SmartMelter® Technology

How SmartMelter® Technology Works

SmartMelter® is a cutting-edge solution that is built on advanced radar technology. We have customized the application of radar imaging and computer tomography to detect areas of erosion in furnace walls. Our patented sensors launch radar waves into refractory walls to collect erosion data and refractory thickness measurements.

The Refractory Thickness Sensor (RTS) records the interface between the glass and the wall to measure residual refractory thickness, such as fused cast AZS.RTS Image

RTS sensor operates in direct contact with the fused-cast AZS to measure the residual thickness.

The Furnace Tomography Sensor (FTS) interacts with the insulation layers to map early-stage glass penetration and measure residual insulation thickness.

FTS Image

FTS sensor operates through insulation. It is used in sidewalls and furnace bottom.

This information from both sensors is integrated with our proprietary software platform, XSight, for clear insight into the health of your furnace.

Validation
SmartMelter® has been validated with successful blind trials on operating furnaces in the glass industry. You can download the trials and papers presented at conferences on our validation page.

SmartMelter® Sensors are Safe to Use

our sensor uses 1 million times less power than a typical cell phone.

Our sensors use 1 million times less power than a typical cell phone does.

SmartMelter® sensors are safer to use than your mobile phone. Our sensors use the same radio waves that your phone uses, but with significantly less power (about one million times less).

Because of its low-power operation, you can have confidence that our sensors will not interfere with other plant instruments. Even if your furnace uses electronic boosting, it will not interfere with our sensors. Our sensors have been used on furnace walls while the boosting is on. However, you should never use our sensors on boosting blocks while the boosting is on for safety reasons.

We developed SmartMelter® sensors to withstand high-temperature environments. Our sensors have touched surfaces as high as 1650 F (900 C) without incurring any damage. A protective measure warns the user and shuts down the sensor when the internal sensor temperature reaches an unsafe level.

SmartMelter® Sensors are Easy to Operate

To use a SmartMelter® sensor, simply touch the sensor to the wall and press a button. Your plant personnel can easily be trained to take measurements. These non-invasive sensors will never interfere with your operation. Our sensors are:

  • self-calibrated
  • self-diagnostic
  • maintenance-free

Plug the sensor into the handheld computer and you are ready to inspect your walls. If a repair is needed, the sensor will indicate this with a warning to the user.

Proper Placement of Sensors
The Refractory Thickness Sensor (RTS) should be placed in direct contact with the AZS wall to work properly. As many critical wear areas already are, the wall should be regular air-cooled. The Furnace Tomography Sensor (FTS) should be placed directly on the insulation wall to detect the presence of glass infiltration and measure residual insulation thickness.

Measuring with SmartMelter® Sensors

SmartMelter® sensors are shown to work with the following refractories (we are adding more refractories to this list each day: please check with us if you have a specific refractory not listed below):

  • Fused Cast AZS 
  • High Zirconia Fused Cast AZS (96%) 
  • Chrome Alumina (30%, 50% and 72%)
  • Bonded AZS
  • Super Duty Fire Brick
  • IFB 
  • Fire Board 
  • Clay Flux
  • Silimanite
  • Just about any insulation bricks used in the furnaces

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Our sensors also come with many attachments that allow for accessing in front of the cooling pipes, behind the buckstays, and other tight, hard to reach areas.

SmartMelter® sensors have been successfully validated with technology trials. The sensors are designed to measure the thinnest spot within their view area.

The sensors can also be used in the furnace bottom; how far it can see depends on the insulation make-up. Please contact us to discuss your specific application.

Our sensors do not use temperature information to measure wall thickness because they are based on radar measurements, independent of the wall temperature. However, they do record wall temperature for temperature mapping. The accompanying XSight software allows for both thickness and temperature mapping of the entire furnace walls.

Measuring Time
Accessibility around the furnace is what determines the total time it takes to map an entire furnace wall thickness. Mapping sidewall and insulation thickness of a typical 400 ton/day furnace takes 0.5 to 2 days. Most can be done in 1 day. Our RTS (Refractory Thickness Sensor) takes less than 2 seconds to do one measurement. Our FTS sensor takes less than 2 seconds to measure.

Working with SmartMelter® Data

SmartMelter® is accompanied by our powerful XSight Software. With XSight, you can visualize furnace health and store all maintenance and furnace records in an electronic environment. Our radar sensors capture proprietary radar waveforms on a handheld device that transfers the data to XSight for processing and visualization.

SmartMelter® data is stored in PaneraTech’s secure server. In later releases, you will have the option to store data on your own server. View your furnace records on-site through internal XSight software, or access them globally using our web access platform. This makes it easy to enforce standard inspection policies across multiple plants.

 

See our furnace monitoring options