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3D imaging using thermal analysis

IR picture 3D of a street

IR picture of a street with 3D laser scanner

Compact thermal imaging cameras combined with 3D laser scanners

3D laser scanners have become an indispensable tool in many research and industrial applications. The topographical survey of the Limes, the former Roman border, in 2009 is probably one of the best-known images. Zoller + Fröhlich, one of the leading manufacturers of 3D laser scanners, has launched a standalone thermal imaging camera for 3D scanners in cooperation with infrared camera manufacturer Optris. The camera enables the integration of surface temperatures in three-dimensional images.

More information for industry

These complex 3D laser scanners measure rooms and objects within the sub-millimeter range and generate three-dimensional scatter diagrams from the measurement data. Zoller + Fröhlich devices are mainly used in building surveys and industrial machinery as well as in collecting information about accident and crime scenes.

There is an increasing need for users from industry, construction and restoration to obtain information about surface temperatures and to optimize thermal insulation and thermal conduction. In partnership with Optris, Zoller + Fröhlich has developed a standalone thermal imaging camera, the Z+F T-Cam, for 3D laser scanners in order to meet these requirements. The camera generates thermal 360° panoramas from a series of images with a single-frame resolution of 382 x 288 pixels. The resulting 360° panorama has 2,500 pixels. If connected to a 3D scanner, the infrared information can then be mapped onto the scatter diagram in Z+F LaserControl® using a fully automated process. In addition to traditional industry and research applications, the camera is of particular use for the insurance sector, the construction industry, in architecture, facility management, the protection of historical monuments and in forensics.

Making the invisible visible

The information from the infrared images can provide indications about relevant temperatures as well as below-surface discontinuities in the material. In order to truly appreciate the value of the infrared camera for its individual applications, it is important to understand how it works. Every object or surface with a temperature above absolute zero (-273.15°C = 0 Kelvin) gives off its own characteristic radiation on its surface. Part of this radiation is infrared radiation which is used for non-contact temperature measurement. Different material characteristics, which would not be visible to the naked eye, are clearly mapped in the infrared image.

Bild des Geschäftsführers der Optris GmbH, Dr. Ulrich Kienitz


"We will continue being innovative!"
Dr-Ing. Ulrich Kienitz, CEO of Optris




Inner-German cooperation project

For several years now, medium-sized enterprises have had to enter into interdisciplinary partnerships in order to keep an innovative edge. This project was implemented in partnership by two leading German enterprises in the field of non-contact measuring technology: Zoller + Fröhlich in the field of laser measuring technology and Optris in the field of temperature measuring technology. “Our requirements in the search for a suitable partner for this project were very high. We are delighted to have found Optris, a company that fully meets our requirements and has exceeded our expectations in many ways,” states Dr.-Ing. Christoph Fröhlich, Managing Director of Zoller + Fröhlich. Dr.-Ing. Ulrich Kienitz, Managing Director of Optris GmbH adds, “We are pleased that Z+F has chosen us for the integration of our camera and are looking forward to continuing this innovative journey.”