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FLIR Systems has announced the FLIR GFx320, an optical gas imaging (OGI) camera for the oil and gas industry that is designed for use in potentially explosive atmospheres. The FLIR GFx320 detects and visualises invisible hydrocarbon gas emissions, such as methane, and common volatile organic compounds (VOCs) found at oil and natural gas facilities. It carries certifications to global standards and is recognised as Intrinsically Safe, explosion-protected equipment by the International Electrotechnical Commission.

As a certified Intrinsically Safe OGI camera, the FLIR GFx320 represents groundbreaking technology for surveying critical and potentially dangerous work zones. Instead of scanning for fugitive and non-fugitive gas emissions from outside hazardous areas, with the FLIR GFx320 workers can assess potential risks from afar and, once the area is deemed safe, enter with the camera to continue scanning. The first FLIR camera with the Intrinsically Safe designation, the GFx320 allows surveyors to improve their safety and work with more confidence on the job site.

Like FLIR’s existing GF320 model, the FLIR GFx320 is calibrated to measure temperature, allowing users to achieve optimal thermal contrast between the gas compound and the background scene. The camera is also verified to meet sensitivity standards defined in the US Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) OOOOa methane rule, and tags each recording with GPS data to meet additional regulatory requirements for reporting.

“With the recent tightening of methane regulations both in the US and globally, oil and gas producers need a fast and safe way to find and image gas emissions,” said Andy Teich, president and CEO at FLIR. “With the ability to keep workers safe and identify greenhouse gases such as methane, the GFx320 represents another critical example of FLIR’s technology helping to protect lives and preserve the environment.”

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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