Infrared Training Center

Friday, January 26, 2018

Lens Choice for Looking Through IR Windows

by Gary Orlove
More and more organizations are installing IR windows or sight glasses in their electrical equipment so inspections can be made with an infrared camera.
The advantages are obvious: worker safety is improved as thermographers and electricians don't have to open live electrical cabinets, and inspection times can be reduced.
However, what lens choice is the best to use with your infrared camera to provide adequate resolution, and yet see as much of the electrical equipment as possible?
Here are three images that were taken at a power plant looking at an ISO phase buss. The buss is only about a foot away and is taken looking through an infrared window (crystal type).
25 deg.
45 deg.
90 deg.
Images courtesy - John Fricot, FLIR Systems
As you can plainly see, the 90° lens is clearly the way to go.  It provides enough detail for analysis, yet extends your field of view by a huge amount.

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

How the temperature of your nose shows how much strain you are under

Researchers at the University of Nottingham's Institute for Aerospace Technology (IAT), together with academic staff from the Bioengineering and Human Factors Research Groups, have demonstrated that facial temperatures, which can be easily measured using a non-invasive thermal camera, are strongly correlated to mental workload.

It was found that the effect is most pronounced above the sinuses around the nose, and that facial temperatures were reduced as participants carried out tasks of increasing difficulty.

The results show that when people are fully focused on a task, their breathing rate changes as the autonomic nervous system takes over. There may also be a diversion of blood flow from the face to the cerebral cortex as the mental demand increases, although this is the subject of further research.

Read the entire article

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

FLIR Home Energy Audit Tools

What tools do Home Energy Auditors and Home Inspectors use? Shopping for the right Home Energy Auditor or Home Inspector can be a timely process. Beyond their certifications and experience, you should also consider the types of tools they use to perform their tasks.

Here’s a video with Tom O’toole of FLIR Systems and Flemming Lund, a certified Energy Auditor & Home Inspector, talking about the tools used in the various phases involved in a home energy audit.

Thursday, January 4, 2018

Cost Avoidance/Energy Savings for IR Thermography

"Has anyone documented Cost Avoidance Or Potential energy savings using Thermography. Ex. Downtime, Labor, Materials. I would be interested in understanding how you determined final cost or energy savings."

This is the $64,000 question, how to justify the cost and benefits of an IR program. The methods used vary depending on your situation, what downtime costs in your facility, overtime and rush ordering to get new parts, lost production cost, your energy cost, etc.

I have selected several white papers that illustrate how different organizations have calculated their costs. Use them as examples of what can be done, and how they are presented.

Use this link to download the files.

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

InfraMation 2018 - Call for Papers and Abstracts

inframation2018-logoInfraMation 2018 will be held in Austin, Texas, September 11-14, 2018 and we are thrilled to be heading to the "Live Music Capital of the World". Austin is known for its vibrant buzzing energy, never-ending entertainment options, and stunning outdoor settings. One thing is for sure, we will be ready to paint the town InfraRED! Join other thermal imaging experts to learn the latest thermal imaging techniques and applications, and make valuable connections!

Hilton Austin has been chosen as the InfraMation 2018 host hotel. Hilton Austin is situated right in downtown Austin, TX, just a quick walk from exclusive shopping, amazing restaurants, and a multitude of live music venues on 6th Street and the surrounding area. InfraMation attendees receive a deeply discounted rate of $199/night plus taxes. Based on availability, this incredible rate can be extended 3 days post or prior if you'd like to stay a bit longer!

Submit your abstract through this simple online form.

Benefits & Requirements - Why should you present at InfraMation 2018?
  • Qualify for a deeply discounted conference registration fee
  • Identify yourself as an infrared thermal imaging expert in your field
  • Earn valuable certification renewal credit
  • Further validate your expertise for clients and customers
  • Expand your professional and business referral network
  • Represent your organization on a big stage
Publish your paper on a searchable CD that every InfraMation attendee receives. InfraMation is the leading infrared training experience in the world. As thermal imaging becomes more mainstream, early adopters such as yourself will be sought out for your extensive know how and experience. Simply put: InfraMation is the place to get recognized! The only "hard" requirements are that your paper be non-commercial in nature (for sponsorship or exhibition opportunities, click here) and submitted in English. Abstract approval is based on clarity, suitability, and technical merit of work.

Suggested Topic Areas
  • Buildings
    • Roofing Systems
    • Water Ingress / Moisture / Remediation / Mold Testing
    • Insulation / Air Leakage / Energy Loss
    • Standards & Certification
    • Pest Detection and Control
  • Condition Monitoring
    • Electrical Distribution - Indoor, Outdoor, Transmission, Distribution
    • Mechanical Applications - Bearings, Gearboxes, Conveyors, Steam,
    • Hydraulic
    • Standards & Certification
    • Petrochemical Applications
  • Business
    • Marketing/Sales/Pricing
    • Program Management / Cost Avoidance / Cost Saving
    • Safety
  • Research & Science Applications
  • Medical/Veterinary Applications
  • Optical Gas Imaging Applications
  • IR Report Preparation Techniques
  • Aerial Drone and UAV Applications / Techniques
  • Public Safety
  • Non-Destructive Testing - Material flaws, voids, etc.
  • Alternative / other Applications / Other Technologies

What the heck is Emissivity? (Part 2)

Fill up two soda cans with hot water and wrap one in scotch tape. Which one will cool down faster? Obvious, right? Check it out, you might be surprised!

Infrared Training Center

Friday, December 8, 2017

What the Heck is Emissivity? (part 1)

Fill two soda cans with hot water and wrap one with scotch tape. Which one will radiate more heat? You might be surprised at the answer! Watch the video to find out why.

Thursday, November 16, 2017

It is Not Always about Loose Contacts

by Ahmed Osman Mohamed Hamoudy
Electrical PM & PdM Engineer
Cemex, Egypt

In modern industries, there are many predictive maintenance techniques that can be utilized to avoid an unexpected failure. At CEMEX,  we count on those techniques and deploy them in such a way as to get the most use from it, and avoid any undesirable consequences. IR thermography's use has become widespread in cement plants; application areas typically include rotating kilns, insulation, mechanical, and electrical systems.

This article will explore the uses of IR thermography, specifically as part of the Motor Control Center systems predictive maintenance routine, including typical electrical panel failure points (contactor, terminations, feeding breaker, fuses, cables, etc...).

Figure 1. Rotary Kiln

One of the Clinker Rotary Kilns (4,500 Tons per Day) is supposed to be available for operation not less than a year, which is a challenge of course, to guarantee continuous operation for the kiln system for this time without any unexpected shutdown.

Monday, November 13, 2017

Emissivity and Reflected Temperature

What should I enter for my emissivity and reflected temperature values?
First, ask yourself how are you using your thermal imager?  Is it to identify thermal patterns or measure temperatures?  If you are simply trying to locate thermal patterns such as missing insulation or air leakage in a building (what is called qualitative thermography) measuring an exact temperature really isn’t necessary.  In these situations, leave the values at their default settings (typically 0.95 for emissivity and 68F/20C for reflected temperature) and go for it.

If you need to measure an exact temperature of a motor or a bearing (what is called quantitative thermography) then correctly setting emissivity and reflected temperature is a must to get the most accurate reading.  Doing so, however, should only be attempted by properly trained and certified thermographers…those who are the most qualified to measure temperatures with an infrared camera.

Thermography Certification Dates and Locations

What Is the Best Approach Until Then?
We recommend using the following basic guideline for taking simple measurements.  Know there are many other factors you will need to consider which are covered thoroughly in all ITC training classes.  Until then, to get started, let’s first define emissivity and reflected temperature.

What is Emissivity?
Emissivity is how efficiently an object radiates heat.  It’s defined as the ratio of infrared energy emitted by the object, compared to that emitted by an ideal blackbody, if both are at the same temperature.  It is represented as either a percent or a decimal.

Surfaces exhibit emissivity values ranging anywhere from 0.01 to 0.99.  A highly polished metallic surface such as copper or aluminum are often below 0.10 and are practically an infrared mirror.  Heavily oxidized metallic surfaces will have a much higher emissivity (0.6 or greater depending on the surface condition and the amount of oxidation).  Most flat-finish paints are around 0.90 (in long-wave infrared) while human skin and water are about 0.98.

What is Reflected Temperature?
Reflected temperature (also known as background temperature or Treflected) is any thermal radiation originating from other objects that reflects off the target you are measuring.  To properly obtain an accurate surface temperature reading with thermal imaging, this value (along with that of emissivity) must be quantified and programmed into the camera’s “Object Parameters” (or corresponding software if processing a saved image).  This is used so that the software can compensate for, and ignore, the effects of this radiation as it does not relate to the actual surface temperature of the object you are measuring.

For higher emissivity objects, reflected temperature has less influence.  For lower emissivity objects, however, it’s a critical factor that *must be* understood carefully!   As emissivity decreases, what you are measuring (and seeing thermally) is coming more from the surfaces of surrounding objects (including the camera and operator), not the target you are inspecting.

How to Take a Basic Temperature Measurement
The easiest way to get an accurate measurement is to modify the surface with a material that has a high, known, and consistent emissivity value.  Standard electrical tape, with its emissivity of .95, is one such item that works well for this purpose.

If the surface is safe to touch, simply adhere a piece of electrical tape to that object and set the camera’s emissivity value to 0.95.  Next set the reflected temperature to an appropriate value for the environment.  A stable, room temperature environment will provide the best results.  If you’re still unsure what that value might be, we strongly suggest a minimum of Level I Certification training to understand this concept further.

Next, measure the temperature of the tape with the camera’s spot meter or other measurement tool, being sure that the spot meter’s circle (called the reticle) is filled completely by the target.  IMPORTANT SAFETY NOTE: This “tape method” should *only be utilized* on stationary surfaces that can be accessed safely and are okay to touch.  If attempting this type of measurement on an electrical component, the circuit *must* first be shut off and locked-out/tagged-out before proceeding.

What About Measuring Emissivity and Reflected Temperature on Other Surface Types?
For other surface types, or if temperature measurement accuracy on a variety of other objects is important for you and your inspection program, a minimum of a Level I Thermography Certification Training course is required.   Level I will teach you how to correctly adjust emissivity and reflected temperature on a variety of other components including those that are electrically energized or are difficult to access.  Attendees will learn about the proper procedures needed to evaluate both to ensure thermographers are getting the most accurate temperature readings with their thermal imager.

To learn more about these certification classes, as well as upcoming training dates and locations, please visit the Infrared Training Center online at

Thursday, October 26, 2017

Windshield Glass Reflections - How to Remove Them

by Bernie Lyon, Gary Orlove, and Jason Gagnon

"I do a lot of windshield defrost testing at different temps. And I wonder is there any way that can keep from having the camera and myself reflected back into the images."

Glass is about 15% reflective in the 8-12 micrometer waveband. If you are directly facing the windshield, you will inevitably get a reflection of yourself and the camera. I'm sure you have seen this.

One option is to change the angle at which you are observing the windshield, see the image below. If you are at point A, you and the camera will be reflected. If you are at point B, the camera will reflect whatever is above the vehicle, represented by C.


If there are hot objects or objects with temperature variations above the vehicle, that might make things worse. They will reflect off of the glass. If possible, you could place a high emissivity piece of material above the windshield so that all reflections off of the glass are uniform. A large piece of cardboard or a blanket might do well.

This way, you will observe only temperature changes, not patterns due to non-uniform reflections.

Another option is to use image subtraction techniques (you will have to have software which supports this, such as FLIR ThermaCAM Researcher).

  1. Take an image before running the defroster.
  2. Then save images as you normally would.
  3. Subtract the first image from the succeeding ones. The resulting image will show only changes in temperature and the reflections will have been eliminated. See the series of images below: