Why thermographers need training

11th October 2023
Harry Fowle

Teledyne FLIR explores the reasons why thermographers need training, especially as devices become more accessible.

We often get the question why proper training is necessary for all thermal camera operators. As camera quality increases, prices decrease, and devices become more friendly to operate, thermal imaging technology has become more accessible than ever before. While these are all positive advancements, whether your camera cost $250 or $40,000 the price paid is not indicative of the level of training needed to correctly operate the device and collect accurate or useful information. More and more thermographers are becoming susceptible to these common mistakes which can be avoided by proper training. Correctly applying thermal imaging requires a skilled operator knowledgeable of IR physics, camera operation, and measurement techniques. All topics discussed in our certification courses.

Image quality

Out of focus images will affect temperature readings. Observe the difference in this example. Once an image has been captured, image quality cannot be improved. Thermal images must always be in focus or risk having to recollect data which may not always be possible.

Incorrect object parameters

Object parameters play a crucial role in how an IR camera interprets heat radiation. Correctly setting these parameters requires a knowledgeable operator to evaluate target composition, condition, and how the environment may challenge readings. Which image is correct?

Misunderstanding radiation science

Are you seeing a true thermal anomaly? Or is it merely a reflection or misinterpretation of how heat behaves? Learning a necessary level of heat transfer theory and thermal fundamentals will help you to avoid making a false diagnosis which can be costly and detrimental to credibility.

Dismissing small temperature

Differences Shiny metallic surfaces, such as the copper used in electrical busbar, can be difficult to measure. Misleading thermographers on how they interpret the severity of a target and its criticality for repair. What may appear insignificant, could be a risk to the safety of employees or production uptime.

Improper camera choice

Not all thermal cameras are created equal. Resolution, optics, and sensitivity are all important considerations when implementing thermal imaging as a diagnostic tool. We can see how higher resolution extends better image quality. Allowing operators to discern more precise detail to identify anomalies that would have otherwise been missed. Wide angle and telephoto lenses also have their necessary purpose in ensuring survey success. Do you have enough pixels on target to effectively measure your target?

Don’t get caught with a camera that underperforms for its intended application.

The bottom line

Attending a class with the Infrared Training Centre is designed to guide students in these essential areas and beyond to ensure students are confident entering the field and have the required knowledge to be successful. Students will learn the ability to trust the accuracy of their measurements, perform inspections in a safe and efficient manner, increase their credibility, and maximise program ROI. The Infrared Training Centre is the largest infrared training and certification organisation in the world capable of training on all makes/models of IR cameras. Let us show you how certification training can benefit your organisation today.

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