Infrared Standards

Ray Peacock

One of infrared temperature measurement's greatest shortcomings is its lack of national and international standards. Oh, specsmanship abounds in manufacturers' literature, but the terms used to describe an instrument's performance leave most of the technology to the imagination of the user.

A Question of Terminology
Many in the field have recognized this situation, and a four-year international effort has culminated in the submittal of a draft terminology standard to the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) for a vote. Much like the terminology standards developed at the outset of ISO-9000, this one starts with the basics. So this installment defines all the terms used in spot infrared thermometry and temperature-measurement thermal imaging.

The draft standard, Radiation Thermometers-Part1: Specifications for Radiation Thermometers, is identified as IEC 62942-1 TS Ed1, and the commission expects to complete its vote by June. Anyone interested in seeing it become an official standard should contact the national voting committee. In the U.S., the relevant committee is the American National Standards Institute (ANSI), and a list of IEC national committee members can be found on the institute's Web site.

An Illustrious History
The IEC is unique because it was founded in the 19th century as a multinational, nongovernmental organization consisting of national committees. Almost every nation has a voting committee and a representative on one of the subcommittees. In its long and illustrious service, the commission has guided the way telecommunications and electronics have been used worldwide.

Stay tuned. There's more to come.

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