Infrared and thermal imaging system benefits and applications

Infrared and thermal imaging solutions have become widely available, they've become widely utilized and have become cheaper overall. They bring a number of advantages over visible imaging solutions for certain applications.

02/25/2018


Image courtesy: Bob Vavra, CFE MediaInfrared and thermal imaging solutions are gaining popularity in a number of applications across the globe. Early thermal imaging solutions were expensive and had to have some form of external cooling system. Today, a thermal imaging system no longer needs the bulky cooling system and is far cheaper, making them more accessible and useful in a variety of settings.

As infrared and thermal imaging solutions have become widely available, they've become widely utilized. They bring a number of advantages over visible imaging solutions for certain applications.

Thermal and infrared imaging systems are used in a wide range of industries and applications. For example, they're used in security settings to identify intruders, surveillance applications to monitor critical infrastructure, construction to detect flaws in a building, and agriculture to track crop health, among many other applications.

These types of cameras are often used outdoors to detect light outside of the visible spectrum. The ability to see different spectrums of light has many benefits, regardless of the application.

Infrared and thermal imaging system benefits

While thermal and infrared systems are deployed in a wide range of settings, there are fundamental advantages that non-visible imaging solutions have over visible imaging solutions.

Infrared and thermal imaging systems perform well in low-light and low-visibility situations. This is critical for outdoor applications where light and visibility are a constant variable, and especially useful in security applications—no camouflage will fool a thermal camera.

Infrared and thermal cameras can also be used to measure temperature differences, which is critical for monitoring critical equipment. For example, a thermal camera can monitor electrical equipment—which heats up before it fails—to signal when maintenance or replacement is required.

Thermal and infrared image systems provide great return on investment (ROI) in most applications. In the examples above, keeping a location safe and secure, or avoiding a catastrophic equipment failure, can lead to rapid ROI. Thermal and infrared cameras, with their better performance in low-light situations, often require less initial investment too, as fewer cameras can be used. All of this adds up to reliable ROI.

Infrared and thermal imaging systems have become a common solution for security, surveillance and monitoring applications, among others. Advancing technology, decreasing costs and fundamental advantages over visible imaging solutions in certain applications have all led to the growing use of infrared and thermal imaging systems.

This article originally appeared on the AIA website. The AIA is a part of the Association for Advancing Automation (A3). A3 is a CFE Media content partner. Edited by Chris Vavra, production editor, Control Engineeringcvavra@cfemedia.com.

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