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Fox Sports used the Heat Seeker infrared (IR) camera from Flir ATS to record the extreme temperatures that developed on Nascar motor vehicles during the Daytona 500 live broadcast.

The thermal images are of particular interest as cars running in the rear of a piggy-backed pair lose air flow while drafting and must eventually switch places with the lead car to avoid overheating the engine.

The technology can also reveal the on-track groove that cars are using, as well as the difference between tyres about to be changed compared with fresh replacements.

Flir cameras were featured in three live segments during the Daytona 500 race: one segment that compared a hot tyre just taken of a car with a cold tyre sitting in the pits; the second segment compared the hoods of two cars during the race; and the final segment showed a blown-out tyre just after being removed from a car late in the race.

Flir supplied two of its SC8300 HD thermal cameras to Fox Sports to enable it to cover the race.

One camera was configured to be portable and was used by a roving Fox camera man in the pits.

The other camera was mounted on a tripod at Turn 4 approximately 100ft (30m) from the track.

The pit camera was used to acquire thermal images of the activity in the pits and the Turn 4 camera was utilised to take video of the cars as they passed by at a speed of more than 200mph (311km/h).

Thermal imaging using IR cameras is suitable for solving a variety of scientific problems based on heat and temperature measurement.

Thanks to its non-intrusive analysis capacity, thermal-imaging systems have become useful for a variety of research and development applications.

FLIR Systems specialises in technologies that enhance perception and awareness.  The company brings innovative sensing solutions into daily life through its thermal imaging and visible light imaging technology and systems for measurement, diagnosis, location and advanced threat detection.  Its products improve the way people interact with the world around them, enhance productivity, increase energy efficiency and make the workplace safer.

FLIR Systems has six operating segments – surveillance, instruments, OEM and emerging markets, maritime, security and finally, detection. Of these six, ‘instruments’ is of greatest interest to trade and industry and the second largest segment in the company’s portfolio. This division provides devices that image, measure and assess thermal energy, gases and other environmental elements for industrial, commercial and scientific applications.

These products are manufactured across five production sites, three in the USA and two in Europe; Sweden and Estonia.

A model to suit every application and budget
The options that FLIR Systems provides for measuring temperature and studying thermal performance have never been greater.  Not only does the company offer a huge range of models to suit all thermal application needs but the technology is also affordable and very easy to use.  Thermal cameras now come in various shapes, sizes and degrees of sophistication and FLIR continues to invest heavily in the development of new and complementary technologies to differentiate itself from competitors.

An important milestone in the development of thermal imaging has been the introduction of the FLIR Lepton® core, a micro longwave detector, the size of a mobile SIM.  This has allowed thermal imaging to be repackaged to meet the needs of an even wider audience and, in combination with another new technology called Infrared Guided Measurement – IGM™ – has led to the development of a range of test and measurement meters with imaging capability.

Another important growth area for FLIR thermal imaging is in continuous monitoring to assure quality and safety.  Through its introduction of discrete fixed mounted thermal cameras which are fully compliant industry standard plug-and-play protocols, FLIR Systems has provided industry with infrared machine vision which is instantly ready for quick and easy network installation.

Protecting assets and people from fire is an area for which thermal imaging is least known but, thanks to FLIR Systems’ development, it is now one of the most cost-effective methods available.  Its application flexibility and rapid return on investment present an attractive proposition for any site or safety manager.

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