Lightweight thermal imager can be mounted to UAVs for aerial inspection tasks

Posted by John Keller

ELLESMERE PORT, England, 14 July 2013. Precision sensor manufacturer Micro-Epsilon UK Ltd. in Ellesmere Port, England, is introducing a lightweight thermal imaging camera called the thermoIMAGER TIM LightWeight that can be mounted to a variety of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs).

This thermal imager electro-optical device can be attached to micro-drones and multicopters to carry out thermographic surveys and defect analysis of solar panels, wind turbines, buildings, and other difficult-to-access structures.

The thermoIMAGER TIM LightWeight consists of Micro-Epsilon's thermoIMAGER TIM 400 or 450 thermal imager miniature infrared camera and a miniature lightweight NetBox mini PC.

With a total weight of 13.4 ounces, this two-piece system can make IR video recordings via a button on the camera housing; the video is stored on a microSD storage card in NetBox.

In one application, the thermoIMAGER TIM LightWeight conducted defect analysis on solar panels. Inspection using IR cameras are in a non-contact, non-destructive manner at a safe distance from the target.

The thermoIMAGER TIM LightWeight IR camera has a compact high resolution thermoIMAGER TIM LightWeight IR camera that measures 4.4 by 2.2 by 1.8 inches, and provides radiometric IR inspection with an optical resolution of 382-by-288 pixels.

Thermal sensitivity is down to 40mK, so even the slightest temperature variations can be reliably detected. A 20 Hz video signal is generated during inspection flights and radio-transmitted to the UAV operator. In parallel, radiometric imagery is stored on an SDHC memory card at a frequency of 35 Hz.

A Gigabit Ethernet interface is provided to download the video from the NetBox PC after the flight. The package is completed by Micro-Epsilon's versatile PI Connect software for data recording and analysis. Connection of an HD video camera is supported via an additional USB port.

For more information contact Micro-Epsilon online at www.micro-epsilon.co.uk.

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