Surface Corrosion Consultants Ltd. (Belfast, Northern Ireland) recently announced the launch of a new unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) service to monitor and inspect corrosion for clients across the United Kingdom and Europe.
According to the company, the new service will offer long-term solutions such as reduced overheads and operations costs, along with health and safety benefits when compared to traditional manual inspection survey methods.
The use of UAVs is quickly becoming the preferred technique for coating and inspection work across a wide range of sectors, the company explains, including oil and gas, construction, renewables, marine, industrial and transport, and infrastructure.
“UAV services relating to the inspection sector has seen huge advancement in recent times, as companies begin to understand the benefits of incorporating UAV inspection into their maintenance and repair budgets,” says Rab Grainger, technical director.
According to the company, UAV inspections are the safest alternative to any manned inspection survey method. Using them on an asset can reduce the risks associated with human surveying, as inspectors are removed from potentially dangerous and hostile conditions such as height, weather, and radiation.
The improved ability to place a UAV anywhere goes beyond any other method of inspection, the company explains. “Essentially, UAV inspection can provide a number of solutions to combat what was once pain points within the inspection and coatings survey market,” Grainger says.
The company’s UAV services will be combined with an in-house digital solution named Surface Asset Management (SAM). The SAM app digitally streamlines all aspects of coating and nondestructive testing (NDT) inspection to simplify the surface asset management process.
“Our UAVs are closely linked with SAM, our trademarked software, which will generate immediate conditional survey reports as the UAV is in mid-flight, removing the need for manual data input,” Grainger says. “Multiple areas can be surveyed in a short period of time, transforming what was conventionally a lengthy task into a much more efficient and safe process.”
The company’s AMPP coating surveyors are now fully qualified with GVC (general visual line of sight certificate) drone training certifications approved by the U.K. Civil Aviation Authority (CAA). These surveyors can inspect onshore and offshore assets in high-resolution, 4K imagery with the use of onboard cameras.
According to the company, UAV inspections offer a number of cost-saving benefits, as well. For example, the surveys can be carried out while an asset is still operational, which reduces any costs associated with isolating an area or shutting down an entire asset. Further cost savings can be achieved as companies no longer require a manual process such as rope access technicians, mobile elevating work platforms, or scaffolds.
“UAV inspection reduces days, weeks, and sometimes months of planning associated with the logistics of shutdowns and manned inspections,” Grainger says. “Our surface inspectors have years of experience in the coating industry, which means we know what to look out for, and we can implement a real plan to support the next steps to protecting an asset.”
The CAA-approved GVC course was delivered by Heliguy and consisted of three parts: theory examination, a practical flight assessment, and the completion of an operations manual. For more information on the new UAV service, visit www.consultsurface.com/uav-inspection.
Source: Surface Corrosion Consultants Ltd., www.consultsurface.com.