How Do I See Through A Combo Of Steam And Cold Air?

Ok here is a scenario I am interested in comments or feedback.

Scenario: Outdoor industrial area (Class 1, Division 2), extreme cold ambient air temperatures, heavy steam in area obscuring equipment.

Goal: Monitoring equipment within steam covered environment most likely from a camera mounted a distance away from the steam environment.

Challanges: 1) Class 1 Division 2 area classification, 2) Large temperature gradients within air due to the steam in environment.

So to summarize: You're looking for an intrinsically safe rated camera that needs to see through steam?

Is this camera fixed or a PTZ?

That is correct. One solution for me is to mount the camera outside the classified area and use telescopic (camera to target distance is approximately <200ft.). The second challenge is more difficult trying to penetrate the steam in the air.

It would be a FIXED camera

How much is the solution worth to you?

Pentax had those PAIR lenses a while ago:

They were very pricey, as I recall, but they'd give you the zoom and ability to see what you want from a distance.

I would wager that an average thermal cam would NOT work well in that scenario unless the equipment was very warm (if it's large metal equipment in an outdoor area (like a mine), it's probably not very warm).

Refering to the discussion section in IPVM on previous Class 1 Div 2, yes most of the solutions for C1D2 compliant cameras or camera+enclosures which are pricey. But are generally typical in our environment. However, in this case I would prefer to mount outside that classified area. I think the more challanging task is to penetrate the steam in the air. Portions of the equipment are significantly hotter all the time so there is a chance to see it but again quite large thermal gradients in the surrounding air envirnoment,

Is there a single source of steam, or are there multiples?

Could you add a few feet of ductwork or stack and redirect the exhaust?

Mulitple sources of steam at ground level and various levels. Wind changes of course so there isnt any one particular mounting position better than the other.

I realize this is a 'niche' type of question for this forum but I think it is very common for an industrial outdoor environment end user like myself especially in the winter months.

It's a good question, not an easy one :), but don't apologize for asking. Let's see what options are out there.

Thermal with possible supplemental visible imaging must be considered, I believe. This fixed thermal from FLIR, is interesting, It comes in focal lengths of 9 to 100mm, (24 to 4.6 degrees horizontal AOV), and is ruggidized and all weather.

This is a from section on steam from their machine-vision thermal camera brochure, so I'm not sure how similar the results might be compared with their security line.

What's your FOV width at 200 ft?

*Full disclaimer, I don't work for FLIR, but I do own a couple.*

FOV is estimated around 200ft with approx. 125ft to target range @ 102degrees and 2.1mm so it is a wide angle view.Exmaple FOV Calculation

I am the FLIR guy......try before you buy. Reach the local guy and borrow a camera for testing.

Thank you Greg, I beleive we have a rep that another department uses and I am trying to find out who that is. we use FLIR hand-held inspection displays. I may simply try one of those first in the area then go from there.


John can supply my contact info and I would be happy to search internally for the right person to assist.

Thank you Greg & John.

The widest we offer and possibly the industry offers is 90 degrees with a 640x480 LWIR detector. At 200' that must be a good size piece of equipment. As a note, I believe that combo is available with radiometric information. BUT...we need to better understand the whole requirement and expectations.

Thanks Greg, yes I understand about whats out there. basically I am understanding the requirements myself and at this point the main constraint is the C1D2 envirnoment which significantly reduces the options from a camera standpoint. I will contact you.