Case Studies

PID Control of a Furnace With an Automated Vision System

Posted in Chemical, LabVIEW, Machine Vision, Test & Measurement Automation


DMC was tasked by a client to replace their manual production process with a fully automated system. This project was challenging because not only did the production process span many days, it also required constant monitoring. As a solution, DMC developed an automated vision system that communicates with existing PLC code to tell the system exactly when and what to do throughout production.    


This client produced a crystallized material used in components of common electronics such as your phone screen. To produce these crystals, the granular form of the material is heated in a furnace over a seven-day cycle. During this cycle, the temperature needed to change in specific areas of the furnace because it was important to control the location of the solid-to-liquid interface.

Achieving such precision required PID control of the furnace. PID control describes the continuous adjustment and output variation to accurately control a process and mitigate deviation. In this case, PID control would increase the temperature in a specific location in the furnace from 2500°C to exactly 2600°C—not from 2500°C to 2700°C to 2600°C.

DMC implemented a vision system using a specialized camera that can withstand extremely high heats to monitor production. The camera recorded images at a user-specified time interval, communicated with a PLC, and then adjustments were made accordingly. Therefore, the client still maintains some manual control of the process, but it does not require around-the-clock monitoring by an employee.

The production of these crystals is lengthy, requires extreme precision, and constant monitoring. DMC developed a specialized vision system to automate this process, helping our client cut down on costs while maintaining quality standards. The client can also adjust the parameters of the system as needed, so this solution is long term and sustainable.

Read more about DMC’s Test and Measurement expertise and contact us to get started on your next project.

Customer Benefits

  • Reduced system monitoring
  • Improved accuracy of interface location detection
  • Minimized temperature fluctuations
  • Ability to extend the process to multiple production furnaces
  • Minimized communication and interfacing between LabVIEW and PLC systems
  • Flexibility to change setup parameters from run to run


  • National Instruments LabVIEW
  • National Instruments Compact DAQ
  • National Instruments C-series Analog and Digital Output Cards
  • Basler Ace GigE Camera (acA1300-60gm-NIR)