enable optimal control of the heliostats. At the same time, the permanent thermographic temperature monitoring provides life insurance for the billion‐dollar project: disastrous damage, caused for example by the overheating of individual panels or panel areas, is reliably avoided. The measurement of the panel temperatures also enables a precise analysis of the energy efficiency and supports the setting of optimal operating parameters for power generation. The goal is always to achieve the most homogeneous temperature distribution possible over the entire surface.

Automated monitoring under extreme conditions
Despite the extreme environmental conditions and the great distance to the measurement object, the SPTC system delivers pixel‐precise measurement results. This is made possible, among other things, by an infrared telephoto lens specially developed for this application, which has been adapted to the general conditions and enables very accurate temperature measurement even with strongly fluctuating ambient temperatures. The lens is precisely aligned with the receiver and only images the receiver in full format. As a result, the camera’s detector is automatically protected from direct irradiation by the sun and cannot be subject to lateral fatigue. The special design of the camera and lens means that there is no need for cooling of the protective housing, which significantly reduces maintenance and ensures continuous operation. In addition, the housing has a special rail and latching system, which guarantees quick removal and installation without time‐consuming adjustment of the camera in the event of maintenance.

Everything in view with highly sophisticated software
This technology is supported by specially configured SPTC software that enables the evaluation of the measurement data and supports all operating regimes of the solar tower power plant. Furthermore, with the help of artificial intelligence, the software allows software‐based, highly accurate stabilisation of the infrared camera image to compensate for thermal and wind‐induced mechanical movements of the tower and to enable pixel‐precise image tracking during the operating period. Due to the equalised representation of the individual measurement areas on the absorber surface, inhomogeneities as well as hot and cold spots can also be easily identified visually.

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Photron MH6 ST Head

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Photron has just released a new camera head for their already powerful MH6 Multi head high speed camera. The MH6 processor can utilise up to 12 of the mini ST camera heads, each capable of recording 1000 frames per second at full resolution 800 x 600 pixels. The Mini heads, at a size of 15 x 15 x 15mm and weight of 15g are a great tool for a wide range of industries, in particular in high G environments. The MH6 can utilise a combination of both HD camera heads and the new Mini ST head

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DIC in Ballistic Testing Research

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Correlated Solutions VIC-2D and VIC-3D products have been involved in a number of published articles. The below research into depth of indentation caused by projectiles is just one example.


Several three-dimensional scanning methods have been developed and improved over the past 40 years. The peculiarities of each technique, associated with the computational advances of the period, allowed the increasing application and diffusion of the technology in several sectors, among them those related to metrology in ballistics and the testing of protective materials. The specific goal of such ballistic tests is to estimate the depth of indentation caused by projectiles. In particular, this study presents a comparative analysis between two three-dimensional optical scanning methods, taking into account the same object of interest. The comparative analysis was based on reference planes detected by Random Sample Consensus methodology in each cloud. By comparing the results of the different techniques, it was found for this case that three-dimensional reconstruction by stereo images estimated values closer to the real ones in comparison to those estimated by the structured light scanner, mainly due to the fact that, for three-dimensional reconstruction, the image acquisition was conducted statically.

Stereo image capture process: (a) test setup for stereo image capture and (b) 3D reconstruction software


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Thermal Camera WELD-CHECK

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Using pulse thermography, WELD-CHECK enables you a quantitative assessment of the inspected welds. A special software algorithm analyzes the pulse-induced change in temperature in the tested joint and computes, based on its temporal course and geometric spreading, corresponding test results. These results are documented in a test report and provided in a format that can be used in your quality databases. This makes WELD-CHECK the ideal test system for automobile body assembly – both as an offline measuring unit as well as for in-line inspection.

Thermal imaging cameras of the high-end camera series ImageIR ® by InfraTec are essential components used in this system. Enabling a geometric resolution of up to (1,920 × 1,536) IR pixels, frame rates with some kHz and thermal resolutions below 0,015 K they provide the precise measurement basis for the reliable detection of even the smallest anomalies.


  • Different operating modes for Teach-In, testing and offline analysis
  • Provision of all relevant information in testing mode with live, difference, evaluation and reference image
  • Comprehensive representation of results
  • Offline mode for parameterisation and evaluation of large datasets
  • Flexible integration into the local system structure via universal interfaces and bus systems


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