Rugged thermal cameras or infrared cameras or thermal imaging cameras that provide images by using infrared radiation. Rugged thermal cameras find applications in numerous sectors used as a defense, military, energy & utility, healthcare, electronics, automotive, etc. Cost reduction in the manufacturing of the technology has enabled many new applications are evolving such as used in smartphones, drones, etc. and this emerging application is poised to provide growth in demand.
The global Rugged Thermal Cameras market is estimated to be valued at US$ 5,271.3 million in 2021 and is expected to exhibit a CAGR of 9.1% over the forecast period (2021-2028).
Growing application of thermal cameras in several verticals s expected to propel the global rugged cameras market growth over the forecast period. Earlier thermal imaging cameras were primarily been used for applications in the field of surveillance and security though, with the passage of time, the market has witnessed many new applications that are driving the demand for these cameras. For instance, in February 2016, Caterpillar Inc., a U.S. based engineering products manufacturer, launched the Cat S60 smartphone with a built-in thermal camera having industrial, commercial, and residential applications. Moreover, the healthcare industry started to use medical infrared thermography (MIT), involving analysis of physiological functions related to skin-temperature, enabled via thermal imaging cameras.
Rising application of rugged thermal cameras in the healthcare industry can present lucrative growth opportunities. Thermal imaging has gained significant traction in the healthcare industry and since then these imaging cameras are used in the number of medical applications and the applications are increasing. Breast pathology is one of the most applied areas of thermography detecting – breast cancer, fibrocystic breast disease, mastitis, etc. Thermography enabled via thermal cameras is used for detecting Raynaud’s disease in which the patient suffers from chronic pain and cold hands.
In May 2021, PerfectPrime launched thermal camera specially designed for the residential projects.
In July 2021, LightPath and RP Optical Lab announced that that they are going to develop advanced thermal cameras for space applications.
Significantly high cost of thermal cameras is expected to hamper the global rugged thermal cameras market growth over the forecast period. Although thermal cameras have witnessed the decline in prices in recent years, even then prices are still too high for a certain application, especially for commercial use. High price involved in the manufacturing of these thermal cameras poses a challenge to the rugged thermal camera market. For commercial usages, only top vendors in limited verticals are using thermal cameras and the product is still suffering from the perception of being too expensive. Applications for thermal cameras in the field of radiology, firefighting, predictive maintenance are still limited owing to the high price of these thermal cameras.
Global Rugged Thermal Cameras Market - Impact of Coronavirus (Covid-19) Pandemic
The global rugged thermal cameras market has been negatively impacted due to the outbreak of COVID-19 pandemic. Following the outbreak in December 2019 in China, most countries decided to temporarily suspend international travel and trades, in order to limit the spread of the virus. With stringent regulations on physical distancing, manufacturing organizations had to shut down their operations resulting in sharp decline in sales. However, the demand for thermal cameras is expected to increase where it can be used in the management of infectious diseases namely coronavirus. These cameras can be crucial in mitigating the spread of COVID-19 in public areas.
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Countries in Asian subcontinent are witnessing in increase in their defense budgets in spite of global slowdown, which is a direct result of increasing conflict in the Middle East and South China Sea regions. In March 2017, China announced to increase its defense budget by 7 percent to US$ 151 Bn. This increase in budget was seen in response to increasing escalation in South China Sea over control of islands and sea routes. In February 2017, India announced to increase its defense budget by 5.3% to US$ 38.9 Bn. This increase in budget was seen in response to increasing escalation with its neighbors – Pakistan and China.
The Slowdown in the economy caused by a decline in oil price has resulted in the cut in the defense budget for some of the matured economies which may affect the demand for thermal cameras from military and defense end users. For instance, in March 2017, Russia announced to decrease its defense budget by 25.5% to ~ US$ 50 Bn. Western sanctions and a slump in oil prices are the causes of this decrease in the defense budget.
Key players operating in the global rugged thermal camera market are Flir Systems, Inc., Fluke Corporation, BAE Systems, Inc., Bosch Security Systems, Raytheon Company, SKF, Leonardo SpA, Thermoteknix Systems Ltd., Axis Communication, and L3 Technologies Inc.
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