We install cameras on all kinds of construction and engineering projects, and we make sure they stand up to whatever kind of punishment you - our very dear clients - can throw at them. We’ve covered the sort of challenging environments that we’ve successfully worked in - at height, offshore, northern Scandinavian winters, summers in Oman - in a previous blog post. This time, we’ll look at all of the testing that our equipment goes through to make sure it works day in, day out, for years at a time, without fail.
We don’t use cheap third-party camera systems. What we’ve developed is better technically, is far more resilient and flexible, and, most of all, it’s been battle-tested extensively. We estimate that our cameras have captured about 850 years of time-lapse, so far!
A balmy day atop a lighting mast, Dubai
The Lobster Pot time lapse camera is looking away, as Senior Technician Luke poses with a snow-thing
The Lobster Pot patented ‘Crab’ module - All Crustacean, all the time
One of the worst things that can happen to a time lapse camera is that it’s switched off and, once the power is restored, it doesn’t switch on again. We’ve designed all of our hardware and electronics to spring back to life after a power loss.
This was a big driver for our move from an off-the-shelf miniature control computer to our own ARM-based system. With the old system, we found that if there was a power loss, 99% of the time the power being restored would bring the system back to life. But that’s not enough, of course, particularly when you have a couple of hundred systems out in the field, and power cuts on sites are not uncommon. Especially if some of those are in far-flung places... we have a full service guarantee too! So, with the new ARM system, we made sure that the successful reboot rate is far closer to 100% - by extensively testing a number of units ‘on the bench’. To add to this, we ‘soak test’ new units in the workshop for a few weeks with a rigorous set of power tests, to be absolutely certain that when they’re on site - when it matters to you - they will work perfectly.
WATERPROOF & DUSTPROOF
Splashes to Splashes, Dust to Dust
Full disclosure: We initially designed our own enclosure for the Lobster Pot because our supplier of ‘CCTV’ casings went out of business. There are however, a huge amount of advantages to having our own casing, built to our own specifications. The size and shape is far more appropriate for a high-quality digital SLR camera and lens, and we can fit ‘4K’ and ‘8K’ cameras with prime lenses in the same unit. We designed it for landscape and portrait use - we use this a lot for the huge amount of towers being built in London at the moment, as well as some of our more ‘monumental’ engineering projects globally.
With the new design, there was an opportunity to achieve a higher level of ingress protection than we could from an off the shelf unit. So we used an external testing facility to really put the new Pot through its paces. We achieved IP68 rating - higher than we’d aimed for - meaning that the Lobster Pot is protected against jets of water... and is completely dust-proof.
Lobster Pot - high above the streets of London.
Most of our cameras are installed at height. We have to maintain the safety of ourselves, of other people, and by extension, our equipment at all times. As well as the comprehensive safety training and experience our team has, we make sure that every camera we install at height has at least one, and often more, reserve safety systems in place.
Extract from a Structural Engineer’s report (four of about 50 pages)
We also use external fabricators to produce bespoke mounts for particularly complex projects, and use structural engineers to assess these designs, to ensure they can be placed safely in critical positions, anywhere.
Would you like to know more?
If the above has whet your appetite, get in touch.