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.
The 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.
Not 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.
Of 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.