One of the first questions on potential customers’ minds is usually, “What is the cost of a borescope?” Between $100 and $60,000. However, there are many different tools that fall under the category of “borescopes.” They range from rigid borescopes, ideal for applications that require only straight-line access to an inspection target, such as a gun barrel or borehole; all the way to high-end articulating video borescopes with numerous features, used in airplane turbine inspections, power plants, and countless other industries.
Other “borescopes” include semi-rigid scopes and fiberscopes. Semi-rigid borescopes are bendable and best for confined spaces that do not offer room for articulation. Fiberscopes have a lens attached to the end of a fiber optic bundle and are the closest option to video borescopes as far as quality and aptitude. A downside to fiberscopes is that if any of the fiber strands break, tiny black dots (broken pixels) will show up in photos and block viewing paths.
There is no “one size fits all” when it comes to borescopes. Common characteristics that determine which model is best for a particular application include articulation, portability, required power source, visual display clarity, image or video capture capabilities, insertion tube length, and illumination. Prices for borescopes tend to increase when additional features are offered, but depending on the application, these features may be crucial.
Knowing that the price increases when features such as video capture and articulation are needed, why invest in a high-quality articulating video borescope instead of settling for a lower priced product?
The answer: Investing in a borescope that won’t fully meet inspection needs will almost certainly cost a company more in the end. There would be nothing worse than purchasing a borescope only to discover that it cannot complete the specific inspection as required, resulting in being forced to upgrade to a more advanced model.
Not having a video borescope for internal inspections could lead to increased costs for disassembly of machines. These costs include not only the man hours that employees must set aside to disassemble and reassemble machinery, but also the income forfeited during the time the machine is not working. With a high-quality borescope, companies can perform preventative maintenance to foresee corrosion or other issues and act accordingly.
With an articulating inspection camera, maintenance professionals can get a detailed look at internal parts of machinery. Remote visual inspection (RVI) allows quality experts to see if any corrosion or faults are beginning to form ahead of time; giving companies enough time to order the parts that are needed from suppliers. When the parts arrive, machines can be quickly shut down, disassembled, have the necessary parts replaced, and reassembled in a much shorter time frame.
Without the forecasting, that a high-quality videoscope can provide, the alternative is days or weeks of downtime, high costs of expedited shipping, and man-hours lost.
High-quality video borescopes allow technicians to present inspection results with confidence by giving them the ability to provide hi-resolution photographic evidence of the internal state of the machine being inspected. Certain quality checks even require photographic proof to pass inspection tests, making an articulating borescope with image and video capture essential.
When considering the value of investing in a high-quality video borescope, be sure to factor in the importance of reliability. An inexpensive, low-quality borescope may save a company money up front but are likely to break after repetitive use. When an important part of the borescope is lost or broken, who is a maintenance professional going to call to have your part replaced in a timely manner? It is likely that there will not be someone readily available to walk them through a solution.
When the inspection demands it, the cost of not investing in a high-quality, articulating video borescope could be a cost that your company may not be able to afford. Remember, there is no single borescope that is ideal for every industry. Maintenance professionals can speak with one of RF System Lab’s borescope experts to find the right scope for their application, even if it’s not a VJ-Advance articulating video borescope. We’re happy to help make your remote visual inspections work for you!
Contact RF System Lab by calling 231-943-1171 for more information.