Drone tech in LOLER and statutory Inspections

Drone tech in LOLER and statutory Inspections

THE PROBLEM

Drone tech in LOLER and statutory Inspections, Surveying engineering structures can be costly and intrusive when it comes to statutory inspections, the use of scaffolding can need a lot of co-ordination. It may be necessary to close or shut down the asset to be inspected for a long period of time while inspection and access are aligned, especially in the inspection of lifting equipment and lift shafts.

CASE EXAMPLE

Case Study for use of Drones in supporting the thorough examination of a Runway Track / Overhead crane tracks.
The site contained a number of runway tracks and overhead crane tracks that were problematical in
gaining access. They are either too high for the use of a ladder, over water, or access obstructed by other machinery.
The use of a MEWP was considered but did not provide full access due to obstructions and limited
access.

TRADITIONAL METHODS

It is possible to construct scaffolding enabling full access for every 12 monthly examination but this
is extremely expensive, and disruptive, so other solutions were sought.
At the initial accessed examination bolts and nuts were marked with contrasting paint to assist in
monitoring any movement remotely.

TECHNOLOGY-LED METHODS

Drones offer a very accurate cost effective solution, being able to access areas that need to be inspected in hard to reach areas in minutes, without the need for expensive and time consuming methods, reduction in downtime and health and safety.

Application of such technologies should be considered in circumstances where:
• A safe means of access to critical parts and/or safety devices is not available, by suitable and satisfactory means, and/or
• The detail obtained will enhance the findings of the thorough examination / inspection.
• The total operational impact is justified

THE SOLUTION

At the initial accessed examination bolts and nuts were marked with contrasting paint to assist in
monitoring any movement remotely.

An examination scheme was developed which required an annual supplementary examination using
a drone, with a thorough, accessed examination at three years. If no deterioration is noted during the
three-year cycle consideration is given to extending the period between accessed examinations to
five years.

The supplementary examination procedure details the parts subject to drone examination
and includes a full inspection from ground level.


The supplementary drone examination is completed with the competent person, on site, monitoring
a slave screen, directing the drone pilot as required. A full video record of the examination can be
downloaded and saved for reference.

THE RESULTS

Engineering LOLER inspection

The drone could be readily maneuvered into locations which enabled inaccessible critical elements to be displayed and filmed.

Image quality was very good on the monitor.
Points of Interest (POI’s) could be individually recorded and the full flight filmed.

The technology could supplement those inspections where access by an Engineer Surveyor is both unsafe and/or physically inaccessible. In certain circumstances this could enhance the equipment scrutiny data, due to maneuverability into areas which would not normally be accessible.

SAVINGS

Access savings on this case were in excess of £25.000 per visit reducing the need of equipment downtime and reducing health and safety issues on site internal inspection of gantry runway crane was especially enhanced due to the accessibility and maneuverability of the drone.