Inspections in the Utility Sector
Drones can be a powerful tool for companies in the utility sector. One of the most important aspects of utilities are the lines that network out into the community providing power, telephone service and more. These lines are not only vital to the success of delivering the services to the public, but they are also very fragile being exposed to the weather and elements. A downed powerline can cause problems that reverberate throughout the system. Loss of revenue and the potential for a decline in customer-base can exacerbate these issues even more. The good news is that all of this can be prevented by using our services.
Benefits of Drones for the Utility Sector
The drone inspections we provide can be used to check for potential issues, identify current powerline issues, and help in maintenance when it comes to vegetation. Using a drone to inspect your lines reduces the amount of time that it can take to identify issues, especially when a time-critical repair needs to be made to restore service. Drones provide a safe way to locate these issues as employees don’t need to be on lifts or ladders. The reduction in time and ease of using the drone helps to lower the associated costs involved in performing the inspections.
If the utility provided is the lifeblood of a company, the lines that are strung along your network are the veins and arteries that offer it to the customers. This network of powerlines is essential to give the power or other utility. As power lines are strung out in the elements, a lot of things can go wrong. For example, a strong storm can knock down the powerlines and render a system unavailable to the consumers that rely upon it. Tree branches and other vegetation can create issues.
Traditional Powerline Inspections
Inspecting the lines can be a time-consuming process that can cost a lot of money when it comes to man-power and equipment. Pinpointing issues, even when the general area is known to have a problem, means workers need to inspect the entire line to find the error. The longer it takes them to get through the lines, the longer it takes for the service to be re-established. In addition, it may require lineworkers being out in the elements visually inspecting the lines through the use of a lift or rope access, which could be potentially dangerous to use at the time. This safety risk could be mitigated through drone inspection.
Benefits of Drone Powerline Inspections
The benefits that come from using our drones for powerline inspections are overwhelmingly positive. A drone makes it easier to identify problems quicker than having to perform visual checks; this can be key to reducing the amount of time that consumers are left without the service. They provide a more cost-effective methodology of mapping out the lines for general maintenance and upkeep along with having to handle emergency repairs. It also offers a benefit of safety for the lineworkers as it helps to limit the amount of time that they have to be up in the air inspecting the lines. Drones make it possible to easily fly along the power lines and take imagery of any damage or potential issues. This means that linemen can stay safely on the ground while the drone operator evaluates the lines. Once a problem is found, the lineman is able to repair it without having to go up unnecessarily.
Our drones provide an excellent opportunity to use a thermal camera when inspecting power lines. This investment in your asset can be a proactive way to prevent outages of services. Hotspots and other powerline issues can be identified when a thermal camera is used. The thermal camera features will allow these areas to shine brighter than the surrounding area where heat is being lost or overly concentrated. Addressing these issues now rather than later can help protect the health of the system. Allowing them to continue unchecked can end up making the final cost of repair more expensive than it would’ve been if addressed early on.
Vegetation Mapping Around Powerlines
One of the issues that often crop up around powerlines is vegetation. Trees, brush, and other vegetation can be trimmed back around the powerlines, and depending on the growing conditions, grow back rather quickly, needing to be verified again not very long after it was previously addressed. Vegetation that’s not taken care of in a timely fashion can be a danger for the lines and the surrounding community. There are a few issues with overgrowth that can occur when the mapping isn’t done on a regular basis. The first is that it can create issues with the lines by growing up or around them. Secondly, the vegetation poses a risk during storms, especially with larger tree branches that can come down during bad weather and high winds. Lastly, vegetation that grows around power lines can be a fire hazard, particularly during dry seasons when the brush and other vegetation are overly dry and crisp. A powerline coming down or sparking during a dry spell with overgrown vegetation can create a potentially problematic fire. But don’t worry, we can help you handle this issue.
Traditional Vegetation Mapping Method
Traditional vegetation mapping methods often require sending a crew of employees to visually inspect all of the lines in a particular region to determine how much vegetation has grown in the area surrounding the lines. This effort can be time-consuming in being able to follow the entire line, especially in areas where the lines aren’t easily accessible. Then, the crew working that particular inspection will have to note out on a map or application where the vegetation is located. This can take a great deal of time and effort, which can equate a more substantial amount of money needing to be spent on this project. The frequency of this may be higher in some areas than others based on the rate of growth of native plants and trees. Overall, this is an expensive procedure that takes too much time.
Benefits of Drones for Vegetation Mapping Efforts
Our drone inspection services simplify the entire process of getting the vegetation mapped. The equipment operator can fly the drone along the wires through backyards, across streets and other obstructions that could make it difficult to map out all of the terrain by foot or vehicle. Drones can use LIDAR scanners and photogrammetry to determine how close the vegetation is to the powerlines. This information can then be used to create a plan of which vegetation needs to be cut right away so that it doesn’t interfere with the lines. The imagery provided by the drones allows a better plan to be put into place on which areas need to be dealt with as a priority. In addition, the data collected by the drones can be used at a later date to map how quickly some areas grow compared to others. This will better determine the frequency of how often this data needs to be collected and cutting needs to be done.