Retrofit vs. New Inspection Truck: Is It The Solution For You?

Retrofit Inspection System 1

So your dedicated pipeline CCTV inspection vehicle is aging out, or maybe just showing signs of wear and tear. Worse yet, your inspection equipment and recording system have seen better days. Maybe your system is so old, it doesn’t even allow for PACP coding, or perhaps it no longer plays nice with your upgraded computer system. Or worse yet, it doesn’t allow you to use mobile input devices.

Whatever the reason, you’ve begun thinking seriously about upgrading your inspection outfit. Now the question is: New or retrofit? There are several considerations you need to make.

The ideal client for an inspection vehicle retrofit is the contractor or municipality who needs serious value for a large cost savings.

Retrofit Equipment 2The disqualifier would be if your vehicle is really old, has very high miles, or is exhibiting excessive maintenance requirements. If your vehicle is okay but your generator is on its way out, that can also be a disqualifier, because replacing it might well wipe out any cost savings of a retrofit. Once your truck or van reaches that point, putting new equipment into it is like putting that lipstick on the proverbial pig.

Cost vs. Benefits

If you’re in the group whose vehicles are still basically sound but whose inspection system is sorely in need of an upgrade, there are serious benefits to be gleaned from opting for a retrofit.

For example, you save the capital expenditure, since you already own the vehicle. A new vehicle plus conversion and installation will run you in the area of $180,000, while a retrofit will cost around $80,000. You can do a lot with that $100K savings.

Retrofit Inspection System 2Not to mention that you won’t have to get used to a whole new vehicle. You already know how yours works and have a comfort level with its operation, which means not a lot of ramp-up time in learning your new system and getting into a highly productive groove.

Saving Time, Too

Another prime consideration is how soon you need the new system to be online. A total new build-out takes 2-3 months, by the time the vendor gets the vehicle into production, while a retrofit usually takes 2-3 days, tops.

Retrofit Equipment 1Of course, there is the consideration of warranty. Our Cobra equipment is warranted for a year, but in a retrofit situation, chances are your vehicle and generator warrantees are long gone.

One thing to keep in mind in the long run: Taking good care of your vehicles and their maintenance up to date is the primary determinant of whether they will ever qualify as retrofittable trucks.

In summary, when deciding on going for a retrofit, take into account
• the age of your vehicle
• how much maintenance you have to do on it, and
• how much money you’ve sunk into it already.

If maintenance is too high on your existing vehicle, it’s probably not worth retrofitting. But if you’ve kept up with required maintenance and it’s still in serviceable condition, a retrofit may be exactly the right solution for you.

AssetDMS – Robust, versatile pipe inspection reporting and coding software

In our wrap-up of show season, we didn’t mention having exhibited our new AssetDMS CCTV asset inspection recording and reporting software. We were saving it for this post, because it’s rich and special enough to deserve its own space.

AssetDMS screen

Our AssetDMS team members, Leti and Hildemar, stayed busy in our booth, demonstrating this robust software for contractors and municipal representatives who are looking for a more versatile package that offers both:

  • NASSCO-certified PACP/LACP/MACP coding without the need to remember all codes and rules (though it does offer PACP reference photos for codes), and
  • the ability to import and export from ANY certified PACP/LACP/MACP database.

They walked our visitors through a full demonstration of AssetDMS screens and controls, while explaining that we developed the data collection process specifically to enable users in the field to collect data without having to manage multiple screens and complex database software programs. A touchscreen interface, like those of today’s smartphones and other modern electronics, makes the use of AssetDMS more second nature than work.

You could see the pleasure and, yes, even relief on the faces of these visitors, as they watched how easily they could manipulate AssetDMS, using its intuitive design and self-guiding prompts in a streamlined, simplified process that ensures critical information is always captured.

This unique CCTV pipeline inspection process is faster, easier and more productive than anything users have previously experienced. AssetDMS achieves this through several forward-looking features:

  • AssetDMS userComplete on-screen/context-sensitive help file
  • Drop-down menus and intuitive prompts provide quick access to common PACP Standard reference points,
    such as:

    • Defects
    • Pipe materials
    • Survey purpose
    • Locations
    • Pipe usage, etc.
  • Extensive reporting and easy-to-understand analysis tools
  • Data exported from a PACP database or ArcGIS® software can pre-populate work orders and inspection header information, based on historical data.

There’s so much more to learn about its capabilities and features. If you’re interested, call or click today for more information. For free demonstration of our AssetDMS soft­ware suite, call toll-free 800.443.3761 or email.

WWETT show booth, day one

Thanks for a great February!

February is always a busy month here at TrioVision/Cobra Technologies, and this year was no exception. It’s big show season, and we took ours on the road to Perry, Georgia for the APW Show, and to Indianapolis for the WWETT Show.

It’s always so great to see our current customers face to face, and to meet and make new ones. Technology is great (it’s our business!) but there’s nothing like being able to put a face with a name, and to really get a sense of our clients the way it’s only possible in person.

At both big shows, we had the distinct pleasure and pride of being able to showcase a few of our customers’ custom inspection vehicles, in which we had installed various of our systems, software and pieces of equipment.

Randy AskeaWe wish to thank Randy of Continental Pipe Services in Atlanta, for allowing us to use the Cobra Technologies mobile CCTV inspection van we created for them at the GPWA show. We were really proud to display our TrioVision TVT 150 Pipe Inspection System at both shows. This robust, Windows-based system performs complete CCTV pipe inspections, recording pipeline defects and synchronously transmitting video to the control unit. Our daylight-readable touch-screen monitor, along with our portable control unit, processes and saves videos in the field. Show attendees were pretty impressed, too.

TrioVision Xplorer FreeHD Pole Camera SystemWe also showcased our new Xplorer FreeHD Pole Camera System, a wireless high definition (Full HD 1920×1080) lightweight, portable video inspection system operable by one person. The system is capable of capturing stunning 1080P video and photos that your clients will appreciate and your community deserves. The control unit is based on user preference, and can be an off-the-shelf Windows® 10 Professional tablet PC, convertible laptop or standard laptop.

Cobra inspection truck and equipmentWe had a blast demonstrating our new Cobra C-801 belt drive mainline crawler and the C510 steerable storm crawler, as well as our muscular new King Cobra steerable transporter, with tracks or wheels on demand, automatic freewheel and automatic drive engagement, variable speed and versatile remote/manual elevator. It looks as cool as it sounds.

King Cobra Crawler

We gave away FREE NASSCO-certified PACP Software at the WWETT Show, just for stopping to visit us in our booth—just another way we always try to go above and beyond expectations.

All in all, it was a memorable show season, in which we proved our commitment to helping take the industry to the next level. As always, though, we couldn’t do it without you, and we really appreciate everyone who supports us as we support you.