Engineering 101

Thermal Imaging Market Shipments to Surpass 7.5 Million Units by 2026

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​​​​According to the latest report ‘Thermal Imaging Market by Product (Handheld/Portable Camera, Fixed/Mounted Core, Scopes & Vision Goggles), Technology (Cooled, Uncooled), End-Use (Automotive, Commercial, Government & Defense, Healthcare & Life Science, Industrial, Residential), Application (Detection & Measurement, Monitoring & Inspection, Personal Vision System, Search & Rescue, Security & Surveillance), Regional Outlook, Competitive Market Share & Forecast 2026’, by Global Market Insights, the market valuation of thermal imaging will exceed $16 billion by 2026.

The thermal imaging market is driven by growing demand from several industry verticals such as healthcare, research, engineering, manufacturing, and commercial for security & surveillance and detection & measurement. The increase in infrastructure development projects globally has led to the adoption of advanced techniques for monitoring and inspection purposes. It plays a vital role in the construction of smart cities. Thermal imaging products are deployed in smart traffic management solutions. It tracks temperature differences and analyses the possibilities of temperature difference.

Cooled thermal imaging devices will gain traction due to enhanced sensitivity and high resolution. A modern cooled thermal imaging camera has an imaging sensor integrated with a cryocooler, that lowers the sensor temperature to cryogenic temperatures. These cameras can detect the smallest temperature differences between objects. They can be deployed to produce an image in the MWIR band of the spectrum where the thermal contrast is high. However, cryocoolers have moving parts that may wear out in the long run. This makes uncooled imaging systems more rugged than cooled thermal imagers, due to the absence of cryocoolers. Uncooled imaging solutions are less expensive with lower maintenance costs and enhanced service life.

Modernizing the residential sector demands advanced thermal imaging solutions to track missing insulations and other defects. Infrared thermography evaluates the thermal efficiency of insulation with the performance and condition of cooling & heating systems. Thermal imaging can be used to detect infrastructure problems in aging buildings and construction sites to avoid accidents. The technology has become a vital diagnostic tool for inspecting buildings. A building diagnostic inspection with a thermal imaging camera helps in visualizing energy losses, locating thermal bridges, finding faults in supply lines, finding moisture in insulations, and detecting air infiltration.

The demand for technologically advanced solutions for monitoring and inspecting critical infrastructures will drive the thermal imaging market growth. These cameras are used for mechanical or electrical applications that are non-invasive and powerful for diagnosing and monitoring the condition of the installations and components. The technology offers a reliable and continuous temperature measurement solutions for critical assets to increase the uptime and ensure power plant safety. Thermal imaging can guard a facility against unplanned outages, service interruptions, and equipment failure.

The North American thermal imaging market will experience high adoption of solutions over the forecast timeframe due to the advanced healthcare sector in the region. Hospitals and healthcare organizations in the US are adopting these technologies to ensure high-quality care for patients. The ongoing coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has adversely impacted several areas in the US, stressing the importance of thermal imagers for testing body temperature in a contactless environment.

To stop the virus spread, three US Army programs, including the Program Executive Office (PEO) Soldier, Army Rapid Equipping Force (REF), and the US Army Combat Capabilities Development Command (C5ISR), have led the initiative to leverage thermal imaging to check for elevated body temperatures among personnel entering the military facilities.

Some major findings of the thermal imaging market report are:

  • The development of advanced technologies that enable miniaturization of thermal cameras and real-time analytics will propel the demand for high-end thermal imaging solutions. Players are focusing on integrating technologies, such as AI and machine learning, in the systems to enhance their overall functionalities.
  • There is a demand for fixed or mounted thermal cameras for the monitoring and inspection of large perimeters, power plants, power grids, and critical infrastructure sites to enhance safety and security.
  • Healthcare professionals are leveraging the benefits of thermal imaging solutions to accurately detect differences in body temperature and gain precise insights on patient health and diagnosis of diseases.
  • The military & defense sector uses thermal imaging technology to track potential threats or intruders. The industrial and manufacturing sectors use the technology to streamline production and detect faults in the system to prevent losses.

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