3 Essential Camera Features
for Piling Equipment
With a plethora of
selecting a camera can
be a project itself
By Mitch Stoeke, Dakota Micro, Inc.
Jump in the driver’s seat of
almost any newer piece of
equipment today and there will
likely be a camera of some kind.
However, among the types of
cameras used on heavy equipment
is a lot of variation in features,
durability and cost. How does a
construction manager know if they
have the right camera? What should
the camera be doing for an operator?
There is a laundry list of things a
construction manager, crane owner
or operator might want out of a
camera. Here are three essential
camera features to look for when
purchasing a camera system specifically
for the piling industry.
1. Triple-hardened glass lens
Camera lenses are available in a variety
of transparent materials. The
common two are plastic and glass.
While it may seem counterintuitive
to install glass on heavy construction
machinery, a triple-hardened glass
lens is superior to plastic. Plastic
lenses are less durable and like all
plastics, easily scratched. Plastic
lenses build up static electricity,
becoming a dust magnet for dry particles,
a no-go on dusty construction
sites. Both scratches and dust reduce
visibility, whereas glass lenses resist
scratches and particle accumulation.
Additionally, some cameras offer
autofocus, which means if particles
are present on a camera lens, the
camera will focus past those particles
for an unobstructed view.
2. Anodized aluminum
Many cameras are made of die-cast
aluminum, plastic or stainless steel.
Each of these has an Achilles’ heel.
For example, die-cast aluminum is
prone to casting defects and can be
quite brittle in the cold. Also, it can
easily break if put under pressure.
Plastic is sometimes a good solution
for some caustic environments, but
heat, cold and sunlight can weaken
the body over time. Plastics fade,
become brittle and easily break.
While stainless steel is durable and
resists corrosion, it is expensive;
and keep in mind, a major flaw of
stainless steel is that rust is easily
introduced when scratched. When
rust penetrates the camera body, the
camera will fail.
So, what’s recommended? Camera
bodies carved from a solid billet (not
cast) of anodized aluminum, which is
an extremely durable material that
will hold up to heat and cold as well
as wet and caustic environments
3. Wireless options
For a lot of heavy construction equipment,
cables are just fine. For piling
operators, not so much. As piling
equipment travels longer distances
than other equipment, and cables can
get bunched upon retraction, it’s beneficial
to look for a camera supplier
that offers wireless capabilities.
However, if opting for the cable
route, pick a provider that offers
flexible silicone cables. The benefits?
It remains flexible in hot and cold
conditions. Many manufacturers
use PVC-jacketed cables, but these
become rigid in the cold and degrade
in the heat. That can cause small
breaks in the jacket, which allow
water and particulates to penetrate
and compromise cables.
Note, too, that some camera manufacturers
offer adapter cables for
third party monitors. This is a great
solution to save space and money by
plugging in to an existing monitor.
Durability is a huge consideration
in camera selection in the crane
industry. That’s why the ingress protection
(IP) and impact protection
(IK) ratings matter.
Construction managers should
select a camera with the highest
IP and IK ratings in industry. An
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