For National Cut Your Energy Costs Day, consider a thermal imager, used by inspectors to assess loss of energy, internally and externally. Here’s an excerpt from the article:
Interest in thermography and its many applications has exploded. Infrared technology has been engaged for surveillance purposes in the military and law enforcement. Infrared cameras have helped to detect people infected with viral diseases at an early stage. According to a report from FLIR, infrared cameras used at airports helped identify arriving travelers contaminated with the swine flu in 2009. Medical professionals employ thermography to expose possible tumors, inflamed tissue, and more. Dentists use thermal imaging to diagnose temporomandibular joint disorder or TMJ. Emergency responders, such as firefighters, use thermography to find people trapped in fires by providing an image through the smoke. More recently, luxury car brands have placed the cameras in their front grilles or bumpers so that drivers can see more safely at night.
For industrial purposes, thermal imaging is used by building inspectors and maintenance personnel to assess loss of energy, both internally and externally. Building cameras are also used to reveal moisture and ventilation leaks. Industrial cameras spot issues in electrical or mechanical applications and help troubleshoot processes.
The versatility of thermal imaging is amplified by its ability to capture moving objects in real time and create images in dark areas. Because it is a noncontact technology, it can measure areas that may be hazardous or difficult to access. In comparison to infrared thermometers, which only measure one spot, thermal imagers scan the entire room or environment to determine, for example, if a circuit is overloaded.
Trends in Thermal Imaging
Emerging capabilities are expanding thermal imaging much further. FLIR’s André Rebelo, Global PR Manager, explained where current research and development is headed. “FLIR looks at the thermal imager as part of a diagnostic ecosystem. Rather than working in isolation to sense temperature abnormalities only, our latest technology integrates electrical test measurements to display a fuller diagnostic picture,” he said. “In many settings, if we can identify the source of the problem and communicate that information via images to decision-makers—managers and clients—repairs can be initiated much sooner. With connectivity now available to transfer this key data via Wi-Fi to an iPhone®, iPad®, Android®, or other personal device, work flow is accelerated. This increases efficiency and ultimately lowers costs resulting from potential downtime and hazards to employees.”
Just a few years ago, thermal imagers resided firmly in the domain of specialists with advanced training. Now, with the lower price points of many imagers, the technology is accessible to non-specialists. “Like GPS devices which use military-derived technology distilled into a consumer market, thermal imaging is becoming more and more available. Cameras previously priced at $10,000 are now a quarter of that. They’re easier to use out of the box and free introductory training is also available,” said Rebelo.