Non-contact temperature measurement using IR thermometers

By B Campbell, Comtest


Published in:

Electricity+Control, August 2013 (pages 38 - 40)

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Infrared (IR) measurement devices make it safe to take surface temperature readings of items like rotating, hard-to-reach, electrically live, or dangerously hot targets. For preventative maintenance tasks, they cut measurement time to almost zero with the ability to take a surface temperature reading in less than one second.


Although IR temperature measurement is not as accurate as a calibrated contact temperature device, a typical reading will be within 1°C of the actual temperature when the instrument is properly applied. For scanning applications that do not require precise measurement, this level of accuracy is more than adequate.

Putting IR technology to use is easy, but there are two critical parameters that must be understood to ensure proper and consistent temperature measurements with infrared-type devices. They are:

o Optical resolution
o Emissivity


Take note

  • Non-contact infrared (IR) thermometers are useful tools for technicians to carry about with them.
  • Even the smartest instrument must be used properly – and understood – if it is to render useful results.
  • When properly used, IR thermometers provide accurate results – even in difficult applications.