FEATURE

Feel the heat

Warren Clark rounds up the latest products available in the field of thermal imaging

Among the thermal imaging products currently available is the WSTB Mk-IV, a wide spectrum beacon available from BFI Optilas (www.bfioptilas.com). Operating in the 3-12µm spectrum, it is ideal for use as a vehicle-mounted IFF system.

With omni-directional radiation (2° strad), it can be detected and recognised at 4km distance when using LWIR cameras, and up to 9km distance when using MWIR cameras (for example the Axsys RangePRO camera with InSb detector and 250mm lens). By using the Near-IR LED option, it can also be recognised at 4-9km by nightvision (intensified CCD) imagers (dependent on the used optics, sensor sensitivity, atmospheric conditions, etc).

BFI Optilas is also offering the EOSS 150DU thermal imaging system, manufactured by Axsys-Infrared Products. This is a compact mid-range marine surveillance system including one LWIR (8-12µm) uncooled microbolometer thermal camera with dual field of view 50/150mm F/1.0 lens and one boresighted low light-level CCD colour camera with 18X zoom, both integrated onto a 360° variable speed pan/tilt system with presets.

It comes with a rugged and user-friendly joystick control unit, a complete display interface module, and it is 100 per cent compliant with all modern communication protocols (RS232, PelcoD, Ethernet, TASS, etc).

From the same range is the LanScout 150-S thermal imaging camera, a compact environmentally-sealed thermal camera integrating a 25µm-pitch uncooled microbolometer and 150mm F/1.0 hard carbon-coated lens. The sealed IP67 packaging of this camera, backfilled with dry nitrogen, and using front element defroster, will guarantee its 24/7 operation in all kinds of weather and temperature.

The complete LanScout series is available with either 51µm-pitch or 25µm-pitch VOx micro-bolometer detectors, with a large choice of single-field or dual-field of view lenses.

BFI is distributing the thermal IR 2x lens extender from L3 Communications Infrared Products, which can be fitted, to either the Thermal-Eye X100xp or Thermal-Eye X200xp to extend optical range by a factor of two. With the lens adapter, the X100xp man detection range extends to 600m, instead of 300m and the X200xp man detection range extends to 1km.

Thermoteknix (www.thermoteknix.com) has introduced the Miricle range of thermal imaging cameras, which can provide OEMs with high performance thermal imaging in highly compact, lightweight, low power, rugged, modular designs. Miricle cameras feature powerful embedded software, a choice of analogue and digital video outputs and are available as 384 x 288 or 640 x 480 detector resolutions in a range of housings, configurations and options. The camera systems are available for supply to global markets with a wide choice of lenses and configurations to suit integration or applications.

Armstrong Optical (www.armstrongoptical.co.uk) has introduced a range of blackbody sources. Blackbodies are reference sources used for testing infrared systems. They are required in industry for calibration of pyrometers, radiometers, spectrum analysers, infrared line scanners or cameras.

The JQG-300 is a blackbody system with an effective 125mm circular emitting area. Offering flexible temperature setup between +5ºC and 300ºC, high resolution of 0.01ºC and uniform radiation, it is a suitable choice for the calibration of infrared camera systems and thermography cameras.

Being able to offer solutions from individual uncooled sensor modules right through to thermography cameras with digital video data links has enabled Armstrong Optical to provide cost-effective solutions to many different market requirements.

Uncooled sensor array modules range in resolution from a 160 x 120 pixel system up to a 384 x 288 pixel product. These modules have been designed specifically for easy integration into third-party products and are true ‘plug-n-play’ devices.

Thermal imaging cameras for security/surveillance applications (IR110, IR210 and IR516) have been produced with lens options for increased flexibility. All can be remotely controlled via built-in serial links and can also be easily interfaced to an optional digital (or analogue) video data link.

Cedip Infrared Systems (www.cedip-infrared.com) has launched the Altair Li system, which employs a high-performance infrared focal plane array camera to provide high quality thermal images of stress in materials and structures under dynamic loading conditions.

Using proprietary software, these thermal images are converted into full-field stress images in real time. The Altair Li system has the versatility to provide precise stress testing of structural components under random, transient or dynamic loading. In applications where there is a large displacement a novel software feature is available to provide accurate motion compensation.

When used to measure heat dissipation on a structure under dynamic loading (D-mode) the Altair Li system can also be used to rapidly determine the material’s fatigue limit and provide information on the damage mechanism involved.

Also available from Cedip is the Silver 660M, which has been designed for the most demanding users of IR technology, who need to perform thermal imaging at high spatial resolution with leading-edge sensitivity and accuracy – all at an affordable price.

The camera brings together Cedip’s high performance cooled Indium Antimonide (3-5µm) staring focal plane array detector with the latest ROIC technology. The result is a large format (640 x 512 pixels) cooled IR camera that delivers a 100Hz full-frame rate while maintaining extraordinary linearity, high resolution and uncompromised sensitivity (typically 15 mK).

In conjunction with its sister company Polytech, Cedip has also developed the Flytherm Airborne Target Signature Analysis system.

Nowadays as warfare and security scenarios become increasingly complex there is a definitive and growing need to completely identify and characterise the target signature of threats, whatever the environment, viewing distance or relative angular position.

Flytherm is a complete four-axis gimbal system capable of hosting a variety of high performance SWIR, MWIR and LWIR focal plane array sensors with real-time storage capabilities and post processing image analysis. Compact in design (350mm diameter) the typical weight of Flytherm may vary between 20 and 30kg allowing its use even with slow-speed planes or small helicopters.

Available through LOT Oriel (www.lotoriel.co.uk), Flir Systems’ ThermoVision SC6000 HS camera is ideal for any infrared industrial, scientific, or military use. Typical ThermoVision SC6000 applications include pulsed laser detection, atmospheric phenomenology, non-destructive testing, and target signature research at longer distance.

The SC6000 HS outputs 14-bit digital data at rates up to 50 Megapixels per second, yielding 125Hz frame rates for 640 x 512 pixels imagery.

InfraTec (www.infratec.de) provides a wide range of high-performance thermographic systems for the most varied applications in research and development. InfraTec proves that thermographic real-time measurements within the midwave range (2-5µm) do not have to be expensive. Its VarioTHERM comes with a frame rate of 50Hz. The 16-bit measurement data can easily be transferred to a computer using the standard FireWire interface. Optional filters can be implemented in the motorised filter wheel – as well as calibrations to temperatures up to 2000°C – make the VarioTHERM a measurement tool configured to users’ specific needs. Furthermore InfraTec offers a range of high-speed thermographic cameras from its ImageIR series with frame rates up to some 3kHz.

Land Instruments (www.landinst.com) has introduced the Land Guide M3 thermal imager. Robustly built and ergonomically designed for the entry-level needs of industry, it enables plant engineers to operate more efficiently and productively across the complete spectrum of day-to-day preventive maintenance duties.

The compact palm-held design offers finger-tip controls, high quality thermal images with provision for voice annotation, on-board image processing, a 100-image memory capacity and versatile USB connectivity.

With a temperature measurement range of -20 to 250°C and a sensitivity of 0.12°C, the Land M3 Guide detects extremely small temperature differences and displays them as high resolution, 8-bit thermal images.

Measurement options include simultaneous spot and area analysis, line profile, isotherm analysis and electronic zoom function.

Spotting potential problems is simplified by a cursor that automatically tracks and indicates the position and temperature of the hottest spot within the image, and by a second cursor in the image centre that indicates the temperature and provides a reference for inspection analysis. An audible/visible alarm automatically triggers when a temperature spot exceeds a pre-set value.