Drones have been around for quite some time now. They have many uses apart from aerial imaging and videography, for which they are well known.
Using drone services for aerial inspection and surveillance has many benefits.
Routine power line inspections are quite an expensive affair. The cost of machinery and labor makes it quite costly. Apart from this, power line inspections run a severe risk of injury for the laborers and technicians, given the height of the lines. Drones are the perfect way to reduce these risks and make the process safer and more efficient.
In this article, we will discuss how drones inspect power lines and help with aerial surveillance.
PREVENTION OF FAULTS
Power lines are a piece of very sophisticated equipment. They require regular maintenance and checks to prevent them from developing faults.
Daily checkups and surveys pose a lot of risk for the staff, which is involved due to the height of the transmission lines. Engineers have been using drone construction services to survey the site before construction to visualize their project needs and requirements, which further helps them avoid risks.
This is where drones can be your go-to solution, making it effortlessly easy to survey transmission lines for real-time fault detection. These risk-reduction benefits of drones make them an amazing accessory in preventing faults by power line surveying.
You may need a professional team to survey the area and locate any obstacles which might pose a risk later. Such services can help you detect faults, avoid possible issues, and do damage control as well. Progress monitoring is another thing for which professional services come handy.
In this regard, many businesses recommend to avail drone services that provide a professional drone team not only for power line inspections, but for many other tasks.
These may include:
- Aerial imagery and videography services
- Real estate risk assessment
- Videography marketing, etc.
BETTER RESULTS AND DATA ACCURACY
Drones these days are highly efficient and easy to use. You do not need to be a professional to operate these drones. It is wise to choose drone services for inspections in order to conduct inspections in a more efficient manner.
Modern drones have multiple sensors and cameras to detect abnormalities better and offer different kinds of data to the controller. Drones for transmission lines are often fitted with thermal cameras to pick heat loss, which could mean a possible fault. Moreover, the cameras are also susceptible, which helps them pick up any minor irregularities on the wires.
RBG imagery is also present on modern-day drones. There are many more sensors attached to these drones, which can send useful informatics back to the controller.
A good quality drone with an average battery pack can cover several miles of transmission lines in a single flight while conveying valuable aerial footage, heat signatures, and other data back to the controller. The controller can relay this data back to the command center or the site inspector, who can decide accordingly if the data has any abnormality.
Hence, these latest generation drones can help with data accuracy and improved results, making them efficient compared to other power line inspection methods.
Some of essential pieces of equipment fitted to drones for inspection are:
- Advanced camera kit for HD pictures
- Heat sensors to detect thermal signatures
- RBG lens
- Lightweight body for more battery backup
- Night vision cameras for night-time inspections
- Cost efficient
MORE EFFICIENT THAN HELICOPTERS
There are other methods of inspecting power lines and getting aerial shots. Helicopters were once used for inspection purposes but very rarely. Given that helicopters could carry the site engineer’s site in charge and were fast, they also had a lot of issues.
Helicopters are very noisy and can be very disturbing as well. Moreover, helicopters are not at all cheap. They burn through hundreds of dollars worth of fuel within minutes of flying and hence are not a viable option when you make a cost-benefit analysis of it.
Also, helicopters can pose a more serious risk to the overall plant and grid system if it malfunctions and develops a fault. The ensuing cleanup operation and cost of damages would far outweigh the rewards. Hence, drones are much more cost-effective and efficient regarding aerial footage recording and inspecting transmission lines.
Moreover, drones do not have an extensive protocol, unlike helicopter inspections, whereby sometimes a whole plant has to be shut down, leading to delays and losses.
Drones are cheaper to operate and easier to use. A quality drone is a good investment, after all. Drones are also eco-friendly and time-saving pieces of equipment for efficient inspection.
The biggest benefit of using a drone compared to manual inspection is its safety shield. Manual labor on a power line is very demanding and dangerous.
There is no room for error; one small mistake can lead to tragic consequences.
Hence, drones can help to reduce this risk by taking care of the minute and regular inspections of power lines. For more detailed ones, manual labor can be used. Drones also provide a better angle of view through their advanced camera angles.
With the ability to record, observe and relay data simultaneously, drones are a far better alternative than workers climbing up these power lines.
Imagine if a worker was trying to record, fix and analyze an issue on a power line tens of feet up in the air, it would increase the chances of error, and hence risk would increase.
So far, we have discussed how drones are beneficial in preventive measures and surveillance work. However, drones are equally, if not more, important in disaster management as well.
Drones are easy to operate and can be prepped for a flight in minutes. This means that the disaster control team can use drones to assess the damage and respond quickly in an appropriate way.
Modern-day drones are made from robust materials and can fly through rain and other hindrances during damage control work.
Drones are vital when it comes to the inspection of power lines due to the several benefits they provide over other methods of inspection. The role of drones in preventive measures is their most significant selling point.
Drones reduce the risk of accidents and loss of human life due to their challenging tasks. Furthermore, drones are cost-efficient compared to manual labor and other forms of aerial surveillance.
Modern drones pack advanced camera units and tools to relay technical data and footage back to the controller. This information can infer important information about the power lines and helps the site engineers to make decisions.