With the help of industrial borescopes, you are able to perform remote visual inspections in areas where it will be almost impossible to see with our human eyes directly.
This term “borescope” is a generic term, which generally describes different types of products or technologies, which are used for doing internal inspection.
Borescopes are used for many different applications like:
- Law enforcement
- Metal casting
- Power generation
While using for different industries, borescopes may vary in their length, diameter, and few other functionalities.
In order to answer the important question like “What is Borescope?”, let us take in-depth look at all kinds of borescopes.
What is borescope?
USA Borescopes are optical tools that are used for viewing those areas, which would otherwise be invisible to our eyes. A borescope can be inserted into the item being evaluated without destroying that item of interest.
Borescope generally consist of the following few components:
- Rigid/flexible working length
- A light source for illuminating the target which is under inspection.
- Few optical systems which may consist of relay lens system, fibre optic image guide. rod lens system and CCD or CMOS type of camera.
- Monitor or eyepiece for viewing the image
Let us discuss about few different types of borescope in a brief manner.
Since last 80 years, people have been doing remote visual inspection and during the Second World War, the earliest rigid borescopes models were used in order to do interior bore examination for large guns.
Even today, such rigid borescopes are used for borehole or gun barrel inspections. They are ideal for those applications where you need only straight-line access for inspecting the target.
These rigid borescopes usually are simple tubes in shape of long, thin telescopes, which use lens system for sending an image to relay lens from your object, which has to be viewed on real-time.
This can be accomplished with the help of an eyepiece on your proximal end and another angled mirror that is pointed toward opening in tube on distal end.
Little more advanced than the above model is semi-rigid borescopes which are bendable and most suitable for confined spaces, which do not offer any room for articulation. These borescopes are more durable than rigid borescope, mainly because of technological progress.
However, their image quality is poorer than other borescopes, which may deter companies for high-resolution image viewing.
Few such semi-rigid scopes come under the classification of fiberscopes, which are usually offered in the semi-rigid form. Your image may suffer from pixilation and viewing screen and also photos may display only tiny black dots because of broken pixels.
Fiberscopes came in the market almost 35 years back with development of fibre optics. Fiberscopes bundle together from 3,000 to 30,000 or even more fibre strands.
Fiberscope uses such fibres for transmitting image from lens closest to object viewed through bundle to relay lens.
You can capture the image by the lens and can be directly viewed through either an eyepiece, or by attaching eyepiece to a camera which displays image on monitor.
Main advantage of fiberscopes is, they are flexible and are used for inspecting which is not possible with straight-line access. While few fiberscopes can also be classified as “semi-rigid”, they are available with few articulations too.
Articulation in borescope will really mean that just within 2” space, insertion tube of scope can always be pointed in certain direction, with control knobs at proximal end.
In quality and aptitude terms, articulating fiberscopes will be closest choice for video borescopes. There are however few downsides to fiberscopes. Few low-cost fiberscopes, for example, use elastic fibres instead of glass fibres.
Image quality for such scopes may vary among different models based on a number of fibres. For fiberscopes, fibre transparency directly relates to quality of image. As an example, looking through plastic drinking glass is more difficult than any glass one.
Another downside of fiberscopes is, if any fibre strands break its from rough articulation the image may suffer from pixilation of viewing screen and all photos may display as tiny kind of black dots caused due to broken pixels.
If the strands once start to break, there will be no repairing and your entire unit have to be changed.
Most recent development on technology of inspection camera is same as fiberscopes where there are articulating videoscopes and also non-articulating videoscopes.
Main mechanical difference between fiberscopes and videoscopes is that videoscope has micro video camera, which is located at far end of insertion tube.
Camera will directly capture the inspection image which is electronically carried as video signal down to insertion tube to video processor and the display.
Due to this process much higher resolution quality of image is obtained without threat of pixilation that may occur in fiberscopes.
Any high-quality image videoscopes can be valuable tool in many industrial/commercial applications, particularly for repair and maintenance inspections.
Commonly they are used for remote type visual inspection of turbines, engines, boiler systems, industrial equipment, power plant equipment, structures, and certain law enforcement situations.
Videoscopes are not just one-size-fits-all. Most common characteristics which decide which model can be best for particular application include
- Image quality
- Required power source
- Visual display clarity
- Video or image capture capabilities
- Insertion tube length
Typical RVI applications need portable and lightweight borescope which does not need “plug-in” power source. Few other features sought after usually by maintenance professionals about
- Single-hand operation
- Absolutely crystal-clear images
- Ability to “steer” borescope camera.
These borescopes offer all the features, like 4-way joystick-controlled articulation, medical grade camera and such things desired in any industrial type inspection camera at extremely competitive price range.
Performing remote visual inspection by using quality video borescope will save many hours which otherwise would be needed for disassembling and inspecting internal components of the critical systems.
This is perfectly suited for a very wide range of industrial and commercial inspection scenarios.