Conducting industrial inspections in confined spaces is a hazardous task. Sometimes, when we undertake rescue consultancy for customers, an initial inspection or survey of the confined space is required to determine the works that then need completing.
These inspections can be costly both in time and equipment required – for example, rope access or scaffolding during inspections.
MRS Training & Rescue are pleased to be one of the first companies to offer confined space drone inspection services, enabling preliminary visual inspections to be performed free from risks. Faults are discovered more quickly and without the need to wait for a planned maintenance shut-down period to discover them.
Our state-of-the-art spherical drone has an overall dimension just under 40cm (15.7 in), ensuring it fits into standard utility access holes and can enter any space where an inspection is needed. At no point do workers need to enter the space during the inspection.
The drone features 7 stability sensors and our fully trained drone pilots ensure the drone hovers in place and navigates through unstructured spaces beyond line of sight. Our pilots monitor the journey of the drone using a digital screen as they pilot the drone through the confined space.
Using innovative drone data capture capabilities, it has a dual thermal and a 4K optical camera side by side giving detailed images down to 0.18 mm/px resolution to spot the tiniest faults. It also has a powerful lighting system and following the inspection, we can provide detailed inspection reports and produce 3D models of your assets.
All MRS Training & Rescue drone pilots are trained to operate drones in the A2 Subcategory under the new Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) regulations. They are also OFQUAL Level 4 certified and regularly train in our purpose-built confined space training galleries.
We are also certified as an Operational Authorisation from the CAA (Civil Aviation Authority).
Drone Inspections Services FAQs
What is the drone flight time?
The drone battery life is about 10 minutes and so that is approximately the time that can be covered in a single flight. But we have multiple batteries, and it only takes a few seconds to swap them over, so inspections can be broken down into sub-10-minute sections to ensure everything can be captured.
How far can the drone travel?
Between 150m to 300m – the maximum figure being applicable when the range extender is used, and perfect conditions can be achieved. However, it is dependent on conditions such as lighting, terrain obstacles, metal work etc.
What size opening can the drone accommodate for inspection?
With an overall dimension just below 40cm (15.7 in) the drone fits into standard manholes and can enter any space where an inspection is needed. It can safely and easily be flown into assets without any human access needed; at no point do workers need to enter the space during the inspection.
What kind of data can I capture?
The drone we use at MRS Training & Rescue carries an optical camera, a thermal camera, and a powerful lighting system, so you can capture both visual and thermal data. We can capture both video and still images, and then can make measurements on the images captured. Enabling us to provide detailed inspection reports and produce 3D models of your assets.
How accurate is the 3D models made when using visual data from the drone?
In a nutshell – very accurate. Around 1mm of accuracy, providing we can capture good quality imagery/data. The slower we fly the drone and the more photographs taken the higher the output quality of the 3D model.
Can the drone be used for external inspections?
No, the drone is an internal inspection drone only and cannot be used for external inspections. It only weighs 1.49kg so too light to fly externally due to potential windy conditions.
Can the drone be used for at height inspections?
Yes. We can carry out internal at height inspections in warehouses and similar situations such as overhead gantry crane halls, really anything that involves working at height which is internal.
We recently inspected a 35m high lime kiln internally from top to bottom to check refractory brick work condition. A job normally carried out by erecting scaffold to the top and putting people inside to inspect the damage. This would put people at risk through potential fall from height, as well as the risk of falling refractory bricks from height onto the inspection platform. We have also inspected 50m chimney stacks, normally done by scaling the stack by cat ladders externally then abseiling from the top to the bottom of the stack internally.
In all instances, by using the drone we have eliminated working at height and associated hazards.
Is the drone ATEX rated?
The drone is not ATEX rated.
The two main issues with ATEX rating are the propellors and the static energy they create, and the battery. However, a risk assessment and method statement with appropriate control measures in place, may allow the drone to operate in an ATEX rated area.
Do you have Insurance?
Yes, we have drone insurance which covers damage to customers’ property/assets should anything occur.
Can I fly the drone in Nitrogen?
Yes. We have done inspections inside nitrogen filled environments and it works fine.
Can I see what is being filmed?
Yes - The footage is streamed in real-time to the pilot’s remote controller/screen
Do MRS have a Health and Safety policy?
Yes - This can be provided on request.
How much does a drone inspection cost?
Every mission is unique due to the complexity, location, associated risks, duration, deliverables, and asset value. However, during the initial discussion of your requirements, we may establish the cost-savings against the current maintenance/inspection costs you are currently experiencing.
What benefit will the drone bring to your business?
The Three R's:
Using a drone will reduce the risk to your workforce by removing the requirement for personnel being in hazardous environments. It will expedite the inspection process by reducing the disruption of productivity. And can reduce costs through the potential reduction in insurance premiums, as well as enabling you to have your assets inspected and back operational quicker than using existing procedures.
You will also have the added benefit of a permanent record provided from the drone footage.
For over 100 years, MRS has provided its specialist skills, experience and knowledge to effect the rescue and escape of mine workers from underground. Read more about our historic heritage, and how it has impacted on our present and future, by clicking here
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