Thermal imaging

identify hidden building problems

(ensuring even low levels of incoming photons are not lost within this noise), and implementing backside illumination. While Peltier cooling is also an option with some CMOS sensors, the improvements to quantum efficiency and reduced noise have made cooling unnecessary for certain biomedical imaging applications. Another way cost is kept down is the

interface—for years, CMOS sensors have been paired with consumer interfaces like USB3, GigE, and 10 GigE. These interfaces do not require a frame grabber, which reduces the complexity (and cost) of the system. Upcoming interfaces like 25/100GigE, USB4, and CXPX will help to eliminate this problem entirely by providing significantly higher bandwidths.

CMOS SenSOrS are a LOwer- COSt aLternative

The lower cost alone has motivated many engineers and system designers to consider evaluating the latest CMOS sensors in place of an sCMOS based system. In many cases, vision system designers are surprised to find a suitable CMOS camera for under USD $1,000, when a typical sCMOS setup with similar performance parameters could cost upwards of USD $10,000. Whether it is sCMOS or CMOS, many camera

manufacturers do not use a single standard to compare cameras. Consequently, it can be challenging to compare cameras regardless of the type of sensor used. In the machine vision world, EMVA1288 has become the accepted standard for specifications and measurement of cameras in Europe, America (AIA - American Automated Imaging Association) and Japan (JIIA - Japan Industrial Imaging Association). In summary, for cases that require extreme

levels of performance, a sCMOS camera might be a necessity. But it would be worthwhile to identify the most important performance parameters for your specific application and make a fair comparison between CMOS and sCMOS cameras before eliminating one over another. CMOS sensors are continuously advancing and the price to performance ratios between CMOS and sCMOS are narrowing quickly. If your application requirements can be met by a conventional CMOS sensor, it might be a much less expensive alternative for you and your team.

Instrumentation Monthly April 2021

managers, facilities maintenance staff, building inspectors, contractors, electricians, service technicians, plumbers, and even homeowners. It requires the aid of effective tools, including thermal imaging, to quickly recognise and resolve those trouble spots. That is why FLIR has introduced its latest entry-level Cx-Series camera, the FLIR C3-X, a compact thermal camera packed with features that can help users confidently find faults in close range. It easily fits in a pocket or tool bag, is tough enough for any job, and available at a price point that building professionals and homeowners can afford.


ChOOSing a FLir CMOS MaChine viSiOn CaMera

If you decide you need a CMOS camera for your application, the two most popular FLIR camera families for epifluorescence applications include the Backfly S and Oryx. The Blackfly S camera family offers the

broadest range of sensors and interfaces, both USB3 and GigE. There is also a wide range of sensor options coupled with both a cased and board-level form factors. The Oryx camera family offers high

resolution sensors paired with the fast 10GigE interface. Oryx cameras are full-featured and suitable for higher end applications, but have a larger form factor. If transfer speeds are critical, Oryx would be an easy choice. Both the Blackfly S and Oryx camera families

can be controlled and programmed using GenICam3 and the Spinnaker SDK, which has been designed to help you build your application faster. To further narrow down the selection of

camera models, FLIR’s machine vision model selector comes with 14+ (EMVA 1288 based) imaging parameters to filter from. To find models that perform well under low light conditions, filter on finding high absolute sensitivity, quantum efficiency, and dynamic range values. Absolute sensitivity is the number of photons needed to get a signal equivalent to the noise observed by the sensor. Quantum efficiency is the percentage of photons converted to electrons at a given wavelength. Dynamic range is the ratio of signal to noise including temporal dark noise (the noise in the sensor when there is no signal). Also, keep in mind that monochrome models have better performance in low light compared to colour equivalents. To view the details of a machine vision

camera’s performance, look at the EMVA Imaging Performance document for the model. This can be found on the resources tab of every camera’s support page.

FLIR Systems

aving the ability to effectively inspect, diagnose, and document trouble spots is crucial for property

Along with the five-megapixel visual inspection camera, the enhanced C3-X has a 128x96 resolution thermal camera that features a temperature range up to 300 degrees Celsius on an easy-to-read 3.5 inch touchscreen. These features are important to get a detailed view of the situation and troubleshoot areas of concern such as hot fuses or air leaks. FLIR Multi-Spectral Dynamic Imaging (MSX) mode adds visible light details to thermal images in real time for greater clarity, so users can easily identify issues within the context of the problem area. The C3-X stands up in tough environments

with four hours of operating time and features an IP54 enclosure, providing a high level of protection against dust and water, and is designed to withstand a 2 m (6.6 ft) drop. It‘s compact, handheld design, allows professionals to fit it in their pocket or into their tool bag without taking up too much space. The built in LED light helps see in dark areas such as crawl spaces. Featuring FLIR Ignite, the C3-X offers cloud connectivity, allowing professionals to directly transfer, store and backup data so images are always available on all devices. The C3-X also offers seamless customer reporting when paired with FLIR Thermal Studio.


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