December 2006

Infrared cameras come of age

Infrared cameras come of age 4.2 stars4.2 stars4.2 stars4.2 stars4.2 stars

by John Snell
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Not long ago, infrared cameras were 30-pound, cart-mounted affairs that required hourly infusions of liquid nitrogen to keep them running and a good imagination to interpret the resulting images. Prices exceeded $60,000. How quickly all that has changed!

In recent years, infrared has become widely used as a fast, reliable, non­destructive testing technique for diagnostic and quality-control inspections, especially moisture detection. Unlike other moisture-detection techniques, 100 percent of a roof typically can be inspected with infrared devices.

Since the introduction of infrared cameras, prices have dropped significantly; image quality has improved; and cameras—now weighing about 2 pounds—finally are being designed with end users in mind. As a result, infrared thermography has become a popular tool for roof system maintenance and building diagnostics.

However, the confusion many inevitably will face when trying to make an intelligent decision about investments in infrared technology still can pose a problem. With current prices ranging from $6,000 to $60,000, it is important to carefully evaluate the investment and the return you want to make. Fortunately, you do not necessarily need a top-of-the-line system to...

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