Sunday, April 22, 2012

Does a camera warranty have any value?

Basler has just announced that, as from May 1st their cameras will come with a three year warranty. That sounds like good news: the next time one of their cameras fails on a piece of production equipment I can unbolt it, ship it back to Germany, and receive it or a replacement back a few days later.

The only problem is that downtime on my machine is far more expensive than the cost of a camera. Frankly, I’d rather buy two and put the second in the Maintenance store than rely on getting it repaired free of charge. Of course I’d still want to send a failed product back for repair, so extended warranty coverage is good to have; I’m just suggesting that it’s not a big deal for me as a machine vision user.

But maybe I’m not thinking about this enough. Presumably Basler have looked at their MTBF (mean time before failure) data and concluded that the incidence of a camera failing in that period is very, very low. If that’s not the case they might be setting themselves up for an explosion in warranty costs.

So actually, this three year warranty is just a way for them to say how confident they are in the reliability of their products. And putting out the word in the form of a press release means journalists and bloggers like me will eagerly give them free publicity.

Have I just been duped into providing free advertising?

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