“Inspection” is a word that can strike fear in the heart of a facility —
or it can be the key to keeping the facility alive and well. Inspection
equipment is a tricky segment for distributors to navigate, between
rampant tech updates and the sheer volume of product on the market.
We spoke with Bill French from Borescopes R Us to find out the most
important aspects of selecting a company to work with when sourcing
inspection equipment for your customers.
What To Expect When You’re
What do you see going forward?
It’s really turning into an update industry — where you check
back in a month and there is something new. It’s almost getting as bad as cell phones and computers where what you buy
today, a few months down the road the technology will have
changed because there’s a new feature or app available. There
are a couple of folks in the industry working on wireless features where the scope can communicate with an app on your
phone so you can immediately email that image or photo.
Service is important — and time sensitive
One of the features that seems to be most appealing is the ability
to service these items stateside. There has been a large influx of
Asian suppliers and they do a fabulous job servicing the product,
but it just costs so much to ship it back
to China or Taiwan for service — and
there is a much greater lead time. For
our distributors and end users, we do
offer a very competitive price for service stateside — where the customer
is not having to incur taxes and
duties and fees shipping the product
internationally. It really gets difficult, especially as more restrictions
are put on the international shipping of lithium ion batteries.
Buy from a company that is going
to continue to support their
legacy products. That is what is
becoming critical for the end user
— support, and the ability to be
able to keep up with technology.
What are some of the biggest developments in the inspection segment? On the video scope side, there are two different platforms of cam- eras — CMOS and CCD. CCD is higher definition and higher quality than the CMOS, but in recent months the CMOS video scopes are seeing better HD clarity. They are really catching up to the CCD in- dustry, so now the main difference is just cost. You can have the same features in two different scopes, but there is anywhere from a 150% to a 250% price difference between the two. Some of the customers that would not consider a CMOS image sensor before – because the image quality was just not there – now are considering them because of their enhanced clarity and the lower cost of ownership. For com- panies that have primarily only been using fiberscopes because of the cost of ownership of video scopes, the CMOS pricing has really come down over the last five years and distributors can probably offer their customers the CMOS technology and video scopes at the same price as fiber, or just 10 to 15% higher. These video scopes offer a number of great features: recording inspection that you can re-watch. It also allows you to document, archive, share details with customers, and keep a better record of operations.