This article was originally published in the May 2009 issue of Geodriling International. Mike Deed, Managing Director of Geoquip Water Solutions Ltd, considers how the Laval R-Cam 1000 portable downhole video camera could revolutionise the borehole inspection industry.
THE ability to see into a deep borehole has been an aspiration for well drillers, well owners, and geologists for hundreds of years. Whether attempting to retrieve a lost tool, determine the cause of sandy water, demonstrate the results of cleaning a well or show the depth of a newly drilled borehole, the need for a visual inspection is crucial.
According to Mike Deed, managing director of Geoquip Water Solutions, it is not surprising that the camera that could revolutionise the borehole inspection process – and the drilling industry – has come from the Laval stable, home of the first borehole camera.
Geoquip is a specialist supplier to water-related industries and the UK distributor of the Laval R-Cam 1000. In 1946, Claude Laval II took on the challenge of designing a borehole camera system in the agriculture fields of Fresno in California. After several failed attempts, he discovered a design which could withstand the pressure of 600m of submergence, as well as the extra challenges of remote frame advancing and remote flash. His camera was 2.7m long and weighed over 90kg. With this technological breakthrough in the summer of 1947, Laval became the first person to photograph the interior of a well.
Sixty years later, technology has changed drastically. Cameras are more compact and affordable. Borehole cameras are commonly used for inspection of vertical pipes up to 1,525m deep. They weigh less than 6kg and utilise high-intensity lighting attachments. With remote focus, adjustable lighting and automatic gain controls, these cameras can inspect boreholes up to 183cm in diameter.
Mr Deed believes the introduction of the R-Cam 1000 has had a strong impact on the US drilling market. Geoquip has now brought it to the UK. He said: “It is a completely portable, self-contained video inspection system that can inspect boreholes up to 300m deep and 40cm in diameter. This lightweight, smaller size, professional-grade camera features dual viewing capability, an on-screen depth counter, liquid crystal display, DVD recorder, 12V DC power supply and everything else needed to conduct a professional survey.”