#See It Clearly – What’s Your Inspection Camera Really Costing You?
With the ongoing and rapid advancements in camera and imaging technology it can sometimes be difficult to know what camera is best suited for your industrial video applications. Performing successful confined space or hazardous area inspections can be tricky - you could easily find yourself drowning in an ocean of video inspection hardware, trying to identify the best suited equipment. It’s a pretty daunting task - finding the right combination of durability and quality, while managing to stay on budget and within the project guidelines.
At first glance, small consumer cameras look like an ideal solution for many Remote Visual Inspections (RVI) or General Visual Inspections (GVI) in hazardous areas and confined spaces. With many features similar to the Crystal Cam Cameras, they offer battery power, a compact design, and they can be easily mounted on a number of tools and devices. And for a lot of projects, they work just fine; we’ve even heard some of our customers say things like “My recreational camera is ok, why would I change equipment now?” But, if you find yourself evaluating your video inspection capabilities, here are a few important considerations:
- Lighting. Most RVI applications require remotely controllable lighting to illuminate the scene and highlight features and obstacles. Consumer cameras require extra, external light sources.
- Durability. An industrial RVI camera should be able to operate deep underwater, in confined spaces, or in hazardous chemicals. A broken camera on the job site is a killer. Even if you have a spare, the wasted time can cost a lot; Ben Franklin knew what he was talking about when he said, “Time is money!”
- Imaging challenges. Many industrial inspection applications are performed in challenging settings – zero light, turbidity, or low contrast environments all cause problems with basic consumer camera systems
All of the above, however, are readily addressed with standard, off-the-shelf equipment from Crystal Cam Imaging. Our cameras have LED lighting built right into the head, and both our epoxy and metal housing cameras have demonstrated their durability time and time again, in some of the most brutal environments. And, when those imaging challenges arise, the HeliosTM Image Enhancement System can be easily added top-side, to help clear up the picture and improve contrast.
So, what’s left to consider? Another common refrain we hear - “I can’t afford a commercial or professional grade camera.” But consider the alternative; if you have ever gone out into the field to perform an inspection and come back with video that is unusable due to poor lighting or image quality, or even a broken camera, you probably understand the true cost of using the wrong tool for the job.