Cyberhawk uses UAV for internal power station boiler inspection

Remotely operated aerial vehicle used to inspect a tank at an operational thermal power plant in Bulgaria

Cyberhawk uses UAV for internal power station boiler inspection

Cyberhawk Innovations, which specialises in aerial inspection and survey using remotely operated aerial vehicles (ROAVs), has completed its first ever commercial internal steam boiler inspection, for one of the world’s leading power companies in Bulgaria.

The project, which follows on from Cyberhawk’s world first internal tank inspection using ROAVs last year, was carried out at an operational thermal power plant and included a visual inspect of all equipment for integrity and damage assessment.

ROAVs, also known as UAVs or drones, were selected as the preferred method of inspection for this project, primarily to reduce safety risk posed to personnel working at height as well as the restrictions associated with working in confined spaces. Usually this type of inspection is conducted by rope access technicians who are suspended on ropes to inspect the boiler’s internal structure.

With the added challenge of zero GPS signal inside the tank, and the dark conditions, Cyberhawk’s pilots had to work with an extremely high level of precision during the inspection to ensure a successful end result.

Bespoke safety procedures were put in place for this particular project, with Cyberhawk mobilising an experienced three-man ROAV team, consisting of an ROAV pilot, inspection engineer and technician to ensure safe operations and high quality results, enabling a quick and safe inspection of the boiler.

The inspection of the critical components was completed within a day, in comparison with rope access, which would usually take between three to four days for the same workscope.

Philip Buchan, commercial director at Cyberhawk, added: “The boiler environment is very different from what we are used to; it’s a dark and dusty environment, presenting a whole host of additional operational challenges. The lack of GPS signal meant our pilot had to work with extra precision to produce the desired close visual inspection results.

“Our pilots undertake four levels of rigorous internal training and will typically require a number of years’ experience before being mobilised to our most challenging projects, such as offshore or internal inspection projects. The successful completion demonstrated the level of skill our pilots possess and the high quality reporting produced by our engineering team.

“Our track record and experience demonstrate that we are able to undertake the most complex projects, and achieve a successful outcome as a result of careful planning and precise execution.”

Headquartered in Livingston, Scotland, and with bases in the Middle East and SE Asia, Cyberhawk carried out the very first ROAV industrial inspection in 2009 and since then, has completed more than 25 world firsts to date, with blue-chip customers in more than 20 countries on four continents.

Leave a Comment