Infrared Thermometers

Infrared Thermometers

Infrared thermometers provide the perfect solution to non-contact temperature measurement. They are ideal for extreme high or low surface temperatures where conditions exist that would stop traditional forms of measurement. Infrared equipment utilises optics designed to measure radiated heat. Measuring radiated heat comes with its own complications. To gain accurate readings it is vital you have an understanding of spot-size and emissivity. A basic guide is available below the product listings. If non-contact measurement isn't a neccesity then we advise that you take a look at our full range of thermometers offering more accurate and standard form of temperature sensor.

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Laser Infrared Thermometers

‘Laser Thermometer’ is a phrase often used to describe Infrared thermometers. It is a reference to the targeting system designed to help the user identify the exact location measured by the probe. It is not a reference to the sensor itself. Typical set-ups include a single laser pointing at the centre of the measurement area. It is important to note that the measurement area will often be bigger than the dot provided by the laser. This is dependent on the thermometers spot size and distance from the target. Dual laser thermometers offer increased precision.

Many Infrared thermometers follow a standard gun type design. It is not uncommon to see smaller compact designs no bigger than a pen that fit into a pocket. Some designs even incorporate dual measurement. They place the infrared sensor within the same device as a standard probe. This offers a more complete measurement solution in a single device.

Using Infrared Thermometers

There are several considerations to acknowledge when using these complex devices is not as simple as some suppliers would have you believe. Don't fall into the trap of thinking it a simple case of pulling the trigger and reading the measurement. All objects have the ability to absorb and emit radiated heat, but at different values. If you were to set up a controlled space with identical conditions. Dark dull objects such as concrete or rubber would keep more heat than reflective surfaces such as steel. Infrared Thermometers come equipped with sophisticated optics that measure radiated heat. There are 2 important factors that can have a drastic affect the accuracy of a measured value. These are Spot Size and Emissivity.

Infrared Thermometer Spot Size

Infrared thermometers measure the temperature of a flat surface area. The spot size is the ratio based on the distance from the thermometer to the object you are measuring. The closer to the object the thermometer is, the smaller the area of measurement. If equipped with a laser, the laser indicates the centre point of the measured area, not the focal point of measurement. Best practice indicates that the thermometer should be as close to the measured object as possible. The instruments have a good range but external source can interfere with the accuracy of the reading. Dust, smoke, steam and even light can all cause inaccuracies. If taken from too great of a distance the spot size may include unintended surface areas.

Infrared Thermometer Emissivity

Emissivity is a term based on an objects ability to emit radiated heat. The scale ranges from 0.1 to 1.00 and takes into account the colour, surface finish and reflective nature of the object. 0.1 is the emissivity value associated with shiny objects such as steel. 1.00 is the value associated to matt black Some infrared thermometers feature adjustable Emissivity. The problem of determining the correct value can be difficult to overcome. The whole colour spectrum and reflective nature of the target object must be accounted for. The error in the accuracy of a measured value can be as much as 30% of the reading just based on the emissivity. A simple way to overcome this is to paint a small area of the measured object Matt Black. An alternative is to paint a piece of masking tape Matt Black and stick it to the surface of the target object. Blackboard paint or an aerosol from a car accessory shop will do. It’s not the thickness of the paint but that matters but it has to be solid in colour.

Infrared Thermometer Calibration

ATP offer traceable calibration on all our infrared devices. Our calibration procedure uses a certified black body with an emissivity value of 0.95. Our standard Calibration Certificate is issued at 25°, 50°, 75°, 100° and 150°C. Additional points are available up to 300°C @ £8.00 per point.

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