Drones have the capability to carry out independent data collection while following a mission flight route at the press of a button, owing to them being pre-programmed with flight paths. Different industries have embraced drone inspection services and the benefits they have received from them are enormous.
Industries such as oil and gas, railway, road, mining, telecommunication, and energy just to mention a few operate large assets and equipment which need constant monitoring and inspection on a regular basis to ensure to ensure proper functionality.
Most of these inspections have always been done manually by human workers. The traditional methods initially used involved ladders, scaffolding, and ropes. This system is quite slow, very expensive, poses a safety threat to workers, and the yields low-quality results. Most if not all of these equipments and assets require to be shut down for inspections to be carried out using these traditional means.
This calls for new technology that is cheaper, safer, and more efficient if asset inspection is to become better than it has been. Drones come in handy and offer superior performance in aerial data collection, aiding in the collection of thermal and visual imagery which can then be converted into 3D point cloud data.
This data is then geo-referenced with geographic coordinates. The inspection team can now pinpoint areas which need maintenance and take the necessary actions.
Different industries carry out scheduled inspections. A few examples where drone inspections can be employed include:
- Fuel storage and oil refinery tank inspections where digital and thermal images can be collected, diverse issues can be identified such as corrosion and rust, solar loading, and water accumulation, all these done practically in a single day.
- Gas and oil pipeline inspections to check for corrosion and rust on the pipeline’s edges, setting up thermal imaging systems and relaying data to engineers regarding natural gas supply via the piping system and presenting inspectors with a 3D analysis and measurements to aid in natural environment pollution risk control.
- Chimney and flare stack inspections where cracks and irregularities can be identified without employing the traditional methods such as ropes and scaffolding. Stairs and safety barriers on chimneys, flare tanks, and stacks can also be inspected prior to sending personnel to carry out maintenance on damaged areas.
- Other inspections that can be done using drones are roof and building envelope inspections. A building’s envelope consists of the roof and façade which serve to keep the building’s temperature well regulated, the interior in a dry state, and the entire building safe.
A building’s roof should be inspected at least once per year or following a period of harsh weather conditions. An aerial inspection done using a drone can identify any underlying issues which can be corrected.
Drone roof inspections ensure that inspectors don’t bear the risk of climbing up the roof using scaffolding techniques. Thermal leakages and water penetration points can easily be identified all at once. Data collected is comprehensive with thermal and photographic maps as well as a detailed analysis of the roof structure.
UAV inspection services are highly efficient for different kinds of industries. The costs of inspection have been greatly reduced, the safety of workers has been greatly enhanced, the inspection time has been dramatically minimized, and the data collected is more accurate.
Drones are here to stay, make the best of them. As an industry or asset manager, you should consider employing the services of a drone company to carry out your inspection for you. Be sure to work with licensed professionals for the best drone aerial data collection. Asset Inspection just got easier, faster, and cheaper, thanks to drones.