Thermal imaging cameras are powerful and broadly useful tools, with applications ranging from building inspections to research and development of advanced technological components. These instruments reveal vital information and provide crucial context about temperatures and similar factors that often aren't perceptible by human senses alone.

With the right thermal imaging instrument in hand, you and your staff can make more thorough and complete assessments in a simple and straightforward way. Keep reading to learn more about thermal imagers, areas where they're frequently used and how to select the best thermal imager for your organisation's needs.

Thermal imaging cameras are broadly useful in the modern economy.Thermal imaging cameras are broadly useful in the modern economy.

What are thermal imaging cameras?

Thermal imaging cameras can go by many names, including thermographic cameras, infrared cameras and thermal imagers. Despite the variations in name, the intent of these instruments is the same: to detect differences in temperature in a given area and provide a visual representation of those variations.

The key distinguishing element between a traditional camera and a thermal imager is the spectrum of light it captures. Traditional cameras record images using the spectrum of visible light, while infrared cameras only capture infrared radiation. Because infrared is outside the range of visible light for humans, thermal imaging cameras extend visibility beyond natural means.

Thermal imaging cameras are so effective in large part because everything above the temperature of absolute zero emits infrared radiation, as Tech Briefs explained. Modern thermal imaging instruments have the sensitivity to effectively represent differences in temperature in a visual format that makes the situation clear to users.

What is a thermal imaging camera used for?

Thermal imagers have a wide variety of industrial and commercial uses. At Testo, we provide thermal imaging instruments for a wide variety of use cases, including:

  • Building thermography, to detect thermal bridges and defects.
  • Building inspection, to identify potential areas of mould contamination, among other tasks.
  • Quality assurance, to ensure products leaving the production line are at the expected temperature.
  • Research and development, to ensure prototypes and test products stay within a safe temperature range.
  • Heating engineering, to ensure heating systems work properly and identify leaks without having to conduct a direct visual inspection.
  • Maintenance, to identify preventive maintenance opportunities and reduce the potential for major failures and similar issues.

Thermal imaging cameras have proven themselves useful across the modern economy. Whether it's a widespread need like building HVAC maintenance or highly specialised roles like monitoring the temperature of a prototype circuit board, thermal imagers play a vital role.

What should you look for in a thermal camera?

The standards for thermal cameras vary greatly depending on their intended purpose. In some cases, a basic camera will perform consistently and effectively, such as in building inspection and maintenance. In others, higher thermal sensitivity and resolution are required for useful results, such as in research and development. However, there are some basic specifications that every thermal imaging camera should offer:

  • Minimum resolution of 160 x 120 pixels.
  • Thermal sensitivity less than 120 millikelvins — meaning visualisations of temperature differences as slight as 0.12 C.
  • Intuitive, simple controls.

Other factors to keep in mind aren't related to the operation of the camera itself or the imaging results, but the ease with which such information can be shared with others. Modern thermal imaging tools also offer software that makes analysis and reporting a more streamlined affair.

What thermal camera options are available from Testo?

Testo provides businesses with a variety of thermal imaging instruments designed to meet specific needs. Broadly, our range of solutions breaks down into three categories:

  1. Basic, sturdy and reliable thermal imagers, perfect for applications like building inspections.
  2. Professional-grade thermal imagers.
  3. High-end thermal imagers.

To learn more about how Testo can provide the right thermal imaging instrument for your needs, get in touch with us today.