The Thermal Imaging Systems market was valued at USD 5.19 billion in 2020 and is expected to reach USD 7.92 billion by 2026, at a CAGR of 7.78% over the forecast period (2021 - 2026). Infrared and thermal imaging systems have witnessed a paradigm shift in recent years, due to their increasing use in military and defense applications. Many countries are investing heavily in IR and thermal imaging systems to tackle global-political instabilities and fortify their military power, with global tensions rising rapidly, thereby driving the demand for these systems.â€‹
- Companies have also miniaturized IR and thermal imaging sensors, due to the advancements in technologies, making them portable and highly efficient, thereby increasing their ease of use. Handheld IR and thermal imaging systems gain traction for their portability and find its applications in various industry verticals, such as hospitals, saving repair times and heating costs.â€‹
- The factors, such as rising demand for surveillance across various verticals, gradually decreasing costs of thermal cameras, and rapid development of high-speed infrared cameras, lead to increased demand for IR cameras across the above-mentioned applications, consequently driving the market growth.â€‹ However, inaccurate measurements and image color issues associated with the cameras are challenging market growth. The industries heavily relying on IR cameras are military and defense and automotive.â€‹
- Further, automotive applications are expected to gain traction in the next five years. The increasing use of thermal imaging systems such as thermal cameras in the automotive sector to reduce the risks in driving, especially during the night, is one of the major reasons for the growth of this application's thermal imaging market.â€‹
- Furthermore, regional, national, and international airports are prized targets for criminal and subversive elements. Personnel and valuable equipment need to be protected, owing to which surveillance is witnessing rising demand at public places and airports. For instance, Copenhagen Airport employs FLIR Systems SR-Series thermal imaging cameras to make an even safer airport than before.â€‹
- The outbreak of the COVID-19 virus has disrupted the supply chain globally, especially in hardware, electronic manufacturing, and semiconductor companies. However, market demand is likely to increase, and several players are launching new products. For instance, in May 2020, Honeywell International, Inc. introduced an AI-enabled thermal imager that detects elevated body temperatures at the entryway of factories, airports, distribution centers, and other commercial buildings.
Key Market Trends
Applications in Militaryâ€‹ to Drive the Market Growth
- Military and defense were the very first applications of IR and thermal imaging systems. With the defense sector's rising investments on surveillance, IR, and thermal imaging systems adoption are expected to increase in the future.
- In the military sector, governments worldwide are investing in improving next-generation technology by providing military personnel with improved and accurate information. This has impacted the growth of especially short-wavelength IR cameras, as the adoption of IR thermography devices has increased in the defense sector. â€‹
- Globally, there is a growing trend of rising crimes and violence. This factor has raised the homeland security forces' budgets to procure the advance protective systems and gadgets. Modern warfare has become more asymmetric with an increasing number of non-lethal and lethal weapons. Furthermore, the Asia-Pacific region offers potential growth opportunities due to the rise in technology penetration and high defense spending, and the presence of many small and medium enterprises (SMEs).â€‹
- L-3 Communications, based in the United States, launched the latest Warrior Systems (ALST), and the company also signed a contract to deliver ground laser target designators to the Republic of Korea. The company has also released its latest Scarab system, a laser designator armed with range finding and an IR thermal imager, which is providing exact target designation during the day, night, and in all battlefield conditions. The contract value is approximately USD 30 million.â€‹
North America to Hold the Largest Market Share
- North America is expected to hold a significant market share for the IR and thermal imaging systems market during the forecast period due to the increasing adoption of infrared imaging products and services by organizations in the region for applications, such as surveillance, threat detection, automotive, predictive maintenance, and others.â€‹
- Companies in the region are developing new products or solutions to leverage the growing opportunity. For instance, FLIR Systems has recently launched a high-resolution Thermal Vision Automotive Development Kit featuring the high-performance FLIR Boson thermal camera for automakers, tier-one automotive parts suppliers, and advanced driver assistance innovators systems (ADAS). â€‹
- Moreover, previously used, mainly for military and commercial applications, early forms of night vision first came to the mainstream automotive market in the 2000 Cadillac DeVille, albeit at a cost approaching USD 3,000. Since then, thermal cameras and sensors have witnessed a reduction in their price. â€‹
- Most companies are keen on developing a better IR camera to provide detailed infrared information to gain a competitive edge over others. For instance, Telops introduced a high-speed infrared camera, which features a maximum data throughput of larger than 1 Gigapixels. The infrared camera can acquire images at 1900 fps in the full resolution, which can be increased up to 90,000 fps in sub-window mode (64 x 4 pixels.). â€‹
The thermal imaging system market is concentrated with the presence of a few dominant players in the market. The market innovations require the developers to have better understandings of the industrial process to deliver suitable solutions. The companies are trying to gain more market share with mergers and acquisitions. Some of the recent developments in the market are:
- March 2020 - Seek Thermal, a thermal imaging product provider, introduced Seek Scanâ„¢, a simple, low-cost thermal imaging system designed to automate body temperature screening using skin temperature as a proxy. Seek Scan is specifically designed and calibrated to deliver accurate skin temperature measurements while enabling social distancing protocols
- Dec 2019 - Raytheon Company will build two additional shipsets of SPY-6 radars under a USD 250 million contract with the U.S. Navy. The company is contracted to deliver a total of nine radar shipsets to DDG-51 Flight III destroyers.
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