We are delighted to announce that we will soon be offering drone technology for confined space inspections. We have purchased drones that have been specifically designed for use within confined spaces, having first trialled and put through its paces in our confined space training galleries. This testing proved the drones provide much improved, greater stabilisation function compared to previous models available.
Carrying out industrial inspections in confined spaces is a hazardous task and many workers have been killed from oxygen depletion or from exposure to toxic gases and chemicals. Furthermore, falls from height are the single biggest cause of fatalities in the workplace. Dangers are most acute when workers are operating on scaffolding or using rope access in confined and often dark inaccessible areas.
Drone technology allows for the inspection of different types of environments and is often safer and cheaper than traditional manual inspections. The confined space inspection drone is an internal inspection drone, with the purpose of reducing putting people at risk in confined spaces and difficult to access areas.
The types of confined space inspections the new drone technology can provide includes boilers, steam drums, bridge sections, railway tunnels, mine roadways, holding tanks, turbine blades, sewers to name just a few. With an overall dimension just below 40cm (15.7in) the drone ﬁts into standard manholes and can enter any space where an inspection is needed, avoiding the need for workers to enter the space during the inspection. This new technology could save significant time and expense, avoiding the need for scaffolding to reach difficult and high reach areas to carry out visual inspections. It can also identify tube leaks in boilers therefore allowing remedial/repair work to be arranged, saving time and money so that the boiler can be back in service. And you don’t need to wait for a planned maintenance shut-down period to discover them.
The drone uses cutting edge drone data capture capabilities with a built in dual thermal and a 4K camera side by side providing detailed images down to 0.18 mm/px resolution to spot the tiniest faults. It can take 100s of images and video footage, using thermal image sweeps to capture video and images. It can also map roadways allowing the information to be converted via software into a detailed report and video footage for the customer, highlighting any anomalies/problems and moving forward into a 3D model image of the surveyed area.
We are currently in the process of training a number of our confined space experts as drone pilots, via training run by an approved training academy. The training consists of A2 “Certificate of Competency” and General VLOS Certificate (GVC) training to operate drones in the A2 Subcategory under the new Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) regulations. The training is taking place over 3 days with a test flight for each operator at the end. Successful completion of the training will provide us with the Operational Authorisation from the CAA (Civil Aviation Authority). The operators will also be undertaking confined space drone training when it arrives in our purpose built training galleries, to enable them to gain operational competence with the drone, so we are ready to offer this service by the end of this year. The training courses are OFQUAL Level 4 certified and provide us with the training and qualification needed to make the CAA Operational Authorisation application.
We hope to have this new service available by the end of this year – if you would like to find out more just get in touch today.