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Thermal Imaging Surveys FAQ
Thermal imaging uses heat-sensitive cameras to detect subtle differences in temperature. These cameras can detect temperature differences of less than 1ºC.
Originally designed for military use, thermal cameras are often seen used for search and rescue. Other applications include firefighters, who use the technology to see through smoke.
For non-contact measurement, thermal cameras can identify, capture and assess heat loss. This is used to inspect buildings, electrical equipment, rotating machinery and devices.
Any object with a temperature above absolute zero (-273.15ºC) emits infrared radiation. The higher the temperature of the object, the greater the intensity of infrared radiation.
Infrared technology is designed to detect the intensity of radiation given off by an object. Once detected, a thermal camera creates an image of the object – based on the radiation it emits. This image is rendered using artificial colours, turning invisible radiation into a visible image.
Once captured, thermal images can be analysed to establish patterns and interruptions. For example, a loose connection in an electrical circuit or heat loss in a commercial building.
Thermal imaging cameras can only detect heat as it radiates off of an object, and as such cannot “see” through solid objects such as brick walls.
Thermal cameras are also unable to “see” through glass. Windows, for example, will block all infrared radiation from being seen by standard, ‘long-wave’ cameras. This is why windows or glass in thermal images often appear as ‘cold blocks’.
This depends on your project and requirements. For example, a basic thermal survey for a building starts at £595 (excluding VAT).
The main cost involved with a thermal imaging survey is the equipment.
It’s important to note that glass is opaque to most wavelengths of infrared light. As a result, IR cameras do not use conventional glass lenses. Instead, exotic materials such as germanium must be used.
Because of this, the cost of an inspection-grade infrared camera can range from £8,000 up to £40,000.
Cheaper infrared cameras are available. But the poor resolution makes them unsuitable for commercial surveys. For example, a FLIR C2 camera has only 4,800 measurement pixels. Whereas a professional IR camera can have up to 786,432. Fewer pixels means a lower resolution, which can lead to faults and defects being missed. Lower-range cameras also have a poorer sensitivity, making captured data less reliable.
Despite the equipment costs, infrared surveys are still the most cost-effective way to identify heat loss.
Thermal cameras cannot take accurate readings without adjustments. Factors such as reflectivity and emissivity must be changed to collect reliable information.
Accreditation verifies that a thermographer can:
- Operate an infrared camera
- Collect accurate temperature data
- Create reliable thermal inspection reports
Our thermographers are accredited by both the British Institute of Non-Destructive Testing and the Awarding Body of the Built Environment. In addition to this, we have PCN Category 2 and 3 thermographers who are approved by the UKTA to conduct BREEAM thermal imaging surveys.
iRed is CHAS Accredited, Cyber Essentials Tier 1 Certified, CAA Approved and ISO 9001:2015 Certified.
We’re a technology and innovation leader with a sixteen-year history of specialisation in infrared thermography. Our research-led development has broadened the thermal imaging technology platform in recent years to also include multispectral, photogrammetry and advanced camera deployment using drones.
We utilise remote sensors to capture electromagnetic waves – such as visible light and infrared – which allows us to assess factors such as heat, condition and reliability. Using this data, we’re able to improve efficiency, productivity and safety for our clients.
Our team is at the forefront of researching, developing and delivering standardised, non-destructive inspection techniques in a range of industries including:
- Energy efficiency and compliance within the built environment
- Safety and compliance for electrical and mechanical systems
- Measurement solutions for Building Information Modelling (BIM)
- Plant health and management in agriculture and viticulture
- Service and infrastructure analysis for facilities management
- Fault detection and maintenance for photovoltaic installations
iRed works closely with leading academic institutions such as the University of Portsmouth and University of Plymouth to pioneer new techniques and practices for industry. This has led to us being accredited by the British Institute of Non-Destructive Testing (BINDT) and the Awarding Body of the Built Environment (ABBE) to deliver certified training in infrared thermography. We’re also approved by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) to deliver commercial drone training for new and existing operators.
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