Worldwide stonewool insulation market leader ­recommends FLIR thermal imaging cameras

Insulation material manufacturer Rockwool has establishments all over the world and is considered by many to be the global market leader in the insulation business. Recently Rockwool Germany has started a thermography project, recommending FLIR thermal imaging cameras. "As the stonewool insulation market leader we wanted to work with the market leader in thermal imaging, so that's why we turned to FLIR", explains Verena Pieper, the marketing manager responsible for the thermography program at Rockwool.

The Rockwool Group is the world's leading supplier of products and systems based on stone wool. The Group is amongst the global leaders within the insulation industry. Together with other building-related products such as acoustic ceilings, cladding boards and the BuildDesk consultancy business, Rockwool's insulation products ensure energy efficient and fire-safe buildings with good acoustics and a comfortable indoor climate.

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Rockwool marketing manager Verena Pieper joins in with the participants in the Rockwool training course.

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Thermography expert Daniel Jung.

Thermal imaging technology is the ideal tool to determine the effectiveness of insulation material, according to Pieper. "Modern thermal cameras provide excellent thermal image quality at an affordable cost."

Rockwool promotes the use of thermal imaging

Rockwool therefore wanted its customers to get acquainted with this technology. "We want to promote the use of thermal imaging as an accurate method to determine the effectiveness of insulation. This will help insulation professionals to determine which parts of the building require extra attention and it also allows them to show their customers the effect of their work."

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This thermal image shows an example of in insulation failure in a residential building that is used in Rockwool's thermography course.

To that aim Rockwool has developed a training program for Rockwool dealers and other building professionals, such as architects and building contractors. It consists of two days of training that covers both the theory and practice of thermography followed by an optional advanced course where the participants can discuss difficult cases with their fellow trainees and with the thermography experts.

'FLIR, an excellent choice'

For Rockwool the choice for FLIR was clear. "Not only is FLIR the worldwide market leader in thermal imaging technology, the FLIR thermal imaging cameras are considered the best available on the market today, according to the thermography experts we consulted."

One of these experts is Daniel Jung. He has been a thermographer for over 15 years and worked for the Infrared Training Center as an instructor, before setting up his own training program that has been running for over 10 years. "Back when I started the thermal imaging cameras I had to work with were big cumbersome machines with cooling systems and large battery packs you had to wear as a belt. Nowadays thermal imaging cameras more resemble modern digital cameras: they're compact, lightweight and easy to use."

Jung agrees with Pieper that FLIR thermal imaging cameras are an excellent choice for the Rockwool training course. "FLIR thermal imaging cameras are in my experience very user friendly. Not only are the FLIR cameras compact, lightweight and well designed, they also acquire thermal data in fully radiometric JPEG files, not in some kind of proprietary format. This means that no special software is needed to view the thermal images."

"This is confirmed by the feedback from our training participants," Pieper adds. "Some course participants bring their own thermal imaging cameras and nine times out of ten it is a thermal imaging camera from FLIR Systems. They are all very positive about both thermal imaging camera quality and the after sales service from FLIR. The participants that do not have a thermal imaging camera yet usually end up buying the FLIR B-Series thermal imaging camera we recommend them."

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To attract more course participants Rockwool has also launched an online interactive introduction to building inspections using FLIR thermal imaging
cameras on www.rockwool.de/services/thermo­grafie-check.

'More than point and click'

Although a FLIR thermal imaging camera is easy to use this doesn't mean that thermography is just a matter of point and click, according to Pieper. "That is why we started this project in the first place. To make sure that when our customers use thermography, they use the technology properly." Jung agrees. "You need to understand both the thermal physics and camera properties. In other words: you have to know what you're doing."

That's why FLIR offers training in co-operation with the Infrared Training Center (ITC), the world's leading educational and training resource for thermal imaging professionals. The ITC offers high-quality interactive thermography training from the most qualified international thermography instructors. The ITC holds training courses in nearly 50 countries and in over 20 languages. The ITC's internationally recognized certification program indicates the level of training as a Level 1, Level 2 or Level 3 thermographer.

Jung, who was an ITC instructor himself for several years, does not mean to replace the ITC training programs with his own courses. "My training programs, including my activities for the Rockwool training courses, are no replacement for the training courses from the ITC, but they are a useful addition to the existing ITC curriculum."

Sharing thermographic knowhow

The aim of Rockwool's training project is not just to train the course participants in using a thermal imaging camera, according to Pieper. "Apart from providing the training course participants with thermography knowhow, we also want to generate a network of knowledgeable thermographers all over Germany that can share their knowledge and experience. Since the project started we have trained on average 30 people a year and currently over 100 trainees in total. We try to achieve an optimal spread throughout Germany.