There are a number of reasons why a thermal imager may be on your list of things to buy. They allow you to spot electrical issues, notice issues with your roofing and identify thermal performance in your home or office. Unfortunately, in the past, these devices have often been difficult to get approved in a budget.
High end infrareds can sell for more than $50,000 with entry level models often marked at $1,000 or more. They also tend to be rather large in size and laborious to carry around. To help reduce both issues, companies like FLIR ONE introduced products that fit to a smartphone in order to provide real and dynamic infrared imagery. Today, you can pick one up on Amazon for an iPhone 5 for as little as $200.
Still, one company didn’t feel that was convenient enough. That's why CatPhones, a subsidiary of the Caterpillar construction company, has taken convenience to a new level. They're a company that's known for building products that are strong and practical. They make devices for people that need them to be tough so users know they won’t let them down in harsh conditions. One of their current models, the B15Q, features a 4-inch touchscreen display and is advertised as being waterproof and resistant to impacts.
Now, they’ve unveiled their newest model, the S60, that comes set with infrared viewing technology out of the box. The specs on the phone’s camera include all of the following:
- Dedicated FLIR thermal camera app with MSX technology
- Still image, panorama, and video capture
- Changeable heat palettes
- Temperature spot meter
- Min, max, and average temperature data
In addition to a camera that’s able to do so much more than any other in the industry, CAT’s phone also runs Android Marshmallow OS with 4G LTE connectivity, remains impact resistant with a strengthened die cast frame, is still water resistant with underwater photo capabilities, and is optimized for use with wet fingers or gloves.
With the new out of the box introduction of the infrared camera, it’s now easier than ever to spot warm or cold spots that may exist in your facility. Here's an example of an image taken with an infrared camera.
In the first image, you can see a cold spot going horizontally, all the way across an outer facing wall. In the second you can see a large disparity in the temperature of the pipe that’s running through the image, as opposed to the much warmer temperature of the air immediately surrounding it.
This kind of data will be invaluable for builders that are looking for weak points in their construction, for plumbers looking for weak points in piping, and any other number of practical applications for employees in the field. It can help you better understand points of concern when deciding to map your facility for temperature or humidity and prepare you when organizing your space. Now that the technology is within reach from a cost and logistical standpoint, none of this is out of the question.
The S60 is expected to go on sale at some point in 2016. Until then, many of us will be left wanting.