This section provides overview, applications, and principles of thermal cameras. Also, please take a look at the list of 17 thermal camera manufacturers and their company rankings.
A thermal camera is a camera that detects the surface temperature of an object and displays it as an image.
The image captured by a thermal camera is called thermography. Thermal images taken with a thermal camera differ from images taken with the human eye or a normal camera. With a thermal camera, the areas of the image where the temperature is high are displayed in red, and areas of the image where the temperature is low are displayed in blue. From this image, it is possible to determine the surface temperature, which cannot be determined just by looking at the image.
Thermal cameras can also be used in cases where it is difficult to touch the object to be measured since they can detect temperatures without touching the object.
Thermal cameras are used in a variety of situations.
Machine monitoring in factories and electrical facilities
Thermal cameras are widely used to measure human body temperatures because they are non-contact and can quickly and easily determine a person's body temperature. Also, since the measurement is non-contact, temperature changes during the operation of machinery in factories and electrical facilities can be measured without danger to the person being measured and without affecting the object being measured by the temperature measurement.
Furthermore, thermal cameras are also used for purposes other than temperature measurement. Using their ability to sense temperature, thermal cameras can detect the presence of objects with different temperatures in an environment where the temperature is somewhat constant, such as at sea, even if the objects are so present that they cannot be seen visually. Since thermal cameras detect temperature, they can detect objects even when visibility is poor, such as at night or in the rain.
Thermal cameras detect infrared radiation emitted by an object and measure and display the temperature of the object by judging the intensity of the infrared radiation. All objects above absolute zero emit infrared radiation, and since this energy is known to be proportional to the magnitude of the absolute temperature, it is possible to measure temperature from infrared radiation.
A thermal camera receives the infrared light emitted from an object with an internal detector, scans it, and then processes the A/D-converted and temperature-converted data into an image that is displayed as a thermographic image in red, blue or other colors that the human eye can easily see.
Since human visibility depends on the state of visible light, visibility is affected by weather conditions and time of day, but thermal cameras detect infrared light emitted by the object and can display thermographic images without problems even when the state of visible light in the environment, for example, visibility is poor for humans.
Thermocouples and thermometers commonly used in the home detect the temperature by contact using heat conduction from the object. Thermal cameras, on the other hand, utilize thermal radiation from the object and can measure temperatures in a non-contact manner without directly touching the object, which is the main difference between thermal cameras and thermography.
Thermal cameras can be classified into the handy type and stationary type, on-press type, and cloud type based on the data storage method.
Thermal cameras used to measure human body temperature can be broadly divided into two types: handheld and stationary.
Handheld thermal cameras are easy to carry and are used in stores, reception areas, commercial facilities, etc., to reliably measure the body temperature of a small number of people.
Stationary thermal cameras are suitable for use in places where the body temperatures of many people need to be measured at once or where constant temperature measurement is required. Stationary thermal cameras are also available in camera and dome types, which are suitable for measuring a wide range of temperatures.
Thermal cameras can be classified into the on-premise and cloud computing types, depending on where the measurement data is stored. On-premise-type systems use their servers. This has the advantages of "being able to use existing company facilities" and "having a high degree of freedom in linking with the company's systems." On the other hand, the disadvantage is that operation and maintenance costs are high.
On the other hand, cloud computing is a system that uses cloud servers. Cloud computing has the advantages of "easy data sharing among multiple locations" and "low operation and maintenance costs." On the other hand, there may be security issues depending on the environment, but there are services that provide a complete set of thermal cameras, applications, and a secure connection environment.
Thermal cameras differ from regular thermometers in that they measure the surface temperature of human skin. The surface temperature is greatly affected by the season and the external environment. Therefore, if the temperature is measured immediately after entering a room from outside in winter, the surface temperature will be lower, and if the temperature is measured immediately after exercising in summer, the surface temperature will be higher.
Therefore, it is important to take into account the differences in the environment before and after the measurement in order to measure body temperature with high accuracy using a thermal camera. One method for highly accurate measurement is to use a black body.
This black body is a device used to calibrate body temperature. The temperature of the black body and the intensity of the infrared radiation emitted by the black body are used as a reference for temperature compensation in the thermal camera. This allows us to keep the error of the thermal camera itself to a minimum.
Daily temperature checks are extremely important to prevent infectious diseases.
Thermal cameras are already being used in a variety of locations due to the following advantages:
When considering the use of a thermal camera, there are different factors to consider depending on where the camera will be used and what is to be inspected. For example, in areas where a large number of people come and go, AI-equipped thermal cameras are effective.
If abnormal temperatures are detected, an alert will be issued. This system is used in airports, hospitals, large commercial facilities, etc., where large numbers of people come and go, and it is difficult to inspect each person on time.
*Including some distributors, etc.
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