Innovative Systems and Extensive Customer Support Help Make Inspection Contractors More Efficient

Envirosight focuses on giving its customers an edge by providing efficient, reliable pipeline inspection solutions

Innovative Systems and Extensive Customer Support Help Make Inspection Contractors More Efficient

 Envirosight inspection equipment works seamlessly with WinCan software, wirelessly uploading inspection results to the WinCan Web platform for instant sharing, real-time collaboration, rapid analysis and map-based data visualization.

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Envirosight was started in 2002 by President and CEO Rich Lindner. With experience gained at an industrial test and measurement company, Lindner knew products like the ROVVER X crawler and the Quickview zoom survey camera had unique potential for wastewater applications, so he set out to create a brand that emphasized localized support capabilities and customer experience.

Envirosight’s goal has always been to help contractors and municipalities gain better insight with less effort and investment. In subsequent years, the development of products like the Jetscan HD video nozzle, the CleverScan manhole camera and the Digisewer side-scanning camera were guided by that principle.

Jake Wells has been with Envirosight since 2002, first as a consultant, then as marketing manager and today as marketing director and partner. Like Lindner, he came from the world of industrial test and measurement, focusing on technologies used to inspect equipment used in power generation, aviation, oil and gas, process piping, wastewater and more.  

Cleaner recently spoke with Wells about the company’s product development and how Envirosight’s equipment and customer support help make inspection contractors more efficient.  

Cleaner: Tell us a little about the history of Envirosight and its products.

Wells: When Envirosight launched nearly two decades ago, we had a steep hill to climb. We offered a modular, highly maneuverable sewer inspection crawler to an industry that had long settled for large, clunky, single-purpose ones. But our team loves being out in the field with operators, and the more we showed the ROVVER crawler to contractors and municipalities, the more excited they got about how it could make their lives easier.

Fast-forward to today, and the agile, versatile ROVVER X is now one of the most popular sewer inspection crawler brands. That achievement is huge validation for our founding vision and our drive to keep trying new things.

Cleaner: What differentiates your inspection equipment from the competition? 

Wells: Innovation is in our DNA. We’re always looking for ways to give our customers an edge. Not only did our approach to crawlers gain traction in the industry, we pioneered several other technologies that are now commonplace. The patented Quickview zoom assessment camera, for instance, gives sewer workers a rapid, affordable understanding of manhole and mainline condition using specialized zoom optics and illumination. Our Jetscan HD was the first video nozzle to do away with wired connections. And Digisewer was the first side-scanning attachment offered for an inspection crawler system, allowing operators to rapidly capture a visual scan in a pipe with detail of every square inch.

Cleaner: What sort of needs do they address? Tell us about some of the inspection systems and what applications they best serve.

Wells: We’re always seeking to redefine industry expectations, and our new ROVVER X SAT II crawler is a great example of that. Lateral launch is one of the most demanding yet lucrative applications for contractors, and they are always seeking equipment that offers enhanced reliability, capability and productivity. The SAT II checks all the boxes — it has steerable eight-wheel drive for reaching difficult launch points, three onboard cameras, quick-change wheels for mainlines 6 to 80 inches, and it travels 984 feet and 146 feet in mainlines and laterals, respectively, at speeds up to 98 and 23 feet per minute. Best of all, we solved one of the toughest challenges: The SAT II’s belt-drive launching mechanism provides powerful pushing force without wear and tear on the launch cable.

Cleaner: How do your systems help contractors be more efficient when inspecting sewer and lateral pipelines?

Wells: For a contractor, efficiency means first knowing where to deploy your resources. Not every sewer needs a crawler inspection, and our sewer assessment tools — the Quickview zoom survey camera and Jetscan video nozzle — allow contractors to get a quick, affordable understanding of whether a line is in good condition or needs further attention.

When a line does need crawler inspection, several factors contribute to efficiency. First, how many applications can you tackle with a single system? Our modular crawler systems reconfigure in minutes with no tools needed, allowing a crew to inspect lines from 6 up to 96 inches.

Second, how easy is it to overcome obstacles to complete an inspection? The ROVVER X’s steerable six-wheel drivetrain climbs offsets, maneuvers around debris and protruding taps, and navigates through curved inverts to complete multiple sections from a single manhole.

Third, how easy is it to use? We know contactors face an uphill battle staffing their crews, so our equipment focuses on making the learning curve easy for operators. The ROVVER X’s touch-screen interface allows an operator to control the crawler, code the inspection and wirelessly upload results to the cloud for immediate, effortless delivery to a supervisor or client.

Cleaner: What are some of the solutions you’ve provided customers?

Wells: We don’t believe in technology for technology’s sake. It has to make the day-to-day lives of sewer crews easier, and it has to make business sense for the owner. Our Cleverscan manhole scanner is a great example of this. Manholes have gained notoriety as a major contributor to inflow and infiltration, and as a result manhole inspection has grown as a revenue opportunity for contractors. When we surveyed the market, we saw only expensive and complicated systems that had to travel around in a van. We knew the going rate for manhole inspections would make it difficult to justify such an investment, so we developed an affordable, fully automated system that could ride around in any vehicle — and one that still produces a high-res image scan and detailed point cloud.

Cleaner: Tell us more about the Preferred Build-Outs inspection vehicles. How have you determined the needs of contractors and then delivered the solutions?  

Wells: Over the years, we’ve delivered many hundreds of trucks from our East Coast and West Coast production facilities. We know each customer is unique and requires specific amenities to support the way they work. At the same time, all builds have certain things in common to ensure safety, productivity and convenience — this holds true from the largest fleet buyers down to single-truck contractors. We’ve standardized our builds to cover all those bases and offer a wide array of amenity options that can be selected a la carte. The result is that customers can be confident they have all their essential requirements met, while still getting a level of customization that enhances the way they work.

Cleaner: What are some recommendations for customers shopping for inspection equipment? How should a contractor go about finding the best fit for their company?

Wells: Equipment performance — range, maneuverability, versatility — is important for overcoming the day-to-day challenges of sewer inspection. But many customers make the mistake of not looking beyond this. Uptime, cost of ownership, ease of use — these have a huge impact on a contractor’s success but are easy to overlook if you’re simply focusing on specifications. Have your crew run a rental or loaner system under real-world conditions for a couple weeks; get customer references and interview them about reliability and productivity; and ask the manufacturer about uptime percentages, average annual cost of ownership and typical service life.

Cleaner: What is it like to work with Envirosight after a sale?

Wells: Envirosight has a very large support, training and service network with 43 authorized locations and hundreds of factory-trained experts across North America. When challenges arise, our customers know that help is always nearby.

Cleaner: How do you see the drain cleaning and inspection industry evolving?

Wells: The future is all about workflows. Getting video footage from a line, analyzing the data in a way that drives insight and decision-making and coordinating sewer maintenance teams across departments, geographies and areas of specialization — that can only happen with cloud-based technologies. Our equipment is designed to work with WinCan Web, which means it can download assigned inspections with prepopulated headers, allow the operator to complete and code the inspection directly on the control interface, and then upload the results wirelessly to the cloud for instant, secure sharing.

Cleaner: What’s new for Envirosight in 2021? What can customers expect out of Envirosight in the future?

Wells: Because our equipment interfaces directly with WinCan Web, our users are uniquely positioned to use new solutions from WinCan, including the Sewermatics suite of AI-powered data services.

Beyond that, we’re developing some cool technologies that extract geometry from video and XYZ sensors to build a virtual model of wastewater assets — technologies like this will be the foundation of our industry’s expansion into AR and VR and will support advanced modeling technologies. 

Cleaner: What do you want your customers to think of when they hear the name Envirosight?

Wells: Our customers consider the Envirosight team an extension of their own — we’re here to help them solve tough applications, meet tight deadlines and maintain tight margins. When they struggle, we’re standing by ready to help them find a path forward. And when they succeed, we succeed.

We’ve been at this since 2002, but our roots in the industry extend back much further. Get to know us, and you’ll understand why some of the biggest names in municipal contracting call us “partner.” 


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