Giant waves and gale-force winds are just some of the highly adverse weather conditions that offshore industrial facilities are exposed to. Regular maintenance is indispensable if such facilities are to operate safely and reliably at all times. This is why unmanned aerial vehicles (i.e. drones) are becoming increasingly popular tools in the industrial sector. The oil and gas industry, for example, is successfully deploying drones to carry out inspection measures under even the most challenging conditions.
Until quite recently, both general checks and precise visual inspections of offshore facilities were performed by specialized teams. This often made the planning and execution of such walk-throughs costly, time-consuming, and highly risky.
In order to mitigate these costs, complexities, and potential hazards, Bilfinger Salamis UK is now deploying drones of the “Falcon 8” and “Elios Flyability” series to assist with the visual inspection of offshore facilities.
Drones reduce the risk to staff
Inspection under challeging conditions
The “Falcon 8” drone is particularly sturdy and can fly in relatively difficult weather conditions. Equipped with a reliable, high-performance GPS system, the drone works safely, reliably, and with great precision. It boasts a fully automated flight-route function in 2D and 3D that provides wider ground coverage and robust information. The on-board camera can quickly and easily hone in on any cracks, corrosion or other evidence of damage on the components being inspected. In addition, thermal imaging is available to detect any gaps or leaks, e.g. in gaskets, gas pipelines or insulating materials.
The “Elios Flyability” drone is an ideal drone for hard-to-access locations, tight interior spaces or explosion-prone environments. It quickly scans the relevant areas and mitigates the hazards they potentially pose for the workers deployed there. It can also be used to increase the thoroughness and/or frequency of visual inspections – all of which helps optimize the maintenance-planning process.
Fields of Applications:
- Flare towers
- Drilling derricks
- Helideck support structures
- Under deck/splash zone
- Risers and caissons
Sandy Bonner, CEO of Bilfinger Salamis UK, explains that “using the drones, the Bilfinger teams are able to inspect areas that are difficult to access and to thus detect any damage at an early stage. In the process, the drones have no problem flying below deck, while the operator remains at a safe location. The various advantages of using drones result in lower maintenance costs and expedited analytic findings for our customers.”