Inspection and maintenance with drones
Conventional inspection and maintenance methods tend to be time-consuming and are often fraught with risk.
With the help of drones, difficult-to-access areas or plants that are spread over a wide area can be inspected with high efficiency without risk to personnel. The information collected is recorded live, securely documented and analysed in a semi-automated process. Our motto is ‘SEE TO FORESEE’.
The number of wind farms has increased rapidly in recent years.
The rotor blades in particular are exposed to enormous stresses and risk damage by erosion as well as lightning strikes. The average diameter of the rotors is around 100 m, which means that routine or ad hoc inspections, damage assessment and repair planning can be costly.
Using drones, inspections can be carried out quickly, simply and at low cost.
Proper surveillance needs to be maintained to guarantee security.
Any damage needs to be detected early enough to avoid outages or to reduce the duration of any outages that do occur.
The use of drones, often supported by thermal imaging cameras helps save both time and money. This way, leaks can be identified and located, and the condition of pipework systems in inaccessible areas can be rapidly checked.
Photovoltaics are almost the ideal example of an application for autonomous air vehicles. When fitted with thermal imaging cameras, they can quickly identify any ‘hot spots’; soiling or damage to the modules, for example, can easily be identified with RGB cameras.
Since these installations are usually spread over a large area, long-range UAVs/drones are particularly well-suited for inspecting pipelines. The systems of choice are often petrol/diesel-powered drones or wide-area drones (fixed-wing UAVs).
High-voltage power lines
Both masts and cables are constantly subjected to weather and other external influences. Regular inspection is therefore indispensable and, in the event of damage, a great deal of time can be lost when using conventional methods. The use of drones enables rapid checks to be carried out following lightning strikes, mud slides and power outages. However, unmanned aerial vehicles are also an efficient way of carrying out general inspections of insulators and detecting birds’ nests without posing any risk to personnel or switching off the power to the cables.
Bridges and dams
Most conventional methods of inspection are very costly and fraught with risk.
Difficult-to-access areas can be safely inspected using drones and with a high degree of efficiency. The ground resolution is in the sub-millimetre range.
Inspecting drilling rigs and oil platforms using drones is significantly cheaper than using manned helicopters and, unlike inspection carried out by humans, poses no risk to life or limb.
Buildings/structures (churches, towers, chimneys, transmitters)
The façades and structures of buildings are affected by external influences (erosion, weather, etc.), which can lead to damage. Industrial climbers or other costly and risky methods are often used to carry out inspections.
Using UAVs, any internal and external damage or alterations are documented in full, thus providing a sound basis for targeted restoration measures.
Nuclear power stations
For routine inspections, drones fitted with the appropriate sensors provide valuable insight. In the event of a fault, UAVs flying autonomously can carry out long-range radiation measurements and provide life-saving data.