InfiRay Leans Into the Future of Thermal Optics

Focused research and development is helping InfiRay push the evolution of thermal optics.

InfiRay Leans Into the Future of Thermal Optics

Thermal imaging has come a long way over the past couple decades. Quality and availability have improved greatly and prices have moderated to put these optics within reach of more people than ever.

InfiRay has long been a manufacturer of thermal sensors, supplying OEM components to other optic brands before expanding to build complete optics in-house. This provides end-to-end control of product design, construction and quality control. InfiRay is the only thermal sight company that controls its own sensor manufacturing, so sensor design, lens selection, and image processing can all be tailor made to fit the parameters of a product. Shooting Sports Retailer recently caught up with the team at iRayUSA to talk about the company’s history, product development and the thermal market as a whole. Here’s our conversation with Director of Marketing Pliny Gale, Director of Operations Angelo Brewer, and company founder and CEO Tyler Adair.

SSR: The thermal market is rapidly evolving. How are you keeping pace?

Gale: iRayUSA, the American arm of InfiRay Outdoor, has grown considerably since its founding just three years ago. From three to nearly 30 employees, and with a larger selection of products, the growth is indicative that the brand clearly is doing many things right – transitioning from a boutique thermal product brand to one of the major players in the market. Previously operating in Ft. Worth, Texas, iRayUSA stays true to their Texas roots while expanding and moving to a new state-of-the-art facility in Lewisville (just north of Dallas). This new building contains corporate offices, warehousing, meeting spaces, as well as a modern shipping and processing center. The building also houses a quality control, research, and repair facility to support the famous five-day turnaround service guarantee that comes with the industry-leading iRayUSA five-year warranty.

SSR: InfiRay has delivered some innovative thermal optic features. What’s the company philosophy behind research and development?

Gale: With a massive research and development department, internal product teams compete to bring designs to market, innovating and pushing the state of the art further along. InfiRay’s introduction of the first commercially available 1280 resolution weapon sight is evidence of this superior technology.  

SSR: Are you aiming your products more at the outdoors and shooting sports side of things, or the tactical/LE market?

Brewer: Infiray Outdoor is best known for thermal weapon sights in the United States and thermal monoculars in Europe. Historically, customers are predator and hog hunters, but the thermal market is quickly growing in the defense, tactical, and emergency preparedness space. Products like the RICO Micro RH25 that can be used as a handheld optic, a helmet-mounted optic, a thermal clip-on, and a dedicated weapon sight reveal our brand DNA. We are hunters, but also shooters. We live in the intersection of the hunting and tactical industries.

SSR: Beyond manufacturing and selling, how do you support your products and customers?

Gale: iRayUSA is the US distributor of InfiRay Outdoor optics. This team handles importation, sales, marketing, and distribution in the United States. This often means the development of new firmware, custom mounting systems, and improved documentation over what is available globally, customizing the power of a global brand to best fit the American market. iRayUSA also provides what is likely the best warranty support in the thermal optics industry – a five-year warranty with a five-day turnaround guarantee. Because thermal optics can be difficult to repair, and are also ITAR-restricted (meaning they generally cannot leave the country), this leading and local warranty service is important. We pride ourselves on many products and features, but it always comes down to image quality and service. This technology can get complicated, and we aim to make it approachable. From a crisp, clear image to our warranty process and product literature, we improve the user experience with thermal technology. The brand clearly makes it a priority to educate customers, provide excellent service and focus on image quality. 

SSR: How can retailers be more effective selling thermal and night-vision optics?

Gale: There are two key ways for retailers to generally be more effective in selling thermal and night vision devices. First, have products in stock and on display for customers to try. There are many great online thermal shops, but just like day optics, first-hand experience is key. These are highly visual products, and should not just be ordered from a spec sheet. One 640-resolution thermal optic may look much better than another or one model may be easier for a customer to use. Give customers a chance to try different units. 

The second way to improve sales goes hand in-hand with the first – provide education. Understanding thermal optics can feel like learning a new language. iRayUSA has hired staff and built curriculum specifically for dealers to become teachers and guides in understanding and decluttering the highly technical world of thermal optics. 

SSR: What does the future of thermal technology look like?

Adair: With many special promotions on current products, it is clear that InfiRay is leaning into future products. We enjoy living on the leading edge of thermal weapon sight technology. We brought the first 1280 to market, and then the Hybrid series that can be used as a dedicated weapon sight, or in front of a day optic. The future of thermal optics will include more high-resolution options, higher refresh rates, and more multi-function devices.

SSR: What does a retailer need to do to begin carrying InfiRay products in their stores? Are there any dealer incentives or programs for new partners?

Gale: InfiRay Outdoor optics are available from several distributors (Bill Hicks, Sports South, and RSR). Dealers interested in stocking several different models can also order directly from iRayUSA. To get started, visit iRayUSA is currently offering several dealer incentive programs. 


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