Drones Increase Inspection Efficiency by 80% For Utilities & Power Company

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Drones Increase Inspection Efficiency by 80% For Utilities & Power Company

A power outage lasting more than a few minutes could result in thousands of dollars in lost revenue. An ITIC report published that 80% of businesses say they lose an average of $100,000 for every hour of power outage. Routine inspections followed by maintenance can prevent Blackouts. But, maintaining a thorough inspection routine can be challenging, dangerous and expensive. This process can be made simpler and effective by introducing drones into the mix. You can carry out inspections that produce accurate data more frequently using drones. Drone Technology enables you with greater visibility and ready availability of actionable data.
Drone-Inspection-Saudi-SEC
Regular inspections can help the Utilities Industry increase their resource efficiency while keeping costs low. Currently, most organisations rely on ground teams, sometimes assisted by helicopters to conduct their inspections. However, this is expensive, inefficient and hazardous.

The classic method produces unsatisfactory results due to limited visibility, unless a worker climbs the tower to get a closer look. But, having a ground team scale up the tower to conduct thorough inspections are incredibly dangerous and time-consuming. It also requires you to shut down that entire line to make it safe for human presence. It costs you in downtime, working hours and increased insurance.

An alternative is inspections conducted using helicopters. But this too ends up being an expensive tool to produce inadequate results. The helicopter can only support you with a limited top-down view. The resulting photos also require extensive manual effort to be analysed. If certain lines require a closer inspection, you still need to send your ground team scaling up the tower.
A drone team can cover one tower in 45 minutes, giving you Thermal & UV imagery and high-resolution photos and videos. This is a drastic increase in efficiency and cost-effectiveness compared to before.

Drone Technology offers you much greater visibility at an extremely cost-effective point. The drones come with a multitude of sensors that are capable of producing accurate imaging from multiple angles, enabling you to closely inspect your power lines and identify any issues without the inspector ever leaving the ground. The combination of High-resolution camera, Thermal and UV sensors enable you to carry out inspections and queue up any maintenance preemptively.





Drones can be integrated into every step from planning, executing to analysing; streamlining the entire process and making it function more efficiently as one cohesive unit. Drone data offers you superior control over the whole operation, giving relevant data to respective parties while providing a complete overview.

The most significant advantage of drone inspections is the increased safety- according to TDWorld in the US alone, 30 to 50 workers in every 100,000 experience fatal accidents while inspecting power lines every year. Drones eliminate the need for workers to scale towers dramatically increasing their safety.

Drones do not only streamline the entire process but also reduce your cost by cutting down on hours required and resources needed. A drone team can cover one tower in 45 minutes, giving you Thermal & UV imagery and high-resolution photos and videos. This is a drastic increase in efficiency and cost-effectiveness compared to before.

Inspecting 5,500 Towers in 183 Days

The SEC (Saudi Electricity Company) wanted to inspect their Transmission Towers and OHL (Overhead Lines) in the southern regions of KSA (Kingdom of Saudi Arabia). Spanning almost 4,000 km in distance; a staggering 5,500 towers needed to be inspected by FEDS. They required precise images and videos along with Thermal and UV sensor imaging to examine the health of each tower and its lines.

The FEDS team mobilised teams of skilled drone operators and electrical engineers. The southern regions of KSA proved to be a challenging area to traverse and conduct operations. It is mostly rural mountainous areas with underdeveloped roads that were prone to flooding. Afflicted by unpredictable weather conditions, the team went from being pelted by rain to braving sandstorms on the daily.

Determined to deliver results the team pushed on, each tower took about 45 mins to cover using three (Image&Video, Thermal and UV) sensors. Using their years of experience and trusted equipment, the teams were able to inspect an average of 30 towers per day. Previously, the SEC could inspect only 3 towers per day, to complete inspecting all 5,500 towers would have taken 183 days.

Previously, the SEC could inspect only 3 towers per day, to complete inspecting all 5,500 towers would have taken 1,183 days. Using drone-powered solution Team FEDS took only 183 days.

The data and material collected were then analysed by a team of electrical engineers to identify any repairs or maintenance needed. It was discovered that from the 5,500 towers inspected, around 40% of the towers were expelling Corona discharge. This was identified thanks to the UV sensor, if left unchecked, the Corona discharge would cost the company millions in lost resources.


Without the use of drones, this project would have taken a monumental amount of time to complete and even then would offer limited data and visibility. They would have suffered much downtime in the interest of safety and given the size of the project, would have been a lengthy downtime bound to cost a proportionally large number. The Corona discharges may not have been as accurately identified, further increasing cost in lost resources. And most of all, it would have been a hazardous 1,833 days. The FEDS team completed the inspection much faster than ever before without disrupting operations. Using the drones, the SEC were able to increase their efficiency of inspections by 80%.

Would you like to increase your inspection efficiency? With an integrated end-to-end drone-powered solution, your operations can benefit greatly. Get in touch with us for a cost-free personalised consultation.


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