A guide to thermal imaging (Infrared or IR) cameras

Temperature is very important in our everyday lives and is used for many applications such as to see if you are sick, if food is cooked thoroughly or if your car is overheating. Thermal imaging cameras take measuring temperature to the next level where instead of only getting a single number for temperature, you get a comprehensive visual image or picture showing the temperature differences of a surface. Thermal imaging, also known as thermography, is the technique for producing an image of invisible (to our eyes) infrared light emitted by objects with the use of a thermal imaging camera. Thermal imaging cameras provide rapid scanning of a surface that is non-destructive and environmentally friendly, which allows for quick detection of potential problems or defects that will reduce troubleshooting time and preventative maintenance.

Are there any limitations to thermal imaging (IR) cameras?

Yes!  Thermal energy can be reflected off of shiny surfaces such as polished metal and glass.  Thermal imaging cameras cannot see through glass which is an immediate indicator of a low tech device claiming to offer ‘infrared imaging’ to the end user.  Some tablets and smart phones today tout IR technology yet are actually presenting a visual image that has been digitally manipulated to look like a thermogram.  If you stand in front of a window while looking at a thermal imaging camera, you will see yourself in the window because of the thermal energy reflecting off the glass.  Regardless of what Hollywood movies may show, infrared cameras cannot see through walls. It is also important to know that thermal imaging cameras should not be used as the deciding factor that a problem exists. Using other instruments such as a borescope, moisture meter, multimeter or blueprint drawing of the building should always be used to confirm what and if a problem exists.

Digital image storage and infrared cameras

Digital image storage, available on FLIR and most other upper level infrared cameras, produces calibrated thermal images that contain between 20,000 and 300,000 independent temperature measurements.  These measurements can then be analyzed with simple yet powerful reporting software to provide precise information and professional reports in both digital or hard copy formats.  And with a specific time and date stamp affixed to every thermogram image captured, you can use the information to create baseline and trending reports which may indicate wear, developing issues and call for attention to equipment  far in advance of actual failure.  This is one of infrared’s most powerful impacts.

How do I get a good image from my Infrared camera?

Using a thermal imaging camera is quite simple, but interpreting the image captured takes knowledge and experience. To help a user obtain the best thermal image to analyze, there are four adjustments that can be made to the camera; focusing, changing the emissivity setting, changing the reflective temperature setting and thermal tuning.

  • Just like a standard camera, the lens of the thermal imaging camera will need to be focused to enhance the clarity of the image. Most cameras can be focused by twisting the lens where more sophisticated cameras will have a push button focus.
  • Emissivity is the amount of radiation emitted from an object compared to that of a perfect emitter of radiation when both are at the same temperature. A lower emissivity setting would be used for highly reflected objects and a high emissivity setting would be used for low reflective objects. Objects that are non-metal or that have a rougher surface will have a higher emissivity. Adjusting the emissivity is important when taking temperature measurements or when comparing two different objects temperatures. Incorrect emissivity settings will make objects appear hotter or colder then what they really are. Not all cameras will allow the user to adjust the emissivity of the camera and will be defaulted to wood or drywall.
  • The reflective temperature setting allows the user to compensate for surrounding objects temperature reflecting on an object. If reflecting thermal energy from surrounding objects is suspected, move the camera around in the area of the target and see if the hot or cold spot moves with the camera. If it does, it is a reflection from another object, if it does not, it is a true hot or cold spot. In order to find out what the reflective temperature is, the user will need to adjust the emissivity of the camera to 1.0, then place a piece of crinkled aluminum foil on a piece of cardboard. Hold the foil between the camera and the object you intend to view and note the temperature of the foil. Then input the temperature of the foil in the reflective temperature setting on the camera. Just like emissivity, reflective temperature is important when taking temperature measurements or comparing two objects temperatures. Not all cameras will allow the user to input reflective temperature.
  • Thermal tuning the camera involves adjusting the span or temperature range that the camera sees while in manual viewing mode. Thermal imaging cameras will have an automatic viewing mode and manual viewing mode. When the camera is in automatic mode, the camera will automatically adjust the temperature scale to what is being viewed which causes the display to change colors frequently when the camera is moved. Manual mode allows the user to adjust the span to a desired range and the camera will always display this temperature range. Using the manual mode is best used to bring out temperature differences of the object being viewed.

How do I get trained to use an IR camera?

Professional infrared thermography training programs exist today.  The certification levels that are available for people include Levels 1, 2, and 3.  Most individuals purchasing an infrared camera today and intending to utilize it in their business for standard applications will or should pursue an accredited Level I Thermography Certification course from a recognized authority in the industry.  Level 1 Thermography entails a comprehensive 4-day training program, quizzes, a final exam and a field assignment to validate the training accomplished.  Level 1 Thermography is considered Qualitative and focused on the science, understanding and application of thermal imaging for qualitative purposes.  Level 2 is the follow on next step for those desiring to have a deeper knowledge of the theory behind and application thereof for thermal imaging.  Level 2 teaches Quantitative Thermography Principals where specific temperature measurement (often broken down in hundredths of a degree) can be analyzed, reviewed and presented.  The highest level of recognized professional Thermography training today is Level III which essentially creates in the individual the confidence and proven knowledge gain to not only execute all facets of thermal camera use but also qualifies you to create company-based training programs in which infrared training can be completed.

How do I take a good infrared thermal image?

Using modern handheld thermal imaging cameras is quite simple, BUT interpreting the images captured takes knowledge, training and experience.  To help you prepare and capture the best thermal image to analyze, there are four camera adjustments that you should address.

  • The first is camera focus.  Some infrared camera come with a fixed focus lens.  Focusing these imagers requires skill to find the best “sweet spot” distance from your target which provides the clarity of detail in the image that you require.  For infrared cameras with manual focusing capability, the onus is on you to take your time tightly focusing your target to lock in the clearest focused image when you capture the picture.  The more sophisticated infrared cameras have either an auto-focus or a push button auto-focus feature.  Both of these options provide good focusing of the camera but also require diligence on your part as they are not as consistent as your hand-eye coordination of a manual focus.  Focus is one of the keys to successful thermographers.  You cannot change the focus of a captured IR image with PC software later.  So take your time and get it right the first time!
  • The second is changing the emissivity setting of the camera.  Emissivity is the amount of radiation emitted from an object compared to that of a perfect emitter of radiation when both are at the same temperature.  A lower emissivity setting would be used for highly reflected objects and a high emissivity setting would be used for low reflective objects.  Objects that are non-metal or that have a rougher surface will have a higher emissivity.  Adjusting the emissivity is important when taking temperature measurements or when comparing two different objects’ temperatures.  Incorrect emissivity settings will make objects appear hotter or colder then what they really are.  Not all infrared cameras will allow the user to adjust the emissivity of the imager.  Lower cost IR cameras may be locked into a default emissivity for wood or drywall.
  • The third is adjusting the camera for reflected temperature.  The reflective temperature setting allows you to compensate for temperatures from surrounding objects reflecting on your target object.  If reflected thermal energy from surrounding objects is suspected, move the camera around in the area of the target and see if the hot or cold spot moves with the camera.  If it does, it is a reflection from another object, if it does not, it is a true hot or cold spot.  In order to find out what the reflective temperature is, you will need to adjust the emissivity of the camera to 1.0, then place a piece of crinkled aluminum foil on a piece of cardboard.  Hold the foil between the camera and the object you intend to view and note the temperature of the foil. Then input the temperature of the foil into the reflective temperature setting for your infrared camera.  Just like emissivity, reflective temperature is important when taking temperature measurements or comparing temperatures of two or more objects.  Again, not all infrared cameras will allow you to input the reflective temperature.
  • The fourth is thermal tuning.  Thermal Tuning of your infrared camera involves adjusting the span or temperature range that the camera sees while in manual viewing mode.  Infrared cameras today usually have an automatic viewing mode and a manual viewing mode.  When the imager is in automatic mode, the camera will automatically adjust the temperature scale to what is being viewed (your target area) which causes the display to change colors frequently when the camera is moved from place to place.  Manual mode allows you to adjust the span to a desired range.  Then the camera will always display this temperature range or span until you switch back to automatic mode.  Using the manual mode is best used to bring out temperature differences of the object being viewed.

How Does an Infrared Camera Work?

An infrared camera is a non-contact device that detects infrared energy (heat) and converts it into an electronic signal, which is then processed to produce a thermal image on a video monitor and perform temperature calculations.  Heat sensed by an infrared camera can be very precisely quantified, or measured, allowing you to not only monitor thermal performance, but also identify and evaluate the relative severity of heat-related problems.

Recent Infrared Innovations

Recent infrared innovations, particularly detector technology, such as the incorporation of built-in visual imaging, automatic functionality, and infrared software development deliver more cost-effective thermal analysis solutions than ever before.  Picture-in-Picture (PIP) technology in thermal cameras allows you to overlay a thermal image on top of a regular digital image.  Depending upon your infrared camera you may be able to resize the thermal image box or it may be fixed in the center of your display image and saved images.  Some IR cameras also allow for the fusion or blending of infrared and digital images.  This is when the thermal image is faded over the digital image, increasing visibility of what is below the thermal image.  The capability can permit reading of machine labels, electrical panels, production line controls, etc.  to identify the specific device imaged and the specific location where the image was taken.  Infrared cameras work to show a thermal world not visible to the unaided eye.

Infrared Cameras and Software that Work Together

Using infrared images to find a problem is sometimes not enough.  In fact, an infrared camera image without an accurate measurement says very little about the condition of an electrical connection or worn mechanical part. And, an IR survey without a simple, fast way to report and analyze inspection results provides no ability to make timely repair decision or locate and separate those ‘hot spots’ that can cause problems from those associated with equipment operating normally.

FLIR’s infrared cameras and software not only quickly locate problems, their non-contact precision temperature measurement and analysis capabilities instantly deliver the answers you need to understand what repair action to take, and when.

Infrared Cameras FAQ

Q. Can I see through walls?

  • No. While hi-resolution and hi-sensitivity cameras can create the appearance of seeing through walls, what you are actually seeing is transmitted thermal energy. For example, if you look at the interior walls of a home when it is cold outside, you will likely see the studs in the wall. What is showing on the surface is cold transmitted from the outside, through the studs, to the surface of the drywall. It appears that you can see into the wall and you are actually only seeing the different temperatures on the surface.

Q. Can I detect plumbing leaks?

  • Yes. Thermal cameras are a useful plumbing leak locator. Most cameras have a temperature difference sensitivity of .10 degree Centigrade or better. It doesn’t take a lot of temperature difference for the camera to see the leak. The issue is allowing that thermal energy difference enough time to transfer through the flooring to the surface.

Q. Can I detect air leaks?

  • Yes. Similar to plumbing applications, this ties directly to the camera sensitivity. Because the temperature change required is so slight, you can detect draft areas around doors, windows, and attic access points.

Q. Will this work for moisture?

  • Yes. Moist materials will retain thermal energy differently allowing the camera to pick up the differences. You should always double check a potential spot of moisture with a moisture meter since there are several things that can create the thermal anomaly you are seeing.

Q. What is the biggest difference between a $3,000 and $10,000 camera?

  • The biggest difference is typically resolution. The higher the resolution, the better picture clarity. This translates to a better picture at a greater distance as well—similar to the megapixels of a regular digital camera.

Q. What is PIP?

  • Picture in Picture (PIP) technology in thermal cameras allows you to overlay a thermal image on top of a regular digital image. Depending on the camera, you may be able to resize the thermal image box. Some cameras also allow for fusion or blending, which allows you to fade the thermal image out over the digital image, increasing visibility of what is below the thermal image. This capability can permit reading of machine labels to identify the specific device being checked or can be used to add detail to exactly where an image was taken.

Q. What is emissivity and why is it important to thermal cameras?

  • Emissivity is the amount of thermal energy an object either emits or absorbs. This is relevant to thermal cameras because highly reflective materials absorb thermal energy, thus the camera can not get an accurate reading of temperature. For example, if you heat a black, PTFE resin-lined frying pan that has a chrome exterior, the black side will read a temperature value closer to the actual temperature, whereas the chrome side will give you values that are far from actual. Most materials fall close to the common preset emissivity value in the camera, but this setting can be changed to accommodate different materials.

Q. How to pick an Infrared Camera? What are important criteria to look for in a camera?

  • Price is a common consideration, but there are few key features to look for:  Resolution: Are you viewing small parts and motors or is the camera for home energy inspection or moisture detection? Motor inspection might require a higher resolution where home energy and moisture can be detected with a slightly rougher image. Another consideration may be whether the unit has a field changeable battery or a car charger. Depending on the application, you may be running the camera for significant periods of time. Obviously, there are many things to consider, but the last one we will cover here is temperature range. Some cameras are ideally suited for industrial applications and will have a higher temperature range for reading electrical panels, motors, heat processes, etc.  Moisture and residential energy loss detection can typically be accomplished with a lower temperature range camera (-4 to 248 degrees Fahrenheit, for example will work extremely well)

IR Thermometers vs FLIR E-Series Point-and-Shoot Infrared Cameras

There is no reason to keep using outmoded technology to solve the modern day problems you deal with daily.  IR thermometers (a.k.a. temperature guns) may seem inexpensive and simple, but they only read one average spot measurement at a time, making them painstakingly slow when scanning multiple targets and large areas.

Thermal cameras like FLIR E-Series, on the other hand, let you see the whole picture instantly. And they capture thousands of temperature measurements in every image, even from a distance, making them safer to use especially when diagnosing electrical problems on energized equipment.

Whether you’re just getting into thermal imaging, or are so convinced of its effectiveness that you want to outfit everyone on your crew with an infrared camera, the new FLIR E-Series is the answer

Still looking for problems one spot at a time?

Temp guns don’t necessarily detect what’s under the laser dot; they only show an average temperature of an area. And the farther away, the less accurate.

Thermal cameras give you thousands of accurate temperature readings in every image, so you’ll get the whole picture – up close or far away.

Read more and see a short technology comparison video here:
http://www.flir.com/thermography/americas/us/view/?id=54290#ixzz2ENUssepn

What applications can a thermal imaging camera be used for?

Thermal imaging cameras are becoming a common tool in the home inspection industry where they are being used to verify building performance to specifications, to determine the insulation is installed or in good condition, locate air leaks, verify structure design and locate moisture intrusion. Of course these are not the only applications to which it can be used. Their use is limited to the imagination of the user. Primarily it is used where the identification of thermal patterns can be used to find something or diagnose a condition such as poor insulation in a home or an overloaded electrical circuit. Some examples include:

What are the applications for Infrared?

Building diagnostics

Infrared Cameras show you exactly where the problems are quickly so you can focus on detecting energy waste, moisture and electrical issues. It’s the cost-effective and easy way to help save your customers money and expand your opportunities.

Read more: http://www.flir.com/thermography/americas/us/view/?id=47239#ixzz2ENU3cnWm

What do thermal imaging cameras see?

Thermal imaging cameras don’t actually see temperature. Instead they capture the infrared (IR) energy transfer from an object to its environment and produce a real time image in a color palette where hotter objects appear brighter and cooler objects appear darker. IR energy is generated by the vibration of atoms and molecules and behaves similarly to visible light where it can be reflected, refracted, absorbed and emitted. The more these atoms and molecules move, the higher the temperature of the object.

What is an Infrared Camera?

Infrared light or thermography is the use of an infrared imaging and measurement camera to “see” and “measure” thermal energy emitted from an object.  Thermal, or infrared energy, is light that is not visible because its wavelength is too long to be detected by the human eye; it’s the part of the electromagnetic spectrum that we perceive as heat.  Unlike visible light, in the infrared world everything with a temperature above absolute zero emits heat.  Even very cold objects, like ice cubes, emit infrared energy.

Read more: http://www.flir.com/thermography/americas/us/view/?id=55680#ixzz2E6mzZCeI

What is an IR thermal imaging camera used for?

Infrared Imaging 101

The higher the object’s temperature, the greater the IR radiation emitted.  Infrared allows us to see what our eyes cannot.  Infrared thermography cameras produce images of invisible infrared or “heat” radiation and provide precise non-contact temperature measurement capabilities.  Nearly everything gets hot before it fails, making infrared cameras extremely cost-effective, valuable diagnostic tools in many diverse applications.  And as industry strives to improve manufacturing efficiencies, manage energy, improve product quality, and enhance worker safety, new applications for infrared cameras continually emerge.

Read more: http://www.flir.com/thermography/americas/us/view/?id=55680#ixzz2E6nbFWUP

What is Infrared Radiation?

What we typically think of as “light” is really electromagnetic radiation that our eyes can see. We perceive the world in the colors of the rainbow, red through violet. But these colors of light are actually a very small portion of the electromagnetic spectrum, shown below. Radio waves, infrared, ultraviolet, x-rays and gamma rays are all forms of electromagnetic radiation of varying energy.

Our eyes are capable of seeing only a very narrow region of the electromagnetic spectrum, and we need special instruments to extend our vision beyond the limitations of the unaided eye. As the energy of light changes, so too does its interaction with matter. Materials that are opaque at one wavelength may be transparent at another. A familiar example of this phenomenon is the penetration of soft tissue by X-rays. What is opaque to visible light becomes transparent to reveal the bones within.

Extending human vision with electronic imaging is one of the most powerful techniques available to science and industry, particularly when it enables us to see light in the infrared, or IR portion of the spectrum. Infrared means “below red,” as infrared light has less energy than red light. We typically describe light energy in terms of wavelength, and as the energy of light decreases, its wavelength gets longer. Infrared light, having less energy than visible light, has a correspondingly longer wavelength. The infrared portion of the spectrum ranges in wavelength from 1 to 15 microns, or about 2 to 30 times longer wavelength (and 2-30 times less energy) than visible light.

Infrared light is invisible to the unaided eye, but can be felt as heat on one’s skin.  Warm objects emit infrared light, and the hotter the object, the shorter the wavelength of IR light emitted. This IR “glow” enables rescue workers equipped with longwave IR sensors to locate a lost person in a deep forest in total darkness, for example. Infrared light can penetrate smoke and fog better than visible light, revealing objects that are normally obscured.  It can also be used to detect the presence of excess heat or cold in a piece of machinery or a chemical reaction. Infrared camera technology is advancing rapidly, with increased performance in smaller packages at lower cost, enabling the use of IR cameras in many new applications.  No wonder that the market for infrared imaging sensors is growing, and Monroe Infrared Technology in partnership with FLIR Systems, is staying at the forefront of this growth.
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Why Measure Temperature?

Temperature is the second most measured, tracked, documented and asked-about measurement human monitor, second only to time. Consider how many times a day people check a clock and check on the weather, on the temperature in their home, in their car, in the school, in the office, etc.  Temperature is important for our healthy, for our comfort, for our food, for our pets, for our businesses, for our vehicles, for our smartphones & computers, and just about any other application you can possibly think of. Temperature dictates when some situations are safe (think of fire fighters, electricians, nuclear power plants, contractors, HVAC technicians, cooks.

Why Use Infrared?

A picture says a thousand words! Infrared thermography is the only diagnostic technology that lets you instantly visualize and verify thermal performance.  Infrared cameras show you thermal problems, quantify them with precise non-contact temperature measurement, and document them automatically in seconds with professional easy-to-create IR reports.

Industry Articles Published

Monroe Infrared regularly provides articles to several industries. We are going to start posting them here for future review by our customers and all those who are exploring infrared and how it can benefit them and their businesses. Please let us hear from you if you have any questions. We attend several trade shows each year and present on the value and uses of infrared technology at many. All the best!

Infrared Thermography Applications

Corporate Options

Companies with multiple facilities need consistency, reliability, and efficient cost controls. Energy accounts for almost 30% of the cost to maintain and operate commercial buildings today.

Energy Awareness & Conservation, Environmental Support & Sustainability

Corporations advertising strong support of these practices can be vitally important to their image and even their perceived value. Monroe Infrared recognizes these corporate needs and provides comprehensive Infrared Inspection Programs nationwide.  Key advantages of partnering with professional and experienced infrared inspection companies include:

  • continuity of process, reporting &results analysis
  • consistency of scheduling, execution & billing
  • centralized communication & information
  • contractor performance auditing/pre-checks
  • certified & experienced thermographers
  • return on investment (ROI) measurements
  • per location IR profile development & trending
  • new construction in-progress & certification checks

Energy Audits, Electro-Mechanical (PM/PDM) Inspections, Flat Roof Scans.  Corporation, insurance companies and those with multiple facilities should consider building a partnership program with a professional infrared services company.  Energy costs are increasing steadily and rapidly.  Energy loss due to controllable and correctable issues are best and most rapidly pinpointed by non-invasive, non-destructive and non-contact Thermal Imaging.

Data Centers – Safety and Operational Security

Infrared Technology for Data Centers

Data Centers today have become the new “cannot fail” critical support operation for companies.  The impacts of shutting down can cost thousands of dollars even for a disruption of only a few minutes.  Regularly scheduled Professional Infrared Inspections of your Data Centers ensure that potential & immediate problem areas are identified for corrective action planning and execution.  Safety is always first and uptime consistency and reliability are right behind it.  There is every reason to discuss this predictive infrared service with accredited and accomplished infrared industry professionals.  Avoid unnecessary & costly issues which are invisible to the naked eye!

Items checked that can be thermally trended include Cooling Systems & Heat Generating Equipment, Electrical Switchgear, Motors & Motor Controls, HVAC Equipment, Uninterruptible Power Supplies, Automatic Transfer Switches, Power Distribution Units, Batteries, and all Electrical Devices.  There is just too much at risk to allow a powerful predictive inspection tool like infrared thermography not to be used regularly at every data center in the country.

Infrared Energy Inspections

Energy is critically important and very expensive. Whether a commercial property, industrial facility, association of condominiums or personal residence, the cost to heat, cool, maintain, light and support people & operations inside requires several forms of Energy. An Infrared Energy Inspection (aka Thermal or Thermography Inspection) is the fastest, most effective and highly efficient non-destructive method to identify and address those areas where heat loss and moisture intrusion are negatively affecting building performance.

Let us show you what you can “see” with Infrared Thermal Imaging Cameras.  There is no other technology (when coupled with the appropriate professional infrared training) that produces such immediate and telling information for building owners, facilities managers, energy auditors and anyone else concerned about controlling energy spend.

Infrared Electrical Inspections

Infrared Inspections of electrical equipment identify excess heat on electrical apparatus and detect electrical issues such as loose connections, faulty fuses, defective breakers, damaged switches, overloaded or imbalanced circuits and a myriad of other problematic electrical conditions. Maintenance personnel utilize Thermography as part of a comprehensive Predictive, Preventive and Proactive Maintenance Program. Minimizing damage to electrical systems, addressing and correcting potential safety and operation-stopping hazards prevents downtime, saves money and protects employees.

Infrared for HVAC-R

Using Infrared thermography can greatly improve your diagnostic of HVAC systems.  Performance and longevity are effected by excessive heat due to fatigued bearings, motors, compressors, fans, pumps, and humidifiers  etc.  Thermal imaging in some cases is helpful in detecting leaks in supply and return ducts which otherwise my go undetected.

Infrared for Mechanical Equipment Inspections

Thermal Fusion image of steam leaking from a pipe due to insufficient insulation.

Some examples of mechanical equipment where thermography is used:

    • Pumps: Overheated connections, fuse problems, overloaded electrical cables, etc…
    • Process valves: Open, closed, leakage
    • Storage tanks: Sludge levels
    • Pipelines: Check if and where there are anomalies, for example locate build up of scale, etc…
    • Motors: Overheating bearings, misalignment, overheated windings
    • Conveyor belts: Overheated bearings
    • Furnace inspections: With a special camera designed to “see through flames” for high temperature industrial furnace applications, ideal for monitoring all types of furnaces, heaters and boilers

Infrared for Mechanical Services

Create a stronger predictive maintenance program, maximize uptime and reduce potential safety hazards using Infrared for Mechanical Services.  Temperature variations found during an Infrared Inspection will identify even the smallest of problems, subsequently averting unscheduled down time or catastrophic damage to mechanical components and machinery.  The knowledge provided by Professional Thermographers on-site conducting infrared inspections is also documented thereafter within your Infrared Inspection Report.  The Inspection Report plus the knowledgeable experience of professionally certified Thermographers help businesses develop (or enhance), implement and maintain cost-effective Predictive, Preventive, and Proactive maintenance program with the inclusion of Infrared.

Some of the many applications using Infrared for Mechanical Services include but are not limited to:

      • Bearings, Hydraulics
      • Boiler Studies
      • Motors
      • Refractory Breakdown
      • Steam Traps
      • Insulated Lines

 

Infrared for Night Safety

Driver safety when exiting and entering your tractor at night is more difficult to ensure than during the day. Darkness creates many places for unsavory people to hide which are impossible for the naked eye to penetrate. With an Infrared camera in hand night is turned into day as heat energy is translated into a video presentation of your surroundings. Carry the IR camera with you as you exit the tractor. Scan the parking areas as you head in or out to your car or the truckstop. The IR camera functions also to improve visibility for pre-and post-trip inspections as well as enroute fuel stop walk-arounds. Prevent surprises and increase your safety with an affordable handheld IR camera in the tractor.

 

Infrared for Predictive Maintenance

Nearly everything that uses or transmits power gets hot before it fails. Cost effective power management is critical to maintaining the reliability of your electrical and mechanical systems. And today, no one would argue that infrared thermography is one of the most effective proven predictive maintenance (PM) technology available to quickly, accurately and safely locate problems prior to failure. Finding and fixing a poor electrical connection before a component fails can save you the much greater costs associated with manufacturing downtime, production losses, power outages, fires and catastrophic failures.

Visual & Baseline Inspections

Infrared Images and Video in conjunction with Visual Images & Video are a tremendous asset to companies.  Whether it is a new line start-up or conversion or post-PM review, the information readily available to maintenance technicians, engineers, operators, OEM reps and others is readily shareable and easy to compare whether you utilize a Computerized Maintenance Management System (CMMS) or not.  Heat signatures for new motors, couplings, controls, steam traps, chillers, and hundreds of other systems can be easily captured, downloaded and stored for regular evaluation of degradation, wear and proactive planning for repair, overhaul or replacement.  Does your operation utilize Thermal Imaging today?  We believe every manufacturing and processing operation should seriously consider this affordable addition to their maintenance program.  Give us a call and we’ll help you make the best selection of thermal imaging cameras for your operation.

Infrared for Recreational and Commercial Boating and Maritime

Safety on or near the water is everyone’s primary responsibility and concern.

Infrared Imagers allow you to see in complete darkness. Whether maneuvering to a mooring anchor after dark, heading out to your boat after dinner for a cruise, getting out of the harbor in the morning hours going to work or immediately identifying people or debris in the water, use of an Infrared Thermal Imager is an efficient and cost-effective tool no mariner should go without.

Safety on the Water

Safety is always top priority when on the water. Limited visibility and darkness are more easily dealt with through the use of an Infrared Imager which senses heat and not light. “See” what your eyes cannot to increase the safety for your crew, your boat and yourself. Channel markers, floating debris and other non-illuminated vessels are all clearly visible with a thermal camera. Thermal cameras keep commercial fishermen working at night while keeping the vessel and her crew safe.  Thermal imagers such as FLIR’s First Mate allow you to see in complete darkness. Whether maneuvering to a mooring anchor after dark, heading out to your boat after dinner for a cruise, getting out of the harbor in the morning hours going to work or immediately identifying people or debris in the water, use of an Infrared Thermal Imager is an efficient and cost-effective tool no mariner should go without.

Flat Roof Infrared Moisture Inspection

Flat Roof Infrared Inspections detect moisture and identifies where it has become entrained (drawn into and transportable within a roof system) long before it breaks through and drips down a wall or onto a floor below. IR Roof Inspections allow for nondestructive identification of specific areas on flat roofs where moisture has infiltrated the substrate and is deteriorating the insulation (R) value of the material, reducing the strength of the overall roof system and negatively impacting the energy costs required to maintain the internal working environment. The IR Inspection can save building owners thousands of dollars by pinpointing problem areas for resolution instead of tearing off part or all of a roof for replacement.

Moisture within walls, insulation or other building material may indicate leaking pipes, condensation issues or other problems leading to corrosion, mold, and mildew. Proactive annual or semi-annual Infrared Roofing Inspections are a tremendous Predictive, Cost-Savings tool for building owners and operators.

Infrared for Security

Infrared Thermal Imagers are the perfect complement to any video, audio and physical presence security network. Infrared allows you to see threats invisible to the naked eye, even in pitch black situations.  Thermal cameras are an economical solution to broad area, limited visibility and low/no light situations which require personnel, employees, students and individuals to move through an area.  The ability of the infrared camera to provide a visible image to “see” in total darkness ensures fewer bumps, falls, surprises and ultimately fewer law breaking situations.

Infrared for the Transportation Industry

Infrared Thermal Cameras provide visibility to things the naked eye cannot see.  Whether it is excess heat coming off an axle bearing, not enough heat coming out of brakes which need adjustment, cold air leaking into a trailer due to an open seam or hole in the roof, or night time personal security when entering and exiting the tractor, an IR camera provides flexibility and security at an affordable price.

Infrared for Trailer Inspections

Thermal cameras allow drivers to identify potentially expensive, time-consuming issues proactively. Seam separations on trailer walls and damaged roofs allow moisture in which create damage claims and/or refused freight. Refusals are the most expensive as the follow on loads cannot be picked up on time. Downtime for repairs creates no revenue for the driver and generally makes for frustration all around. Increase your chances of identifying trailer leaks with the regular inclusion of a handheld infrared camera with every pre-and post-trip, and delivery empty trailer inspection. The thermal video image afforded the driver increases the likelihood of identifying problems several fold and everyone prefers to deal with an issue before sitting at a customer or vendor dock. Additionally, using the IR camera as part of a pre-/ post-trip inspection and regular fuel stop walk-around identifies possible wiring and hose issues which are better addressed while stopped than during a breakdown on the road.

Infrared for Vehicle Maintenance

Checking axle breaks in the yard with as little travel as moving the tractor or trailer from parked to the bay.  Thermal imaging allows you to see a visual presentation of the heat “picture”  the IR camera views.  “See” those brakes out of adjustment or not functioning because they do not heat up or warm enough to confirm solid contact.  Identify seam separations and damaged roof corners which are allowing cold or warm air into van trailers while letting refrigerated air escape from reefers.  Check for insulation issues.  Identify leaks clearly with the infrared image which might be impossible to see with the naked eye.  Wet floors and walls scream out when viewed by the infrared camera.  “Seeing” a heat signature down to 1/100th of a degree allows the trained maintenance pro to predictively identify issues before they become serious enough to fail.

Infrared for Pre- and Post- trip inspections

Any driver worth his or her salt knows that regularly checking your rig keeps it running down the highway safely and on-time. Improve your ability to identify issues proactively by including Infrared for Vehicle Maintenance using a handheld IR camera with your walk around checks. Breaks should be warm and can be easily identified if they are not with an IR camera. Bearings going bad are hotter than normal bearings. Trailer leaks can be easily seen from inside with the IR camera. Wires fraying and starting to short warm up before failing. Hoses starting to crack may be identified. If under the hood fluid leaks can be easily spotted by the IR camera for determination of whether it is a serious issue or just oversplash of washer fluid. Provide the most consistent operation of your tractor trailer combination and increase your earning potential with the inclusion of a durable, handheld IR camera to your toolbox.

Infrared Technology Knowledgebase

Infrared for Building Envelope Inspections
Nearly 30% of the expense to maintain and operate commercial and industrial facilities is attributable to the largest controllable cost – Energy.  Hundreds, thousands and even tens of thousands of dollars can be saved by building owners & operators through the correct application and use of Infrared Thermography Building Envelope Inspections.  IR Thermography is the only proven nondestructive method for identifying moisture and energy loss.  Discover deficient areas within your facilities, reduce operating costs, create more efficient building maintenance practices and reduce greenhouse emissions.

Infrared Imaging for Manufacturing Industries

At manufacturing facilities thermal imaging cameras are used for inspecting a countless number of production equipment and components as well as the complete electrical power supply system.

An infrared image including accurate temperature data provides the maintenance expert with important information about the condition of the inspected object. Inspections are done with the production process in full operation. In many cases the use of a thermal imaging camera can help optimize the production process itself.

Predictive Maintenance

Thermal Imaging for Electrical Applications

Thermal Imaging has proven to be an ideal inspection method for all types of predictive maintenance in the electrical field.  Infrared technology gives us the ability to “see” and measure temperatures on defective components and the normal wear, chemical contamination, corrosion, fatigue and faulty assembly in many electrical systems.  The resistance or molecular friction produced within these problem areas is visible in the infrared spectrum and visible to all the infrared cameras that we offer.  Overheating can occur in virtually all electrical components and hardware including generators, transformers, pole top connections, insulators, disconnects, jumpers, shoe connections, fuse connections, switchgear, starters, contactors and any other hardware one might imagine.   In transmission and distribution systems thermographic surveys can help cut production losses and prevent the eventual failure of these systems.  Utilizing infrared thermography for electrical inspections can help set maintenance priorities, prevent unplanned outages, lower insurance premiums, reduce loss, reduce liability, evaluate repairs, and maintain high performance.

Detect Developing Problem Areas Before Failure Occurs

Utilities – Predictive Maintenance

For utilities, failure is not an option. That’s why infrared thermography has become the core of utility predictive maintenance programs around the world. Utilities depend on thermography to avoid costly failures in power generation, transmission and distribution as infrared cameras help find anomalies before trouble strikes and service is affected.

A bad connection on a transmission line shows up as a clear hot spot in the infrared image. A bad connection results in increased resistance and the current flow generates excessive temperature that can easily be detected with infrared thermography. If not attended to this connection might break, resulting in loss of power.

Electrical contractors know the value of having the right tool available for the job at hand. FLIR offers a wide range of solutions to help you improve the efficiency, accuracy, and safety of your work.

Bolted connection with increased resistance results in heat conducted down the bus bar.

Detect Developing Problem Areas Before Failure Occurs

In production plants, office facilities, hospitals or hotels, an infrared camera instantly makes hot spots visible on a clear thermal image. You can scan electrical cabinets and components and survey multiple wires and connections to get an instant picture of potential trouble. Detect the problem area and repair it before real problems occur. Common electrical targets are fuses, electrical panels, bolted connections and switchgear.

Measure Temperatures in a Non-Contact Mode

A thermal camera allows you to measure the temperature of any object you are looking at in a non-contact mode, without putting yourself in danger. A crosshair or an area in the infrared image allows you to measure either the point value or the max or min value. Detect the most diverse electrical problems instantaneously by seeing them on a thermal image.

Whether it is a lightweight handheld infrared camera that fits easily in a tool belt, or a full-featured, high-definition infrared camera, FLIR can help you build the competitive edge you need in today’s marketplace.

Electrical Equipment

Some examples of electrical equipment where thermography is used:

  • Primary power source: Outdoor high voltage switchyard
  • Switchgear
  • Transformers
  • Low voltage installations: Breaker panels, faulty electrical outlets/wall sockets
  • Fuse panels
  • Motor control centers (MCC)
  • Electrical cabinets

 

To get even more out of your camera investment, you can use your infrared camera to audit energy efficiency of your plant environment, including roofing, heating and cooling systems, and building structures.

 

Read more: http://www.flir.com/thermography/americas/us/view/?id=49526#ixzz2ENVispHE

Mechanical Equipment

Thermal Fusion image of steam leaking from a pipe due to insufficient insulation.

Some examples of mechanical equipment where thermography is used:

  • Pumps: Overheated connections, fuse problems, overloaded electrical cables, etc…
  • Process valves: Open, closed, leakage
  • Storage tanks: Sludge levels
  • Pipelines: Check if and where there are anomalies, for example locate build up of scale, etc…
  • Motors: Overheating bearings, misalignment, overheated windings
  • Conveyor belts: Overheated bearings
  • Furnace inspections: With a special camera designed to “see through flames” for high temperature industrial furnace applications, ideal for monitoring all types of furnaces, heaters and boilers