bullet Uncooled Infrared Imaging: Commercial & Military Applications. Market Report 2012-2017



Uncooled Infrared Imaging: Commercial & Military Applications. Market Report 2012-2017

Fueled by consumer applications, MEMS market keeps growing and MEMS company acquisition values are climbing !

Publication date: 2 July 2012

Price: EUR 3,990


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Infrared camera price below $ 1000 will boost sales over 1 million units in 2017




Initially developed for the military market by US defense companies, infrared (IR) uncooled cameras are now widely used in many commercial applications. This report provides an overview of all the infrared technologies currently commercialized focused on uncooled Long Wave Infrared/thermal  detection with microbolometers. Market forecasts till 2017 with in-depth analysis of commercial and military markets is provided, along with a description of the main active players and the lasts technological evolutions and future trends.



                            Uncooled thermal camera market     




SALES WILL GROW FROM 320, 000 IN 2011 TO 1,1 M UNITS IN 2017
Commercial business is expanding at a high rate and is driven by three main markets:

  • Thermography market: still the largest commercial market, sales have boomed in 2011. An increasing competition from new entrants from the power tool market e.g. DeWALT, Milwaukee Tools will make camera price drop down below $1,000 and accelerates thermal imaging adoption by new categories of users (electricians, contractors…).

  • Automotive market is concentrated in only one supplier, Autoliv, but has increased sales by + 30 % in volume in 2011. It is expected that IR cameras sales for automotive will exceed 300,000 units in 2017, but installation rate in cars will remain below 1% in the long term.

  • Surveillance becomes a strategic market and focuses the attention of all IR supply chain players: detector, core, and camera manufacturers. Major new entrants from visible CCTV, and military markets have positioned on that growing business and have started a price war.


Commercial market will compensate for the decline of military market mainly occupied by U.S. companies.


Cost driven price reduction (-15 % / year) is rapidly broadening the use of Infrared cameras in many commercial markets and specially in thermography and surveillance markets. In thermography, ultra low end cameras have been introduced with success by FLIR in 2010, and Dewalt will introduce a new model in 2012 at the breakthrough price of $ 999. In surveillance, FLIR and Axis are competing heavily on the pricing and DRS introduced a middle end camera at the incredible pricing of $ 2,000 in 2012, half what has been typical !



                            Thermography cameras price evolution     




PRICE DECREASE IS DRIVING R&D DEVELOPMENTS Wafer Level Packaging is confirmed as a significant trend to further reduce detector cost and will be a strategic issue for new players to successfully enter the market. FLIR started to use WLP in 2011, and soon other players will follow. (Raytheon, Sensonor, NEC…).


Pixel size miniaturization is a key trend to further increase the resolution of the imager and decrease the cost of the optics. In 2012, 17 µm pixel pitch has become a standard in new product release, approaching the 12 µm physical limit.



Uncooled infraerd image report



While the size of the pixel decreases, sensitivity of new sensors increases to approach 30 mK (SCD, ULIS). That evolution will enable to broader the microbolometer adoption to high performance applications so far  exclusively targeted by cooled IR detectors.

An increasing trend toward multispectral imaging at end-user level has driven several microbolometer developments. Image fusion aiming at combining several spectral bands (MWIR, LWIR, Visible…)to increase system performance and added functionalities to thermal camera users. SCD has paved the way for dual-band imaging by releasing a wide band imager realizing on-chip fusion of LWIR & MWIR.


  •     The objectives of the report are the following:

  •     Provide applications understanding

  •     Application description

  •     Market drivers for thermal cameras, other competitive technologies

  •     Main market and technical trends per application

  •     Provide market data on both camera and detector levels

  •     Camera and detectors units shipments, revenues, pricing evolution

  •     Detectors/microbolometer sales by format and price evolution by format

  •     Market share of the detector manufacturers

  •     Provide an overview of the IR camera supply chain and value chain

  •     Latest acquisitions and alliances

  •     Who are the main camera players in each market and their relationships with detectors manufacturers

  •     Evolution of the camera and detector manufacturers business models

  •     Who are the peripheral players involved : ROIC, optics, foundries…

  •     Analyze the main technological trends for detector/microbolometer:

  •     Pixel size reduction, wafer Level Packaging, 3D integration, Wafer Level Optics, Pixel level packaging, new  functions.


ACREO, Aerius Photonics, Aerovironment, Agiltron, Allied Vision Technologies, Arhus, Associated Technology (Chongqing) Corp, Audi, Autoliv, AXIS Communications, AXSYS, BAE Systems, Beijing Hamilton Technology Limited (BHT), BMW, Bosch, , Bullard, Cantronic, Cobham, Cohu, Current Corp, Dali, DAS Photonics, DeWALT, Draegger, DRS, Elbit, Electrophysics, ETH, Extech, Faun Infrared, Fluke, FocalPlane, Fraunhofer IMS, GM, Goodrich, Guide Infrared, GWIC, Honda, ICx Technologies, Image Match Design,Infrared Solutions, INO, InVisage, Ipht Jena, Irisys, Irvine Sensors , ISG, Jenoptik, Kimo Instruments, KTH, L3 Com, Lumasense Leti, Magnity, Melexis, METU MEMS, Mikrosistemler, Milwaukee Tools, Mitsubishi Electric, MSA, Murata,  National Nanofab,  N2 Imaging, NEC Avio, NIT,  NoblePeak Vision, Northrop Grumman, OKSI, Omnivision, Opgal, Pelco, QinetiQ, Qioptiq, Raptor, Raytheon, RedShift, Safran, Sagem, Samsung Techwin, Sarnoff, Satir, SCD, Scott, Schott, Selex Gallileo, SensArrayInfrared, Sensonor, Sensors Unlimited, Silex, Sirica, Sofradir, Sumitomo Electric, Syonix, Tamron, Teledyne Dalsa, Testo, Thales, Thermoteknix, Toshiba, Trijicon, Tyndall, Ulis, , Ulir vision, Umicore, Vectronix, VDS Vosskühler, Vigo Systems, Wenzhou Wealth Port International, Xenics, Zeiss, Ziptronix.




  • Microbolometer manufacturers:

    • Identify and evaluate IR camera markets with market size, growth and key customers

    • Analyze the threads and opportunities of new emerging technologies (WLP, WLO…)

    • Monitor and benchmark your competitor’s advancements

  • Financial & Strategic investors:

    • Understand the main market dynamics and main  technological trends

    • Get the list of the key players and emerging start-ups of the camera and detector industries

  • To provide an overview of the IR camera supply chain:

    • Who are the main camera players in each market and their relationships with detector manufacturers

    • Evolution of the camera and detector manufacturers business models

    • Who are the periphery players involved: RO IC, optics, foundries…

  • To provide market data on both camera and detector levels:

    • Cameras and detectors unit shipments and revenues

    • Detectors/microbolometer sales and price evolution by format

    • Market share of the detector manufacturers

  • To analyze the main technological trends for detector/microbolometer: Pixel size reduction, Wafer Level Packaging, 3D integration, Wafer Level Optics, Pixel Level Packaging

  • Equipment & Material manufacturers:

    • Understand the IR camera and detector supply chain and its evolution

    • Identify new opportunities and prospects

  • Camera manufacturers:

    • Get the list of the top microbolometer detectors manufacturers

    • Spot the new potential suppliers with disruptive technologies

    • Roadmap potential cost reduction of microbolometer


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