Rise of Thermal Imager Technology

February 11, 2019

Thermal images of different prices

thermal overlay of home insulation

The Rise of Thermal Imaging Camera

In this day and age, the industry of digital technology has paved its way up and above everyone else. With smartphones, flat screen televisions, and personal computers ranking first, second, and third for the most purchased items in the world, there is no doubt that digital transformation is happening and we are becoming more aware of it.

One technological product that has evolved and is now creating a buzz and a massive impact on our society is the camera. Nicephore Niepce, a well-known inventor in France, was the one who invented the first ever camera in 1816; however, the evolution of the camera did not stop there. As time goes by, people became more knowledgeable that we tend to thrive for more and want to surpass what we have done.

 

Different types of cameras were then developed, cameras that are used for different reasons. From digital cameras to action cameras, it became clear that there is already a huge trend for every household to have a camera in their possession. Either it is to hoard memories or to shoot a video; people around the world are being impacted by cameras in so many ways.

And just when you thought that it could not get any better, thermal imaging camera or the thermal imager was introduced.

All About Thermal Imagers

Developed by Kalman Tihanyi, a physicist from Hungary, the thermographic camera or more commonly known as thermal imaging camera has been around since 1929 until it was enhanced to cater to various activities and industries.

The main reason why Tihanyi developed the thermal imager is because he wanted to help the military during the Korean War. To date, the thermal imager is being widely used by firefighters. In the United States, firefighters have grown to adopt and rely on the usage of a thermal imaging camera despite its hefty price. The equipment is known to be expensive, but because it is a helpful tool we have no problem purchasing it.

Thermal imaging cameras have the capability to sense radiation in the form of visible or infrared light. People who use it especially firefighters will be able to see areas of heat through the darkness, heat-permeable barriers, and even thick smoke. The thermal imager then produces a thermal image that lets us know the temperature of an object or better, allow us to know the object’s temperature relative to its surrounding.

Aside from that, thermal imagers have high performance because they are made using water-resistant and heat-resistant housings. Developers also made sure that the device is ruggedized in order to repel the threats in any operation or activity.

 

A regular thermal imager has the following components:

  • Display
  • Optic System
  • Signal Processing
  • Amplifier
  • Detector

These five components are the main reasons why a thermal imager could render infrared radiation and could provide a visible light representation in real time. Such cameras are also classified as handheld or helmet-mounted.

Through the years of exploring the technological prowess of thermal imaging cameras, we have discovered that the device has many uses. For one, it could be utilized by law enforcement whenever they have to manage surveillance activities like locating criminals and conducting rescue missions. A thermal imager is also helpful to building technicians as they could use it to locate heat and air leaks, overheating joints, and even preventing possible failures in an infrastructure.

 HVAC inspection with thermal imager

How Does A Thermal Imager Detect Temperatures?

All of this could be achieved easily, but how? Is there a certain process that goes within the thermal camera? The answer is, yes.

Understanding the device is really important. You must first know how a thermal imaging camera detects and analyzes heat temperatures. Many people thought that just by pointing it to a specific direction, the thermal imager could automatically capture a thermal image or thermal sensitivity. Little do they know there is still a process for achieving a heat sensing vision.

Instead of capturing external features, which are what normal cameras do, a thermal imager opts to detect and capture wavelengths of infrared light or most commonly known as IR using various sensors.

A bolometer is a type of sensor in the thermal imaging camera that has the capability to absorb thermal radiation, altering resistance as a result. The change in resistance can be measured electrically, wherein an object’s radiation is decided.

But, it does not stop there as thermal imagers still need to sense the thermal properties of the object that we’re trying to measure. The following factors determine an object’s thermal properties:

 

ABSORPTION

You must understand that the level of wavelengths being detected by the thermal imaging camera depends on the object being measured. Different items or materials could absorb certain wavelengths of light.

TRANSMISSION

Just like the process of ABSORPTION, an object can transmit a certain level of wavelengths. When detected by a thermal imager, an object can reflect some wavelengths and absorb some.

EMISSION

This is actually the most important factor in determining thermal properties. You must know that in a given equivalent temperature two unlike items will appear to be at distant temperatures.

REFLECTIVITY

Believe it or not, radiation can also be reflected, depending on the reflectivity and the condition of the surface of an object. Some sources of radiation could also bounce off the object and strike the sensors of the thermal imaging camera.

 Termite extermination with thermal imager

Who’s On Top of the Thermal Imager Leaderboard?

The inevitable market demand for thermal imagers is not really a rocket science. It is just a matter of time for the device to blossom, even more, giving companies and developers a chance to showcase their different versions of thermal imaging cameras.

Companies like FLIR and FLUKE are the primetime king and queen when it comes to developing top of the line thermal imagers; however, there is another player whose work is as impressive and as successful as FLIR and FLUKE.

PerfectPrime is a well-known company that develops and provides customers with innovative and unique products like a thermal imaging camera. You have heard a thing or two about PerfectPrime and the most common one about it is that they manufacture and develop thermal imagers with high-resolution color display and a wide range of performing capacity.

Companies that focus on creating thermal imagers are trying to outsmart their competitors by inserting various features into their cameras. Some of these features include good thermal sensitivity, well image quality, and accurate temperature measurement. Needless to say, PerfectPrime offers all of that. It doesn’t stop there, as its cameras are also affordable, making the company one of the leading creators of thermal imaging cameras.

The IR0018 is currently the PerfectPrime’s best selling thermal imaging camera model. With its lithium-ion battery, IR0018 can withstand long operations. It has a large screen that offers a suitable resolution, perfect for viewing crystal clear images. It also has an integrated 4 GB SD card and a maximum warranty of 36 months, depending on the product registration.

How Do You Know if You’re on the Right Track?

If you are planning to purchase a thermal imaging camera for the first time, here are some helpful tips on choosing the right thermal imager for you. Aside from capturing a proper thermal image and indicating temperature measurement, a good thermal imaging camera must possess the following qualities:

  1. A good thermal imager must be accurate when it comes to detecting and measuring the differences in temperature.
  2. Just like any other device, our thermal imaging camera should be durable. Make sure that it could last long, especially if it’s going to be used in tough situations like securing and monitoring a specific infrastructure or happening.
  3. Look for a thermal imager that offers a wide temperature range. It should be able to calculate if there is going to be a wide disparity in temperatures.
  4. If a thermal imaging camera is accurate enough to determine the difference between visible images and thermal images, then that is the one you choose.
  5. A good thermal imager must have a high-quality resolution in order to detect not just normal temperatures but also small objects like air leaks and a lot more.

 

Thermal imaging cameras have already come a long way. It could be utilized in different applications, either be it for inspecting a building, machine vision and automation, high-end surveillance, or any thermographic activity. A thermal imager has proved its importance and is continuously making a bold move to better services in our society.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  

 

 

 

 



x