Infrared non-contact thermometers (IR) provide a convenient means of monitoring or controlling temperature within a wide range of industry sectors.
Users of non-contact thermometry whether for medical or non-medical purposes, need to have confidence that the devices they use are delivering consistently accurate and reliable results.
If you have purchased an inexpensive device from an online retailer, there is no way of knowing with any degree of certainty whether the results are accurate or misleading. In a variety of circumstances, results which are only inaccurate by a few degrees can have severe repercussions.
Medical non-contact thermometry
A combination of rising population and an increase in the ailments that cause fevers have led to enormous growth in the market over recent years. In the second half of 2022 usage of non-contact thermometry was expected to grow by 12.5%. The continuing prevalence of COVID-19 cases has fuelled the market, with regulatory authorities (such as the FDA in the United States) promoting non-contact thermometry as a means of monitoring temperature without promoting transmission.
Non-Contact Thermometry outside of the medical sector
Non-medical non-contact infrared thermometers are used extensively in various industries, such as manufacturing, food production and storage, as well as by emergency services like the fire brigade. Fire fighters use non-contact thermometry to identify hotspots during a fire event, allowing them to get precise results without endangering lives.
In rail and automotive safety, temperature has a critical impact on the safety of elements, such as wheel bearings, which may by continually monitored during operation to identify potential failings before they occur.
Infrared thermometers are used to monitor the surface temperature of industrial equipment, such as pipes, furnaces and boilers, without the need for dangerous direct contact.
How to maintain accuracy?
As the situations where both medical and non-medical non-contact thermometry is used are often dangerous, and the need for complete accuracy can be critical, it is vitally important that the measuring devised used is correctly calibrated by a UKAS accredited calibration laboratory.
Inaccurate results and uncalibrated infrared thermometers can result in misdiagnosis in a medical setting or failure within machinery, both of which can lead to catastrophic consequences.
Accredited calibration laboratories have demonstrated under robust assessment, that their laboratory performs to the standard required by ISO/IEC 17025. This annual assessment takes into account the technical competence of the personnel on site, and the availability of all the technical resources needed to produce reliable data and results for a defined set of tests, measurements or calibrations.
Confidence in calibration
Accurate measurements and tests conducted with best practices and accredited to ISO/IEC 17025 can limit failure and downtime, helping to control manufacturing costs.
Specifying accredited calibration services can be a useful decision-making tool, saving time and money.
Using an accredited body to carry out an independent evaluation helps demonstrate due diligence in the event of legal action.