I received this question last week…
Do you have any recommendations on how to capture actual steel temps other than installing thermocouples? We currently use a surface probe which is time consuming and often difficult to capture the true operating temperature.
Thermal imaging cameras tend to be inaccurate for mold steel due to the reflectance of the steel. The best bet would be to measure the water temperature going in and out of the tool… since the temperatures along with the difference can give you a good idea of the consistency and adequacy of the cooling. This can be done by surface measurement of the water fittings or in-line sensors.
R is a great technology, but it is most effective at non-reflective textured surfaces. Many times people think they are measuring the temperature of a part or tool, but they are really measuring a nearby wall due to a reflective surface.