INSPECTION OF ENERGY SYSTEMS

Drones offer decisive advantages during the inspection of energy systems. Less accessible areas and areas of potential danger can be reached in a easier and more secure manner using drones. With drones, professional pilots can fly sensor systems such as infrared cameras and coronary cameras to the place of inspection to create precise aerial photographs with pinpoint accuracy.

CHALLENGES DURING THE INSPECTION OF ENERGY SYSTEMS

 

The inspection of energy systems is a demanding task. The areas of the energy system to be inspected can often only be accessed with considerable effort. A further issue is that many inspections entail risks for the inspectors.

 

Guaranteeing safety and efficiency

In addition to the safety of the energy system, the efficiency of the system is crucial to the operator. Losses during the conversion or transport of energy mean financial losses on the one hand and negative impacts for the environment and people on the other hand.

The cause of the energy loss is usually a defect within the system. Some damage can be visually detected and documented using high-resolution full-format cameras (corrosion, leaks, building component detachments etc.). In many cases, however, the cause of the energy loss cannot be unequivocally determined with conventional measurement techniques.

Finding the causes of energy losses with drones

Nevertheless, in order to find damage, special sensors are used. Various sensor systems can be introduced into inaccessible or dangerous areas of a plant with drones. Appropriate measurements can then be performed with the help of the sensors.

Drones allow, for example, spectrometers, medium-wave cameras, coronary cameras and infrared cameras to be affixed, which can be transported quickly and flexibly in the air in a hazard-free manner and without the expensive use of industrial climbers etc. Thus, various measurements can be performed on each respective energy system.

 Possible applications with drone-supported sensors

This method can be used to inspect, for example, power electronics, high voltage power lines, insulation systems, valves, pipelines, building envelopes, flanges, sleeves, tank systems, chimneys, underground district heating pipelines etc. Gas leaks, energy losses in power lines, cracks, damage to the corrosion layer, increased contact resistances, thermal bridges, other forms of deformation and damage can be ascertained and documented.

 

SERVICES: INSPECTION OF ENERGY SYSTEMS WITH DRONES

 

SPECTAIR assists you during the inspection of energy systems in a professional manner. Experts in the areas of inspection and thermography will support you every step of the way during the planning phase and offer you comprehensive advice regarding the possible use of drones when investigating heat leakages, damaged spots, hairline cracks, etc. to the energy systems. The experienced pilots, camera operators and certified thermography experts at SPECTAIR support your thermography project with project management, flight missions and data analyses.

 

The professionals at SPECTAIR attach thermal imaging cameras to the drones to gauge the extent of the damage. Subsequently, the results of infrared photographs can be evaluated by experts and documented in inspection reports. We can also provide the thermal images to customers wishing to perform their own evaluation.

EXAMPLES: INSPECTION OF ENERGY SYSTEMS WITH DRONES

 

  • Wind turbines
  • Power plants
  • Biogas plants
  • Power-to-gas plants
  • Photovoltaic systems
  • Overhead power lines
  • District heating network
  • Gas pipelines
  • Power electronics
  • High voltage power lines
  • Insulation systems
  • Valves
  • Pipelines
  • Flanges
  • Sleeves
  • Tank systems
  • Underground district heating pipelines

NEW: Internal inspections with the innovative ELIOS drone

 

SPECTAIR now uses ELIOS, the world’s first collision-tolerant drone designed for professional industrial indoor inspections.

INSPECTION OF WIND ENERGY INSTALLATIONS WITH DRONES

 

Onshore and offshore wind turbines are engineering buildings, which consist of complex component assemblies such as a tower, transmission and rotor blades. They are frequently exposed to varying mechanical stresses during operation due to their exposed position. The systems are exposed to extreme strain as a result of wind, water, salts, frost and hail. Regular servicing and maintenance are therefore, essential to ensure safe, trouble-free operation and to avoid costly downtime.

The trained specialists at SPECTAIR assist inspectors in finding material changes to towers with high-resolution optical and infrared camera technology. It is thus possible to perform a complete inspection of wind turbines from the inside and out in a shorter period of time. An initial failure assessment can be carried out on-site.

 

Better results due to competent and experienced drone pilots

Flying over wind energy installations is one of the most challenging tasks for a drone pilot. Professional training and years of experience as an UAV pilot are therefore, prerequisites to carry out the inspection to the client’s satisfaction.

The competent pilots at SPECTAIR have both technical background knowledge, as well as aeronautical capabilities to inspect wind energy installations in a professional manner. They are able to create expert reports and documentation independently and prepare these documents according to the respective customer requirements. Damage in the submillimetre range can be identified in a reliable way due to the camera technology and the aeronautical abilities of the pilots. Even damage under the surface can be visualised with the help of infrared cameras.

 

Faster and more cost-efficient inspections with drones

The inspection of wind energy installations from the tower to the engine pod and the individual blades is a challenging task. The use of an altitude climber is time-consuming, requires extensive safety measures and is therefore, costly. Drones offer a fast and cost-effective alternative for a simple visual inspection. The downtime of the plant can be reduced many times over through the use of drones. The experts at SPECTAIR are able to examine the blades subjected to high stress for erosion damage, lightning strikes, delamination and other defects.

INSPECTION OF SOLAR MODULES, INSULATION SYSTEMS AND OTHER FIELDS OF APPLICATION

 

An inspection from the air offers enormous advantages, especially during the inspection of solar roofs. The loss of individual collectors leads to lower yields during electricity generation. This can significantly reduce the profitability of a photovoltaic system. Drones equipped with a thermal imaging camera have been used successfully during the examination of both facade insulation and gas pipelines as well as during the search for missing persons. The high compatibility with electromagnetic fields also enables the safe examination of overhead power lines. Defective insulation on buildings, hairline cracks on rotor blades or damage to insulators can be detected with drones at an early stage. This prevents energy losses, technical failures and accidents.

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