FLIR thermal imaging shows how Columbia keeps people cool and warm in the outdoors

FLIR thermal imaging shows how Columbia keeps people cool and warm in the outdoors

Thermal News
FLIR thermal imaging shows how Columbia
keeps people cool and warm in the outdoors.
Columbia Sportswear uses high-resolution FLIR cameras to test its outdoor apparel and show advanced technologies to the public.
The World’s Sixth SenseTM
FLIR thermal imaging shows how Columbia
keeps people cool and warm in the outdoors.
Columbia Sportswear uses high-resolution FLIR cameras to test its outdoor apparel and show advanced technologies to the public.
Omni-Freeze ZERO technology
Thermal image of cooling action of Omni-Freeze ZERO
FLIR SC 8300
Columbia Sportswear Company uses high-resolution FLIR cameras to test its outdoor apparel and demonstrate its advanced technologies to the public. You may not know it, but when you’re out running, or hiking with friends, advanced technologies in your outdoor apparel are at work to keep you warm, dry, cool or protected. Columbia Sportswear not only creates some of the most innovative wearable technologies in the world, they want you to know it.
T650sc imaging the insulation ef ciency of down jacket
clearly for ourselves and also take very detailed images and videos for gaining knowledge and for explaining how some of our technologies work.”
Technology to keep cool and warm
Columbia uses FLIR cameras extensively to test the re ection on its Omni-
Heat Re ective technology, but the company also looks at other different insulation combinations to see where the cold spots are and where the heat
is escaping out of the jacket. With the FLIR cameras, Columbia can see tiny temperature variations, a must in order to have a good picture of the apparel’s temperature condition.
“Humans feel temperature variation very easily,” said Mergy. “You can be in room temperature and be ne in your T-shirt. But when the temperature drops a few degrees, you are going to want to put a jacket on. FLIR thermal cameras show these temperature variations very easily and we can learn from that.”
Columbia not only knows how to keep you warm, but also how to keep you cool. The company’s patent-pending Omni-Freeze ZERO cooling technology
Jeff Mergy with SC8300 HD viewing live image of Omni-Heat thermal properties
Columbia, a division of Columbia Sportswear Company, is a leading global outdoor apparel, footwear, accessories and equipment company. Since its founding in 1938 in Portland, Oregon, the company has dedicated its efforts to pushing the edges of product innovation, quality and performance. Columbia’s philosophy is summed up with the words “trying stuff.”
“Here at Columbia we want to be seen as the most innovative company in
the outdoors and we are constantly inventing new technologies,” says Andy Nordhoff, PR manager at Columbia. “We can incorporate them across our line and keep our customers warm, dry, cool and protected. In our laboratory the team is always working on inventing new things. They invent the technologies and then it’s up to the design team to incorporate them. And then the marketing team
has to build awareness around these technologies – I think that’s really where the thermal imaging camera comes into play. It’s making it very easy for us to tell a technology story without using very many words.”
High-resolution thermal imaging
“About 5 years ago, we came up with our Omni-Heat Re ective technology, which helps regulate your temperature with little silver dots that re ect and retain the warmth your body generates,”
Omni-Heat re ective technology
says Jeff Mergy, Director of Global Innovation for Columbia. “We tested this technology on mannequins, on cold chambers, and on people. We knew it worked, but we wanted another way to prove the technology’s effectiveness. That’s when we decided to purchase a FLIR thermal imaging camera. We used the camera to show how the technology is working and took it to tradeshows, showed it to our sales representatives, and we even made training videos with
it. This is how we really got people to buy into the fact that it is actually re ecting heat.”
Today, the Columbia R&D team is
using two different FLIR cameras, the FLIR T650sc and the FLIR SC8300. The FLIR T650sc is a handheld thermal research camera with 640 × 480 pixel LWIR resolution that delivers precise results, and reliable temperature measurement accuracy. The FLIR SC8300 is a more advanced high- de nition thermal camera, with a
highly sensitive cooled InSb detector, 1,344 x 784 pixel resolution, and a
wide variety of functionality that has become indispensable for scientists and researchers.
“We use the FLIR T650sc a lot, because it’s easy to travel with,” says Jeff Mergy. “We take it to temperature chambers
to run tests and also use it in the lab. Our ‘big daddy,’ the FLIR SC8300 stays in the lab for the most part and that‘s really the most sensitive camera that we have. This is an ideal tool to present the bene ts of our cooling technology in great detail. We chose the 8300 because we wanted to be able to see very
Jeff Mergy, Director, Global Innovation
has tiny blue rings embedded into
the fabric that absorb your sweat.
This launches a reaction that absorbs heat and at the same time increases evaporative cooling to give you that cooling sensation. This actually cools off the fabric.
“For our cooling technology it would
be really hard to show that it is actually cooling down without thermal imaging,” Mergy continued. “So that has really inspired us to look at the temperature difference between the rings and the base fabrics and try to improve that.”
“I will never forget the rst time we hooked up a thermal imaging camera and looked at our Omni-Freeze ZERO
Andy Nordhoff, Public Relations Manager
technology at work. We were all in the lab and we could see that the rings
were visibly cool and were absorbing moisture. It was an exciting moment. We wouldn’t have seen it in another way.”
Marketing with thermal imaging
As precisely as FLIR thermal
cameras allow their team to measure temperatures and test Columbia’s apparel products and technologies, the role they play in helping Columbia evangelize for their technologies is just as important.
For most people, a thermal image is very easy to understand: red is hot, blue is cold. Mergy explained, “When we have

the cameras at trade shows and see customers interact with them, it’s nice to see how it makes people understand how our technology actually works. Most customers don’t want numbers and data. But when they see a picture and something simple, it resonates and they remember that.”
Andy Nordhoff, PR manager at Columbia con rms this: “At Columbia, we are really working towards making our technologies visible, whether it’s the little blue rings you can see on the fabric, shiny silver dots that will re ect your body heat back to you… we want those stories to tell themselves and with thermal camera imagery we can let those images tell our story for us.
“Colorful images are really like a magnet for consumers who have never heard of Omni-Freeze ZERO, or who may not ever have considered sweat-activated cooling apparel for themselves. But when we demonstrate the technology we also want people to come and be interested in that. And if we can show them an image and demonstrate the technology on their bodies, that makes a real impact and it helps us build awareness about our technology.”

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The thermal images shown are for illustrative purposes only, and may not have been taken by the camera series depicted.