Keltbray is working with drone supplier heliguy to adopt the technology to collect condition data quicker and safer on power line projects.
Gordon Cranston, Project Construction Manager at Keltbray Energy, said: “Innovation is at the forefront of our business and drones are the future, bringing so many benefits to our operations.
“Through a relatively small investment, drones reduce business risks and costs, enable us to access and develop new market places, and increase overall safety within high-risk environments which naturally drives efficiency during projects.”
Drones have revolutionised the way that Keltbray conducts condition-based assessments – replacing a once time-consuming, labour-intensive and high-risk process.
They remove the need to deploy costly all-terrain vehicles, stop staff having to work at height or clamber over difficult terrain, help to identify rust or defects in great detail, eliminate asset downtime and cuts inspection costs.
The cameras also enables Keltbray to collect thermal imagery, enabling the team to spot defects or issues to help prevent fires that can occur as a result of failures in power lines.
Keltbray is now able to inspect six electricity towers per day – up from three with traditional methods – and has cut carbon emissions by 45.46%, per pylon.
Cranston said: “Drones provide an efficient and effective way of understanding the remaining lifespan of aging assets and determining investment programmes.”
Keltbray is using drones deploying the 45MP P1 photogrammetry camera and L1 LiDAR sensor, in conjunction with the DJI Terra drone mapping software package, to create highly-detailed, centimeter-accurate 3D models and point clouds.
This enables the team to extract crucial site information – such as details about terrain, slopes, gradients, routing issues and safety distances between powerlines and buildings, for vital pre-job insights, while the visual 3D site models streamline communication with clients and stakeholders.
Drones are also proving valuable for post-construction surveys. In one example, Keltbray’s drone captured data over a 1km stretch in under two minutes.