The drone used by Omexom in the Gulf states not only cuts down on resources and inspection time, but it provides electricity transmission experts with a “third eye”.
Inspecting HV power lines in the deserts of Saudi Arabia can sometimes be risky. Furthermore, it is extremely time-consuming when carried out using traditional methods by operators who have to climb to the tops of transmission towers. The use of a drone, a solution recommended and implemented by Omexom in the Persian Gulf for some 900 km of power lines, has radically changed the equation. Particularly in terms of costs. Drones can monitor equipment that is difficult for human operators to see during an inspection.
Less time, less labour
“Drones save time and cut down the number of workers involved. Two people inspect the transmission tower, and the operation takes between 15 and 30 minutes,” says Guillaume Jahan, manager of Omexom Saudi Maintenance (VINCI Energies). “Without drones, the same inspection requires three people over a 4-hour period.”
The quality of the inspection is also better because “drones can examine equipment that is difficult for human operators to see during an inspection, such as an insulator located on the outer side of the line.”
Moreover, technical inspections conducted by drones do not involve any asset downtime – the power line remains live. Without the risk of electrocution, drones can get closer than humans to areas of electrical current so as to detect invisible-to-the-eye discharge using an ultraviolet Corona camera.