Latest 'intelligent' thermal imaging cameras detect early signs of spontaneous combustion

Written by: VCA Technology | Published:

Despite strict compliance with stringent health & safety policies and the implementation of best practise, operators of recycling, waste management and landfill facilities face the constant threat from spontaneous combustion.

The consequences of a fire caused by spontaneous combustion could of course be potentially catastrophic. If not detected early, the fire may be difficult to quickly extinguish. As well as having a major impact on the environment, it may also result in a facility having to close until plant and machinery have been repaired or replaced.

Early warning detections systems using Thermal imaging cameras have been available for a number of years but they have been expensive to deploy simply because of the capital cost of the cameras. They have also been difficult to monitor and have been prone to false alarms.

VCA Detect

Fortunately, technology has come to the rescue in the form of a new generation of ‘affordable’ thermal imaging cameras equipped with video analytics which facilitates early detection, whilst significantly reducing the possibility of false alarms.

Surrey-based VCA Technology is claiming to have set a new benchmark for thermal imaging cameras with the introduction of its ‘intelligent’ VCA-650LD thermal IP bullet camera which is equipped with the VCA video analytics engine, and they are also offering an App called tMonitor to help achieve maximum benefit from the camera.

“There is a market perception that the cost of installing thermal cameras can only be justified in large, government or utility projects,” said Kevin Waterhouse, executive vice president, global sales for VCA. “The low cost and the substantial improvement in detection and reduction in false alarms offered by our new cameras should, we believe, make them an attractive proposition to recycling, waste management and landfill facilities. In addition to helping identify rises in temperature, depending on the field of view, the cameras can also enhance a site’s security system without a major increase in cost.”

Both cameras are supported by a range of video management software (VMS) providers such as Milestone, and control room software platforms such as SureView Immix. By using VCA analytics, the VCA-650LD bullet camera is able to offer a single device solution, whatever the lighting conditions. Designed to detect objects and people that might otherwise be impossible with traditional video surveillance cameras in environmental conditions such as through smoke, snow, heavy rain and fog, they are also ideal for projects where it is not possible to install supplementary lighting, or where there are concerns about light pollution.


The tMonitor temperature monitoring application works together with the VCA-650LD thermal imaging camera to generate alerts when temperatures drop below or exceed specified levels within pre-defined regions. Although a powerful tool to help identify the risk of a fire, tMonitor can also be used to improve energy efficiency by monitoring temperature variations in real-time in any building environment.

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