When it comes to industrial video cameras, finding a camera that checks all the boxes for your specific application can be challenging. Every environment is unique, and sometimes, a custom video solution is the only option to get exactly what you need. IVC has a history of collaborating with customers to develop customized solutions that meet their distinct video requirements. 

We sat down with Bill Richards, IVC’s VP of Operations, to discuss scenarios where a customer might require a customized video solution and the kinds of customization work IVC can provide.

Question: There are so many video camera offerings in the marketplace. Why might a company need a custom video solution? 

Bill Richards: Many of the camera offerings in today’s market have become commoditized. Most video cameras are available from large manufacturers who do not offer any product customization. Or the design and construction of their cameras are not suitable for the customer’s purpose. For instance, a bullet camera typically features lightweight housing and only one lens choice, which won’t meet the requirements of a customer whose video application needs a specific lens housed in a rugged tube. Another example is a control box. While not as standard as video cameras, control boxes do not typically offer multiple camera feeds, different fiber optic connectivity options, and rugged construction with proper ventilation. 

Do customers typically know they need a custom solution when they contact us?
Bill Richards: Often, they don’t. They know what they want to achieve and may have some knowledge of what offerings are in the marketplace. However, there are numerous factors to consider, such as vibration from machinery, water or other fluid ingress, chemical resistance, dust, temperature range, etc. For camera assemblies, customers also need to think about image quality, frame rate, low-light performance, encoding, and more. When we work with customers to determine if a custom solution is necessary, we take all of these factors into account.

Another consideration is video management software (VMS). IVC offers several software modules to suit differing purposes, but we often customize our software to provide specific features requested by customers. We have an in-house software team to support these requests. There are few companies out there that can provide customized solutions on both the hardware and software sides.

What types of customization can IVC do?
Bill Richards: IVC has the expertise to design and fabricate just about anything associated with a CCTV system. This includes camera housings, complete camera assemblies, and control boxes that aggregate camera feeds. We can also handle the NRTL certification processes for hazardous locations, ingress (the intrusion of foreign matter like water or dust), impact, and other requirements in accordance with ANSI standards.

Could you share some examples of customization work that IVC has done for its customers?
Bill Richards: A worldwide systems integrator recently contacted us about needing a custom CCTV system for their new factory. IVC delivered a dozen control boxes and customized PTZ cameras. The control boxes provided the connectivity for the cameras by incorporating industrial-grade gigabit switches. Constructed with 316L stainless steel and rated NEMA 4x, the camera design included full termination points for 12-core fiber optic cable. Specific entry and exit glands were provided to the customer’s exact specifications. The cameras were tested at an independent lab to ensure verification with the customer’s specifications. 

Another example is a major US oil & gas services supplier. Over the past several years, IVC has been supplying custom camera assemblies to this customer. The assembly includes custom mounting to minimize vibration, as well as custom network and power connectivity. To date, we have over 1000 of these cameras performing in very tough oil rig environments and are experiencing a very high success rate.

What does the development process look like when creating a customized solution for a customer?
Bill Richards: When our technical sales team determines a custom solution is needed, they bring it to the engineering team. Often, a specification is jointly developed with the customer. As the design progresses, we keep the customer updated on any issues that arise and work toward a mutual resolution that meets the customer’s requirements. This process is called validation.

About Bill Richards: Bill Richards is the co-founder and Vice President of Operations at Industrial Video & Control. He leads the company’s hardware engineering efforts and has over 20 years of experience developing products for hazardous areas. Among his accomplishments, Bill pioneered the industry’s first line of IP dome cameras certified for use in hazardous areas. Bill holds a bachelor’s degree in engineering from the University of Michigan.