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Thermal Imaging Cameras


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New
FLIR E6 Pro Thermal Camera
New
FLIR E5 Pro Thermal Camera

About Thermal Cameras

Thermal cameras are invaluable tools with a wide range of applications. Similar to a normal camera that forms an image using visible light (400-700 nm) infrared cameras are sensitive to wavelengths from approximately 1,000 nm (1 micrometre or μm) to approximately 14,000 nm (14 μm).

A thermal camera converts infrared radiation that is invisible to the naked eye into visible images, enabling us to see the world in a different light - quite literally!

Thermal imaging is non-intrusive (non-contact) and therefore safer than any contact method.

Why is it important to purchase a quality thermal cameras?

Tools for professionals should be tough so longevity is not an issue! Considering a manufacturer’s reputation for build-quality is an important factor when evaluating your thermal camera purchase and here are a few features to consider when researching which thermal camera will give you that all important “good image”. (NB experts are always at hand to advise you on your purchase – give our friendly team a call today).

Focus

A professional thermal camera should always capture a focused and sharp thermal image, and the object and heat pattern must be clear and easy to recognise. A blurred image not only comes across as unprofessional and makes it harder to identify the object and any faults but can also lead to measurement errors.

Of course, the size of the detector matrix on the thermal camera also plays a role in image quality. Images taken by thermal cameras with small detectors (i.e. with fewer pixels) are more blurred or "grainier" giving the impression that captured thermal image is not in focus. It should also be noted that not every camera can be focused, and in this case the only means of focusing the camera is by changing the distance from the object.

Temperature Range

Range is the entire span of temperatures the camera is calibrated to and capable of measuring so knowing the temperatures you’re likely to encounter in your application is imperative.

Field of View (FOV)

Field of View is determined by the thermal camera lens. Telephoto allows you to work from a greater distance. Wide angle is for use in tight spaces or situations where you need to get a large area into a single image. Some cameras have interchangeable lenses, perfect for the below example:

Inspecting roof mounted solar panels "In some cases you are standing on a raised platform inspecting solar panels from a distance of 10 meters, but in another situation you might be inspecting the back end of panels from less than one meter distance. In these different situations you need different optics, a telephoto lens for the inspection from a distance and a wide angle lens for the short distance inspections. Many other thermal imaging camera models do not feature this flexibility in optics."

IR Resolution

The detector’s resolution refers to the number of individual detector elements on the detector chip. The resolution is often stated in pixels e.g: 320 x 240 detector = 76,800 pixels.  More pixels means more temperature detail. This specification is not to be confused with that of the LCD display.

Thermal Sensitivity (NETD)

A thermal camera with a higher degree of thermal sensitivity will be able to represent small changes of temperature as a change in colour. Typical thermal sensitivities range from 0.15°C (7 colour changes per degree) to 0.045°C (20 colour changes per degree)

 

You may have heard about the popular thermal camera feature: Level and span and wonder why is it so useful?

With level and span you can remove temperatures which are of no interest. For example, if your target object is equipment running at 30-40°C then the lower temperatures (say, 17°C) of the background are of no interest and can be removed. As a result, the colour palette is stretched over a 10°C span rather than the original 23 °C span, leading to more colour changes per °C.

 


Let’s explore the various applications of thermal cameras:

Industrial Applications

The industrial sector benefits significantly from the use of thermal cameras being utilised for applications such as maintenance, quality control, and troubleshooting. Thermal cameras are efficient. Contact thermometers have a much slower measurement time. Machinery and equipment doesn’t need to be turned off - in fact they will give false results if they are not running under load.

Predictive Maintenance

In industrial settings, thermal cameras are used for predictive maintenance. They can identify overheating components, detect electrical problems, and evaluate the performance of machinery, allowing maintenance teams to address issues before they become critical.

Quality Control

Manufacturers rely on thermal cameras for quality control, ensuring that products meet strict temperature and quality standards. By detecting inconsistencies in the thermal signatures of products, manufacturers can prevent defects and improve overall product quality.

Buildings Surveys and Facilities Management

Buildings diagnostics including hidden leaks, electrical faults, and insulation problems.

Facilities management applications including incorrectly operating steam traps, tank levels, blocked pipes, inspection of electrical control panels.

Home Inspections For The Domestic User

Homeowners can use thermal cameras to inspect insulation, identify leaks, and locate hidden electrical issues. This empowers homeowners to address problems promptly and make their homes more energy-efficient.

 

If you have any questions contact our friendly team today - experts are here to advise on the full range of thermal cameras.