There are many reasons why drones should be used to inspect towers, with the top reason being safety. However, there are a host of other reasons why drones are more efficient, cost effective, and provide better results than typical inspections that cannot offer all the added benefits a drone tower inspection can offer.
Safety: Why risk having a person climb a tower to inspect it, when a drone can do it faster and safer? Having people scale a tower, or have to go inside a tower, to perform an inspection is dangerous and time consuming. Drones can reach areas that people cannot, and they can do it safely.
Speed: Drones are faster, can cover more area, and can document the inspection process for future reference. A drone can cover many towers and locations in one day, where a person can access only a portion of the tower in one visit.
Completeness of data: Drones can inspect inside, outside, and even under the surface (using thermal vision), to detect much more than a person can see. They can measure the cracks, see moisture or weak points using thermography, document inspections for insurance or management review, as well as provide detailed reports on issues that could be fixed early to save time and money down the road.
Cost: The cost to have someone trained and insured to do manual tower inspections is extremely high, as that is a very dangerous job that is also hard to staff for. Climate must be acceptable as well for a human to be able to reach the areas necessary. Drones can be there in any weather, and the insurance and risk is minimal.
Hazards can be easily removed: Less than 10% of inspections result in any work needed, but what about preventative inspections that detect things like birds nests, water leaks, or weak points in your structure? Drones are a cost effective way to provide scheduled inspections, which will reduce cost to your overall operation by allowing you to inspect more regularly and eliminate risks / hazards as they happen.
Drone inspections and surveys can be performed on difficult-to-access pipelines and structures. Drones provide a safer, more cost-effective, and faster inspection process. Drones are becoming more popular in a variety of industries. While they continue to be useful in unexpected situations, historical assessments are where they are beginning to show more value. Many plants now perform drone inspections every year or biannually to evaluate the condition of their equipment. The drone data provides key energy stakeholders with more information about energy-generating equipment, projects and operations. This allows them to make better decisions.