Interpreting thermal images taken using infrared (IR) cameras can be quite difficult. IR images lack the contrast, clarity and colour characteristics of pictures taken in visible light, requiring an expert eye to spot any discrepancies in the recorded heat patterns. Even professional thermographers prefer imaging devices that offer spatial detail and a wide field of view to get a clearer picture of live equipment in their operating environment. However, these hi-end features are expensive. The patent-pending IR-Fusion® technology that seamlessly blends images from IR and visible optics provides a cost-effective alternative to address this need.
IR-Fusion® records both the infrared image of the target as well as its digital equivalent in visible light. These pixel-perfect images make it easier to draw parallels, detect and remedy faults in a reliable and accurate manner. IR-Fusion® also supports a range of image display modes:
- Full Infrared
- IR/Colour Alarms
- Full Digital
The multiple modes of this technology not only facilitate viewing, documenting, and analysing images on the camera but also offline using the bundled SmartView® software.
IR-Fusion – How Can It Make A Difference?
This revolutionary technology claims to offer several advantages that can make a difference in thermal imaging process. Here are a few salient benefits of IR-Fusion:
1. Reveals an IR fault area on a digital image captured in visible light
The IR and visible optic images created using fusion technology make it possible to exactly pin-point a problem area on a digital image, as seen in real life. An image rendered using the AutoBlend mode, with blend percentage set as 50% visible and 50% IR, automatically highlights the problem area. A partially transparent digital image of the target is overlaid with the heat signature from the target to accurately indicate glitches, if any. It is possible to adjust the blend percentage across the entire range from full visible to full IR to suit specific needs, either on camera or using the software.
The colour-alarm mode also helps highlight problem areas in a visible image, based on thermal emissions. This mode serves to selectively outline areas with specific temperatures in IR colours, and the rest of the images is rendered in black and white.
2. Eliminates confusions in the interpretation of IR images to detect problems
The multiple image modes make it easy to interpret, report, and communicate problems, which is critical for serious issues to be addressed on time. Not everyone in the workforce is familiar with IR or can interpret a thermal image.
While a complete IR image is perfect for sharing with knowledgeable peers, blended images are handy to focus on actual location of the problem, especially when communicating with customers or maintenance technicians.
Viewing the blended image in picture-in-picture mode helps to further zoom into a problem area of a large installation. It helps set the context, highlight a faulty component in IR colours, while allowing a wide field of view of the entire system in visible light as well. IR fusion makes it possible to view any labels and other indicators in a specific location and IR image of a point-of-interest in the same screen or picture.
Effective use of these modes helps eliminate any ambiguity in interpreting IR images.
3. Helps identify problem areas in images that lack distinct features
Locating one faulty component among innumerable similar ones lined up within an electrical cabinet can prove quite challenging as there are no distinct features that can help pin-point the black sheep. Using a laser pointer to highlight problem area and capturing a fully visible/blended image with IR fusion proves an easy and safe way to tackle such requirements. It is possible to now identify the faulty component by matching the spot of light from the laser in the blended and visible image.
4. Aids better focus of an IR camera
It is a known fact that IR images are not as clear as their digital counterparts captured in visible light. This makes it difficult to focus on heat signatures of small components especially when features of the inspected target span a couple of instantaneous fields of views. However, clear focus is bound to improve the accuracy of temperature readings.
Multiple modes of imaging supported by IR fusion help precisely focus an IR camera on the intended target by allowing users to adjust the lens till there is a match between the IR and visible image, along an identified horizontal reference line.
5. Facilitates sophisticated analysis of images and reporting
SmartView® software enables thermographers to record, annotate and import images captured on site for further processing. In-built reporting and hi-end analytics features, along with the several display modes, facilitate complex analysis and generation of standard as well as custom reports. Reporting tools are totally customisable to support varied requirements, making it easier to communicate the results of the process in a format suitable to the knowledge levels of the recipients.
Visible images based on reflected light are more clear and colourful than IR images based on emitted light. Temperature gradients surface as blurred boundaries in the thermal image, making it difficult to accurately identify individual components. The spatial resolution and clarity supported by IR fusion thus enables precise focus on the intended target, thereby improving the accuracy of thermal imaging and temperature measurements. Multiple display modes serve to remove ambiguity in interpreting IR images and help enhance communication value and the effectiveness of the entire process.
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This post was first published on www.thermalimagers.ie