Why You Need To Invest In A Hazardous Environment Borescope

by | Sep 16, 2021 | News, Blog

For some industries, a hazardous environment borescope is vital to conducting safe inspections. This guide covers the basics of these tools and why they’re worth the investment.

When an inspection calls for a look inside a hazardous environment, opt for an industrial borescope that can take the heat.

Whether affected by heat, pollutants or toxic gases, hazardous environments are not suitable for humans. They also are not suitable for some borescopes. In these cases, you’ll need a hazardous environment borescope. These tools are built to withstand extreme temperatures and are resistant to various liquids, including oil and water.

Some inspection cameras, known as “intrinsically safe” borescopes, limit the amount of electrical and thermal energy they produce. This allows the operator to inspect confined spaces with the assurance the tool will not ignite any combustible gases within.

Hazardous environment borescopes have the potential to save lives. According to Bloomberg, “More than a thousand U.S. laborers have been killed working in confined spaces like that in the past decade.” Not only do these specialized borescopes prevent explosions, they also protect workers from exposure to deadly gases.

If you’re looking for a hazardous environment borescope, look no further. This article covers the basics of these durable inspection cameras and the benefits they provide, so you can be confident in selecting the right one for your needs.

The Basics Of Hazardous Environment Borescopes

Like any other borescope, the hazardous environment borescope is an inspection tool consisting of an eyepiece or camera attached to the end of a rod or cable. These two features allow the operator to remotely examine the machinery or infrastructure at hand.

Unlike other industrial borescopes, the hazardous environment borescope can be used to inspect spaces that may contain volatile or hazardous conditions. Safety certification company UL defines hazardous locations as a, “Location where explosion or fire hazards exist due to the presence of flammable gases, flammable or combustible liquid-produced vapors, combustible dusts, or ignitable fibers or flyings.”

However, hazardous locations present varying dangers and not all hazardous environment borescopes are created equal. Typically, these inspection cameras are categorized in accordance with the environment they are built for. For starters, let’s cover two classifications of hazardous locations: Class I Division II and Zone 0.

According to UL, Class I Division II refers to a location where “Volatile flammable liquids or flammable gases or vapors exist, but are normally confined within closed containers.”

Although volatiles present at a Class I Division II location are processed or handled, it’s possible their storage container has sustained undetected damage, allowing combustibles to escape. With the right hazardous environment borescope, maintenance professionals can inspect these environments without fear of igniting an explosion.

While similar, Zone 0 locations are distinct from Class I Division II. According to UL, Zone 0 is a location where “ignitable concentrations of flammable gases, flammable liquid-produced vapors, or combustible liquid-produced vapors are present continuously or for long periods of time under normal operating conditions.”

Like a Class I Division II location, Zone 0 spaces require a similarly explosion proof borescope.

While hazardous environments are commonly associated with volatile conditions, it’s important to remember some high-risk inspections present different dangers, such as extreme temperatures or contact with various liquids. For cases like these, you’ll need a heat resistant or waterproof inspection camera.

Now that we’ve covered the basics of hazardous environment borescopes, let’s dive into the many benefits these devices offer so you can feel confident in choosing one.

Three Reasons You Need A Hazardous Environment Borescope

There are many benefits to owning a hazardous environment borescope.

Most importantly, they keep your employees safe no matter the environment, be it extreme temperatures or toxic gases. By ensuring safety, these industrial borescopes also enable the remote examination of infrastructure and machinery inaccessible to other inspection cameras. This saves both the time and cost of disassembly.

Just remember, different industrial borescopes are suited to different hazardous environments. Your selection should depend on the type of inspections for which you plan to use your borescope.

Here are three main reasons maintenance professionals invest in hazardous environment borescopes.

1. Hazardous Environment Borescopes Prevent Deadly Workplace Accidents

Those who are working in a volatile environment, such as Class I Division II or Zone 0, need an industrial borescope that will not ignite an explosion.

While they are used in many fields, hazardous environment borescopes are particularly popular in the chemical and petrochemical industries and the oil and gas industries. They are also frequently used by those working with landfill venting systems, fuel tanks and gas turbines.

If this sounds like you, consider an intrinsically safe borescope or an explosion-proof borescope. According to Pro Tool Reviews, intrinsically safe equipment “is not capable of releasing enough electrical or thermal energy to cause ignition in a hazardous location.”

Intrinsically safe borescopes are built with a specialized electrical circuit that limits the energy the device can release. This ensures the borescope will not ignite any combustible gases present. For an intrinsically safe device suitable for Zone 0 locations, try Pearpoint’s P374 IS.

Explosion-proof borescopes achieve the same effect, but function a little differently. Pro Tool Reviews explains explosion-proof equipment “is able to contain sparks that might ignite material in a hazardous location.”

If you require a borescope with a higher energy output, opt for an explosion-proof borescope instead of an intrinsically safe device. At USA Borescopes, we offer a variety of industrial borescopes suited for explosive environments. Check out the USA-XP videoscope system series, available in 4mm diameter and 6mm diameter!

2. Hazardous Environment Borescopes Can Tolerate Extreme Temperatures

Hot or cold, the typical inspection camera cannot perform in extreme temperatures. For most industrial borescopes, any temperature above 176 degrees Fahrenheit will damage a device’s lens, sensors and electrical components.

However, many industries require a borescope that can perform inspections in high-temperature environments. These may include the metal casting and steel industries, as well as those working at waste power plants and chemical and petrochemical plants.

If this describes you, choose a heat-resistant borescope. These tools can perform inspections in environments as hot as 572 degrees Fahrenheit. And, when an inspection is too hot, the borescope’s heat sensors will let you know when you are at risk of damaging your device.

3. Hazardous Environment Borescopes Are Water-Resistant

When it comes to hazardous inspections, a water- and oil-resistant industrial borescope is a must.

Water-resistant borescopes are generally more durable than other inspection cameras and, when submerged in liquid, can better tolerate the pressure of the liquid.

For trustworthy protection against water and oil, check out this FreedomView videoscope. This tool provides a stainless steel shaft and probe covering, meaning it’s safe to immerse in water and fuel.

Keep in mind that borescopes can only withstand submersion for so long. Check your device’s user manual and waterproof rating to determine how long it can be immersed in liquid.

Looking For A Hazardous Environment Borescope? Contact Us!

From the military and law enforcement to the oil and gas industries, many organizations rely on these durable industrial borescopes to get the job done right and keep employees safe. However, selecting the right inspection camera may feel overwhelming there’s so much at stake. Luckily, USA Borescopes is here to help! Our seasoned staff is happy to assist you in your search for the right borescope. Contact us today!