DCN October 2017 - Page 30

Thermal imaging Investing In Infrared Andrew Baker, sales director at FLIR Systems, discusses what to watch out for when investing in thermal imaging to detect faults within the data centre. D ata centre systems’ failures are costly, not just in terms of revenue loss, but also company reputation and shareholder value. So, it’s critical that any electrical fault is spotted in its infancy before it has the potential to compromise service. A popular method for detecting these faults is thermal imaging. It’s a technology that has become mainstream in the last decade whose cost has fallen substantially thanks to its scope of application across many industry sectors. It is also the subject of continuous development, presenting prospective purchasers with a lot of choice. The range now extends from pocket-sized models and infrared- enabled smart phones to low cost 30 | October 2017 point-and-shoot troubleshooting cameras and high-end models with every function necessary for the professional thermographer. So how do you assess the best model for your needs? Here are some important pointers to help ensure the scope of your thermal imaging camera matches the scope of your job. Buy the best your budget allows Most thermal imaging cameras have fewer pixels than visible light cameras, so pay close attention to detection resolution. Higher resolution infrared cameras can measure smaller targets from farther away and create sharper thermal images, both of which add up to more precise and reliable measurements. Also, be aware of the difference between detector and display resolution. Some manufacturers will boast about a high-resolution LCD to mask their low-resolution detector when it’s the detector resolution that matters most. For instance, LCD resolution may spec at 640 x 480, capable of displaying 307,200 pixels of image content. But if the IR detector pixel resolution is only 160 x 120, giving 19,200 measurement points, the greater display resolution accomplishes nothing as the quality of the thermal image and its measurement data are always determined by detector resolution. Higher resolution thermal imaging not only provides more