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£3,750 thermal imager targets maintenance staff
Published:  01 February, 2006

£3,750 thermal imager targets maintenance staff

Infrared thermal imaging has traditionally been restricted to specialist consultants, because of the cost of the equipment and the expertise needed to interpret the images. Fluke is hoping to change this with a new range of low-cost, easy-to-use imagers aimed at maintenance technicians.

The £3,750 Ti20 handheld IR imager (above) uses technology that Fluke acquired when it bought Raytek about two years ago. It produces fully radiometric colour-coded images that make it easy to identify hotspots and to spot problems such as overheating windings, or misaligned or broken bearings, before they lead to a failure.

The imager can programmed with an "inspection route" detailing a sequence of equipment that needs to be tested at regular intervals. It provides step-by-step instructions on its screen to prompt the user through a series of locations to be scanned. These images can then be compared with previous images to identify any changes since the previous scan.

The instrument captures a 96 x 128 pixel image which can be adjusted for parameters such as the colour palette, emissivity and temperature range, either in the field or on a PC. Fine-tuning of these parameters highlights critical temperature differences and saves time because there is no need to reshoot images if the wrong parameters were used originally.

The imager can be operated using one hand. It adjusts the colour palette automatically to suit the temperature range being viewed, and the only adjustment needed is to focus the lens. It will operate on battery power for up to three hours and can store up to 50 images with radiometric data for later analysis. The imager is supplied with a package including a training CD and the analysis and storage software.

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