Over the last five years, drones have become a transformative force across various industries, offering a fast, cost-effective, and safe alternative to traditional methods.
In the realm of engineering, these unmanned aerial vehicles have proven to be indispensable, providing efficient solutions to complex challenges. Iprosurv, a pioneer in drone technology applications, has been at the forefront of exploring and exploiting these innovations on behalf of its clients. This case study delves into the use of drones in supporting the thorough examination of runway and overhead crane tracks, showcasing the potential of this technology in enhancing statutory compliance management.
The challenge presented at the site involved the examination of runway tracks and overhead crane tracks, structures that were difficult to access through conventional means. These tracks were either too high for ladders, over water, or obstructed by machinery, making traditional inspection methods impractical. The consideration of Mobile Elevated Work Platforms (MEWP) did not provide a comprehensive solution due to obstructions and limited access. Building scaffolding for a full examination every 12 months was deemed expensive and disruptive. A novel solution was needed to address these challenges.
**Drone-Assisted Examination Scheme**
Iprosurv proposed a systematic approach to address the challenges. The initial examination attended by an engineer involved marking bolts and nuts with contrasting paint for remote monitoring. A comprehensive examination scheme was developed, incorporating an annual supplementary examination using drones and a thorough accessed examination every three years. If no deterioration was noted during the three-year cycle, consideration was given to extending the period between accessed examinations to five years.
The supplementary drone examination included a competent person on-site monitoring a live feed, directing the drone pilot as needed. A full video record of the examination was available for download and reference. This approach not only addressed the accessibility challenges but also provided a detailed and documented inspection process.
**Advanced Drone Technology for Engineering**
Drones are not just recreational devices; they are sophisticated industrial tools with impressive engineering and cutting-edge technology. Iprosurv employs high-tech drones equipped with advanced software, cameras, and equipment to cater to the diverse needs of engineering inspections. In this particular case study, the utilization of two distinct drone platforms was imperative to address the unique challenges encountered during data collection, encompassing both external infrastructure and internal confined spaces. The M350, equipped with the Zenmuse H20 and providing 200x zoom capabilities, was employed to capture detailed views of external infrastructure. On the other hand, the Elios 2, specifically designed for internal applications, excels with its RGB and thermal cameras, facilitating the creation of intricate 3D internal models for the structures under survey. Noteworthy is the Elios 2’s robust lighting system, which allows for adjustable illumination, ensuring precision in inspections conducted within confined spaces.
In addressing the diverse challenges posed by complex structures, Iprosurv recognizes that not all drones are created equal. Therefore, the company adopts a tailored approach by utilizing specialized drones designed for specific applications. These advanced drones possess unique capabilities, such as thermal imagining and lidar. This showcases the nuanced versatility of drone technology, particularly in tasks ranging from defect detection, degradation tracking, and damage investigation to repair-progress monitoring, evidence collection, and loss prevention. Iprosurv’s commitment to employing drones with specialized functionalities underscores the importance of a customized and targeted technological solution for the intricacies presented by various engineering scenarios.
**Proprietary Software and Portal**
Iprosurv’s commitment to delivering comprehensive solutions extends beyond drone hardware. The company has developed proprietary software and a portal that sets them apart in the industry. The bespoke portal, hosted on UK-based servers, ensures secure, GDPR-compliant transmission, storage, and dissemination of collected data. This end-to-end system allows clients to track, monitor, and review commissioned cases efficiently.
The Stakeholder Share facility within the portal enables instantaneous sharing of large amounts of data with selected stakeholders. This not only facilitates quick decision-making but also enhances customer service by ensuring clients receive the information they need promptly. Iprosurv’s portal is a testament to their dedication to providing a seamless experience for their clients.
In conclusion, the case study exemplifies how Iprosurv has harnessed drone technology to revolutionize the thorough examination of challenging structures in the engineering sector. The use of drones not only addresses accessibility issues but also introduces efficiency, cost-effectiveness, and safety into a traditionally complex and risky process. As the engineering sector evolves, embracing innovative solutions like drone technology becomes imperative for statutory compliance managers. Iprosurv’s expertise in this field positions them as a reliable partner for companies seeking to leverage the benefits of drone technology. The case study serves as a testament to the transformative impact drones can have on the engineering landscape, making them a valuable asset in the pursuit of safety and efficiency.