UV Borescopes: What They Are And How They’re Used

by | Jan 25, 2021 | News

What are UV borescopes and what are they used for? In this article, we cover the must-know details of these helpful inspection cameras and their top uses.

Meta Description: What are UV borescopes and what are they used for? In this article, we cover the must-know detail of these helpful inspection cameras and their top uses.

For inspection jobs requiring nothing less than total accuracy, you need a UV borescope. These inspection cameras are equipped with UV light technology, making them essential to liquid penetrant inspection (LPI), a popular nondestructive testing method.

According to Quality Magazine, LPI “finds defects which are open to the surface, like cracks and porosity,” by applying the penetrant to the machine and allowing it “to soak into defects.” Often, the maintenance professional applies a fluorescent penetrant and uses a UV borescope to detect cracks, leaks and other imperfections.

On top of their powerful inspection abilities, these tools typically feature an articulating camera, enabling the operator to get a close look at even the most confined spaces. For these reasons, nondestructive testing professionals across many industries trust UV borescopes to get the job done.

Are you thinking of taking your borescope inspections to the next level? Look no further. In this article we cover what UV borescopes are, which industries use them and how to perform a liquid penetrant inspection.

What Are UV Borescopes?

UV borescopes are inspection tools that feature UV lighting capabilities. Typically, they consist of a flexible probe, which is fitted with quartz light fibers, and an inspection camera mounted to one end. When combined with a UV light source during a fluorescent LPI, these borescopes can detect even the smallest cracks and microfractures.

Flexible UV borescopes usually feature articulating cameras, allowing the operator to perform more diligent inspections and record them. Documenting inspections is essential when monitoring the condition of a machine. By comparing old and new footage, you can identify new damage and determine whether or not corrosion is worsening.

UV borescopes are popular in many industries, so they come in a variety of sizes. Most maintenance professionals choose an inspection camera 4mm, 6mm or 8mm in diameter. Probe length, however, can vary widely. Before purchasing a UV borescope, consider what you’ll be using your inspection camera for – extra probe length will just get in the way.

UV borescopes are distinguished by their ability to identify the most minor imperfections. While these tools make for the most accurate borescope inspections, not everyone needs one. Let’s dive into the most common uses of UV borescopes below!

What Are UV Borescopes Used For?

UV borescopes are most popular among nondestructive testing (NDT) inspectors. According to The American Society for Nondestructive Testing (ASNT), NDT “is the process of inspecting, testing, or evaluating materials, components or assemblies for discontinuities, or differences in characteristics without destroying the serviceability of the part or system.” Essentially, NDT aims to conduct a thorough inspection without impairing the parts or machine at hand.

While manufacturing and fabrication processes commonly employ NDT, we’ll stick to in-service inspections. And out of the many industries using NDT for routine inspections, the aviation and power generation industries rely most heavily on UV borescopes to perform visual inspections and LPIs.

UV articulating borescopes enable far more accurate examinations than traditional inspection cameras using halogen, xenon or LED lighting. When it comes to aviation and power generation, accuracy is vital – not only to ensure the condition of the machinery, but the safety of those nearby.

UV Borescopes in the Aviation Industry

In the aviation industry, safety is the number one priority, and NDT is a safe and effective way to determine whether or not an aircraft is airworthy. Many maintenance professionals rely on a borescope for routine and emergency inspections of the aircraft structure and engines. But when visual inspections are not enough, get out your UV borescope and conduct an LPI.

Even with the level of detail they offer, UV borescope inspections are an efficient way to get the answers you need. According to Aerospace Testing International, “Liquid penetrant testing is another simple and quick method widely used in aviation to detect surface defects and structural damage in non-porous materials.” In fact, LPIs are so convenient they can be performed “in-situ or in a workshop or hangar.”

So which UV borescope is right for you? If you’re examining small, narrow machinery, go for a 4mm articulating borescope. This inspection camera is valued for its versatility and is commonly used by aviation professionals to inspect turbine blades. Here, articulation is crucial. While a two-way articulating borescope is adequate, many professionals prefer an inspection camera that offers four-way articulation for optimal visuals.

When conducting an extensive inspection, choose a 6mm articulating borescope. Aviation maintenance professionals use these devices to examine rotating turbines, cylinders, transmissions and airframes. If you’re looking for something a little bigger, try the 8mm UV ITool System. This inspection camera is designed specifically for LPI and is suited for aircraft turbine inspections.

If you need a device that ensures airworthiness, look no further than a UV borescope. The detail they provide and the testing accuracy they enable is unrivaled. You’ll never go wrong with a UV boroscope inspection. 

Others Uses Of UV Borescopes

UV borescopes are also popular in the power generation and casting industries. Maintenance professionals in power generation tend to favor a 6mm articulating borascope, which are ideal when examining equipment for corrosion, erosion and other defects in turbine engines and other machinery. These inspection cameras can also be used to perform quality checks on welding.

The casting industry tends to favor non-articulating and articulating 4mm borescopes for equipment inspection. While an  articulating boriscope gives a maintenance professional a look inside complex equipment, non-articulating borescopes tend to be the more popular choice. During casting inspection, the risk of borescope damage is high. Rigid, non-articulating borescopes are less expensive and easier to repair than their flexible counterparts. 

When you’re working with expensive equipment that is vital to our communities, it is imperative that you minimize your impact on it. LPIs are among the most accurate and least invasive testing methods available. Grab a UV borescope today to get started.

Performing A Liquid Penetrant Inspection

Before you purchase a UV borescope, it is important you understand how to perform an LPI.

Start by coating the inspection surface in a viscous fluorescent liquid. Allow time for the dye to settle into any fractures, then clean the inspection area so that only the dye only remains in the cracks. Grab your UV borescope once you have cleaned the inspection area and insert it, along with the UV light source, into the machine’s entry point. The UV light will illuminate any imperfections while your inspection camera transmits and records inspection footage. Remember to use an articulating borescope if you are navigating any twists and turns.

Contact Us

With the help of a UV borescope, maintenance professionals can identify most any imperfections in their machinery. When safety is on the line, these inspections tools should be your preferred choice. However, there are many options available. If you’re considering a UV borescope, feel free to contact us. From articulating and non-articulating borescopes to the proper diameter, our seasoned staff of professionals will walk you through our inventory and help you choose an inspection camera that’s right for you.