Index to Noncontact Temperature Sensor Vendors
Some of the key, related pages are at the following links:
Some vendors are more capable and/or honest than others, just like in every business. The watch words are, as always: “Buyer beware“, until you build up confidence in their business ethics and technical abilities (and that of the organization they represent).
There are no standards for the names of the spot-measuring infrared devices. Most metrologists that work in this field tend to call them “Radiation Thermometers”.
Could that imply, from the enormous variation in names of these devices, that standardization is non existent or not mature in the noncontact temperature sensor field?
Yes! YEs!! YES!!! There is room for a great deal of work in this area.
Don’t get caught in the spec. trap, thinking that you know what the specification on a data sheet means. Fact is there are not even any standards for the nomenclature used to describe technical features of these devices, starting with calibration uncertainty!
Manufacturers know (we hope) but don’t always tell all. Few agree in any aspect of their specifications beyond the temperature range of a given unit.
The ASTM in the USA has brought some order to this with Standard E 1256, but it is voluntary and not required by many buyers, as of 2009.
The lack of standards and precise nomenclature in terms of quantitative temperature measurement (called “radiometrically calibrated devices” by most of the suppliers) is an obstacle thermal imaging technology needs to overcome to master many of the more demanding uses such as human body temperature screening and process monitoring and control.
The “Buyer Beware” caution applies doubly or triply with these devices simply because they are more complex than radiation thermometers, there is much technical confusion and not a widespread understanding about temperature calibration and measurement with many of the traditional imager manufacturers.
Most of their attention over the past decades has been in imaging characterization in terms of contrast.
The entry into the thermal imager market in the past few years by the top-tier radiation thermometer companies, who live and thrive on precision and accuracy of IR temperature measurement, may create some changes and improve this aspect of the business.
In addition, one organization that has attempted to bring some order to the temperature measurement issue is the Infraspection Institute, one of the oldest and largest thermography training companies. They have had information on their website and that of their Symposium Group, IR/Info, on this issue for the last year, at least.
More recently, The Standards organization of Singapore, known by the acronym SPRING, has been developing a Technical Standard for basic evaluation of thermal imaging cameras used in screening humans for possible elevated body temperature as a result of the SARS scare in early 2003.
Finally,if you have a requirement spelled out and are sure it is covered by current standards or by a set of detailed specifications you have developed, are you going to be using the sensor in a ISO900x production or a process or test that is critical? Then you will most certainly need a traceable calibration for the devices you seek.
Without it any measurements will have errors that can only be guessed, not verified, nor ever verified or repeated except by happenstance. Often the last item on a purchase checklist is the most important, as is this one: Traceable Calibration.
In their 2001 book, “Traceable Temperatures” (see our References page) Nicholas and White observe that measurements without traceability, are not measurements at all but effectively some vague effort that, in a critical analysis, is seen not worth the time and money.
That all implies, among other things that there is a test or demonstration of capability that a unit must pass to be accepted.
Even devices that will be used to only compare two temperatures (measure a temperature difference) need to have some reference to which they can be re-tested to verify that they are meeting the requirement.
Often simulating the need under true application conditions of measurement can be challenging and difficult to do and maintain a traceable calibration to within the desired norms.