The ability to more easily share images and measurements via new apps through iPhones and iPads, e-mail and Bluetooth communication is another technological advancement in infrared imagers.
"Mobile access for infrared cameras allows for quick communication of faults within an organization," Lammert says. "
An electrician can detect a fault, complete the analysis, and generate a report within a few seconds, then share the image and detailed report on the company network. This allows the work order to be generated, parts to be ordered if needed, and personnel scheduled for repairs without a trip to the office."
While these benefits are appealing, managers must remind technicians that safety remains a top priority when working on any job site.
"On some of these imagers, the images can be downloaded to the tablet, an electronic report generated, and e-mailed immediately from each location," Clark says. "The possibilities are endless, but the downside is it requires carrying another piece of fragile equipment along, where many of the inspections require climbing or working around equipment where the least amount of encumbrances to deal with, the better.
"While these applications allowing images to be transferred to a tablet or smartphone are nice, sometimes it is better for the thermographer to take the images, document them in the imager, then go to a quiet location to download them and take the time to evaluate the image, to analyze and determine what the real issues are and how to best deal with them."
Sheets says he realized the impact of mobile access on the infrared industry while talking with a maintenance manager during a job-site visit.
Sheets listened as the manager described an afternoon in the field doing nothing but double-checking scans from technicians who were unsure how to interpret the results of the scans they just finished conducting.
"Some of that (checking) never goes away," he says. "But a lot of that running around and wasting time can be solved by rapid transmission, saving analysis, and sharing of what he found, and using other wireless and enabled features.
"(He) could probably do some of his follow-up inspections without having to go to each spot. The message of being wirelessly connected and able to communicate quicker was
really quite powerful for this maintenance manager."
The Expanding Scope of Infrared Imagers
Versatility of Infrared Imagers Expands
Infrared Imaging Going Mobile Through Apps, iPhones, iPads
Product Focus: Infrared Imagers