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Chimneys and stacks continue to be an integral part of a building structure or industrial process. Some have been in service for over 100 years and are still performing as intended. However, over time the structure can deteriorate and become hazardous. Routine inspections are usually not completed as they are time consuming and costly. Additionally, some stacks are simply next to impossible to reach and safety concerns are high.
Rise of the Drones
Aerial Vehicles (UAVs or drones) has be revolutionary. UAVs use GPS and position sensors to manoeuvre as directed by the pilot. This allows the drone to remain in a fixed position and to sense if it is getting ‘too close’ to an object. The stability of the UAV is unmatched enabling smooth video. Up to 4k video can be recorded and up to 120 fps is available at 1080p. The still camera is a 14MP camera capable of taking photos of cracks, weld failures, and loose mortar. A single inspection can be completed with one battery in under 20 minutes. A battery swap allows for longer inspection times.
To complete the inspection, it take about 5 minutes on site to set up and then the inspection can begin. The set up time is minimal as there is no scaffolding that needs to be erected. This translates to lower costs and less downtime. The UAV inspection is also safer compared to traditional inspections as no workers are placed in vulnerable positions.
There is a live video stream from the perspective of the UAV so the inspection can be watched in real time. The photography and video footage can be made available immediately after the craft has landed. Post-processing the images would take a single day.
Like all good things there is a catch. Operating a drone can present additional risks which is why Transport Canada (Canada) and The Federal Aviation Administration (USA) have put certain laws in place. The idea is to make sure that the pilot is experienced and properly trained, and the equipment is certified and adequately insured. Not all self claimed drone surveying companies abide by these government mandates so be sure to ask to see their certificates before lift off.Read More
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