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What will upgrading my old web inspection systems cost?

There are a number of key elements that will make up the price of your web inspection upgrade, these are cameras, lights, mechanical structure and processing electronics. This article details these costs and gives a working example. 

What will upgrading my old system cost?

Once you read through our first blog post of this campaign and the information collected, then it is possible to see if the parts can be used. Let’s then look to see and understand the value.

  1. Cameras - if these are color cameras used in print inspection the value can be high. Typically when purchasing an integrated system, the camera, lens, wiring PSU and mounts can be worth from $6000 to $9000.  If it is a surface inspection system this would be valued at $5,000 - $7,000. 
  2. If the light needs to be changed, this can be expensive. It depends on the width of the web. For a 2m web a light can vary from $8,000 to $16,000. So if the existing light can be used it will save quite a bit of money.
  3. The mechanical structure will not have changed that much. If the plan is to leave the system is situ then try and use the old structure. If the goal is to improve the performance by adding more cameras then it may be necessary to change.
  4. The processing electronics. If upgrading it is probably necessary to change the PC. If the original vendor used a standard 19 inch rack then it may be possible to use the same enclosure for the new processor and human interface.

So what are the other costs associated with an upgrade. This depends on the function of the upgrade. The older camera standard was LVDS. Most modern systems use GigE or CamLink standards. It will be necessary to add interface converters so that the older cameras will be able to communicate with the new processing system. There is also the option to leave the old system in place and to splice into the video streaming from the old system and redirect it to a new processing unit.



The device above is a typical example of a standards converter. This equipment along with the cables and power supplies will typically cost close to $2,000 per camera. Most upgrades will also involve a new processing unit as shown below. This along with video cards, input output cards and of course the new application software can cost as much as $20,000 for a typical web inspection system.


The final element to consider is the engineering services. It may be necessary to take the system out, refit it and re-install. Typical engineering services cost as much as $1,200 per day plus travel expenses.


Let's work through an example

So in summary once all factors have been analyzed, the cost of upgrade must then be compared to the cost of a new inspection solution. Let’s use an example. Let's assume a two camera inspection solution looking at a 1 m web doing surface inspection. The goal is to upgrade to 4 cameras.

The assumptions are:

  • Old cameras are LVDS and are the correct sensor speed and number of pixels to use so they can be reused.
  • The light is good and does not have a proprietary interface
  • The new processing system with software requires CamLink interface
  • The old mechanical frame can be reused and two new cameras can be added with ease and the frame adjusted to a new working distance.

The following is a ballpark cost breakdown:

PC processing with new software


Two new camera with lens, boxes and PSUs


Two new lens for old cameras


Two LVDS to Camlink adapters


Misc parts etc.. for cabinet


Labour for refit


New installation and commissioning




Budget +10%



If a new four camera system would cost $130,000 installed then there is a 50% savings. The main question to ask yourself is what are the true business benefits of upgrading your old system. Download our whitepaper to learn more about upgrades.


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Topics: Vision system solutions Print inspection systems Surface inspection systems Machine Vision