When General Tools & Instruments saw a need for waterproof systems in the video-inspection market, the company responded with SeaScopes.
With the new line of IP67-rated video inspection systems, users from plumbers to marine search-and-rescue professionals "can perform inspections of flooded or submerged structures and other water-involved environments easily and safely with no concerns about damaging the systems," explains Roger Mayrides, VP of engineering and product development, in an interview with New Equipment Digest.
NED: Why did General Tools & Instruments decide to market this product?
RM: We recognized a need, a lacking in the industry.
Although nearly all video inspections systems out there—including all of General’s models—have IP67-rated camera-tipped probes, none had that rating for the full system, encompassing the grip and the monitor. So there were no systems designed to enable inspections underwater or where water is present, or that could eliminate concerns about accidentally dropping the grip and monitor in water or otherwise getting the system wet.
With General’s new SeaScopes, users can perform inspections of flooded or submerged structures and other water-involved environments easily and safely with no concerns about damaging the systems.
NED: How is this video inspection system different from similar products?
RM: General’s SeaScopes truly are groundbreaking. They are the first and only fully waterproof, totally submersible video inspection systems on the market. All elements of the SeaScope 660 and 600—the grips, monitors, and camera-tipped probes—are IP67-rated waterproof. Other “waterproof” inspection systems lack watertight grips and monitors.
Both of our SeaScopes are also fully buoyant and guaranteed watertight to a depth of 1 meter. Each will resist leaks at depths up to 2 meters for up to one hour.
NED: What problems did you encounter during the development process?
RM: The primary difficulty we faced in developing the SeaScopes was achieving the perfect watertight seal design. Getting the right seal around grip elements like the battery and memory card compartments in particular presented the biggest challenges. We went through three iterations of design changes before we got the waterproofing of the systems to perform to our satisfaction.
NED: How long did it take from conception to final production?
RM: It took us about six months to go from conception to final production.
An inventor presented us with a prototype of a fully waterproof video inspection system, but he hadn’t been able to get the waterproofing up to snuff. General’s in-house engineering team took over the sealing and waterproofing design to ensure that we achieved the IP67 standard for the entire system. We ended up with products that actually exceed the standard.
NED: Did cost factors play a role in changing the final design of the product? And, if so, in what way?
RM: Of course, cost is always an issue when developing new products, but we weren’t going to cut corners in our SeaScopes design just to save a few bucks.
Our primary concern was the integrity of the waterproofing capability of the systems. We did what we had to do to achieve our sealing and waterproof objectives and make the product reliable in the target environments.
NED: Who do you consider your target audience to be and what benefits will they realize from using this product?
RM: There are actually a wide range of audiences for whom we believe our SeaScopes are ideal.
Anyone who works in environments where water is present, or in submerged environments, is a target user. That includes everyone from plumbers and maintenance technicians in certain types of facilities to property inspectors and restoration contractors and technicians to marina workers and marine search-and-rescue professionals and beyond. With General’s fully waterproof SeaScopes, users can feel completely confident operating the systems in and around water.
The SeaScope 660 and 600 are ideal for such inspection settings as:
• sewer and waterlines carrying running water
• flooded properties
• submerged structures and parts of boats, ships, bridges, and offshore oil platforms
• marine search and rescue operations
• other submerged or water-involved environments
NED: Please add any other interesting sidelights that you think our readers would enjoy knowing.
RM: Each SeaScope model includes a 10-millimeter (0.39-inch) diameter, 1-meter (3.28-foot) long, close-focus, flexible-obedient camera-tipped probe with adjustable LED lighting.
Optional probes are available in lengths of 2, 3, and 5 meters.
What’s more, the SeaScope 660 and 600 each come with three probe-tip accessories: 45-degree mirror, pickup hook and magnetic pickup. Both systems feature a 3.4-inch (86.4-millimeter) color LCD monitor for large, crystal-clear video, and video can be inverted (rotated 180 degrees) to make it easier to read labels, serial numbers and the like.
Both models also have video-out jacks for viewing video in real-time on a TV monitor, and each is powered by four AA batteries.