Camera-equipped borescopes—also known as endoscopes and videoscopes—are among the most useful tools in an aviation technician’s toolbox. Their thin, flexible and steerable extension arms with camera/light-equipped tips provide inside views of airframes and engines in the tightest of spaces and allow diagnoses to be made without having to tear down the section under inspection.
There are many suppliers of professional-quality endoscopes on the market today. Aviation Maintenance got in touch with the vast majority of them, to find out what new and useful products they have to offer. Here is what they told us!
GE Measurement & Control
GE Measurement & Control’s Mentor Visual iQ VideoProbe borescope is specifically designed for the aviation maintenance industry. The Mentor Visual iQ comes with a wide range of connected features to make measurement easier and more accurate. They include a touch-screen user interface and guided workflows to improve inspection ease and productivity; on-demand measurement that allows inspectors to measure indications without removing the probe and changing tips; and 3D measurement/surface scanning for multiple probe diameters down to 4.0mm.
Now the connected part: the Mentor Visual iQ borescope can be Wi-Fi connected to any wireless-enabled computer. This “allows remote experts to watch and guide live inspections in real time from any PC, anywhere in the world,” said Tom Ward, product manager for Mentor Visual iQ. “This is particularly helpful for customers with large fleets.”
All told, “Mentor Visual iQ offers on-demand 3D measurement and surface scanning to allow inspectors to view indications from multiple perspectives and make precise measurements of length and depth, which improves probability of detection,” Ward said. This capability is a boon at a time when the aircraft industry is facing a shortage of skilled inspectors and experts, while managing large global fleets.
“Mentor Visual iQ allows inspectors to share live video of inspections with remote experts who can provide a second opinion or direct critical inspections in progress,” said Ward. “For large global fleets this can be invaluable in terms of getting assets back into service faster, or avoiding false calls. It certainly can save on travel time and avoid having to ‘scramble’ experts to the scene.” Details at www.gemeasurement.com.
radient Lens Corporation
Gradient Lens Corporation’s patented endoGRINS gradient-index lens technology is built into its Hawkeye Borescopes, providing what the company says is “excellent image quality at prices one-third that of comparable visual inspection instruments.” (Source: www.gradientlens.com)
Recently, Gradient Lens added notation capability to the still and video images shot using the company’s Hawkeye V2 Video Borescopes. Known as the V2’s Annotation Feature, this capability allows inspectors to add their notes to the images/footage they capture, for later review and archiving. “This function will be key to those who are conducting mission-critical inspections, like aircraft maintenance, wind turbine and power-gen maintenance, and any transportation-related inspection,” said Dr. Douglas Kindred, president and chief scientist of Gradient Lens Corporation.
Hawkeye V2 borescopes is also being sold with a new LED light source that is 1.45 times brighter than its predecessor in the 4mm diameter V2, and 2.1 times brighter in the 6mm V2. “One and a half to two times more light makes a huge difference to users,” said Dr. Kindred. “Furthermore, the intensity of the new V2 LED Light can be adjusted more much finely than the previous model, giving users more flexibility inside either small, or large, inspection areas.” More details at www.gradientlens.com/V2.