The Problem

Majority of the power plants in the United States are still powered by coal and natural gas, making them critical infrastructure in the U.S. As they’re the foundation of revenue for most power generation companies, it is important to have these assets up and running as much as possible. Companies inspect the inside of these structures to look for damage to the tubes or wear & tear on the cyclones. In the past, this has been performed with a rope access, a cable buggy, or building scaffolding inside the structure.

Our Drone Solution

The lead Boiler Inspector at one of the top U.S. power companies recently told Interactive Aerial “it took 60-man hours to get the exact same picture your drone took ten minutes to get.” Their team traditionally inspected the burners on half the boiler, our team flew our drone to get the second half of the boiler inspected, then we compared data. This company purchased multiple drones and is now reducing its scaffolding requirements in lieu of robotic inspections.

Success Story

Interactive Aerial joined a Midwest power company to inspect one of their large coal boilers. They intended on keeping the plant down for 3 days to build scaffolding to 4 specific areas of repairs from the previous outage. With the Legacy One, we inspected each of the four areas in less than 45 minutes. An on-the-spot decision was made by the plants chief engineer not to build scaffolding and to get the plant back up and running immediately, saving this company tens of thousands in scaffolding cost alone. By getting this boiler back online two days earlier than planned, they saved hundreds of thousands of dollars in downtime by not paying the union to scaffold and back to producing power themselves, rather than buying it off their competitors.

Success Story

In April 2018, our team worked with a major U.S. power producer to test out drones during their annual boiler outage. They wanted to prove scaffolding wasn’t needed for a routine inspection. Our drone, combined with a UT thickness wall crawling robot, made a full coverage inspection of the boiler. They ultimately decided the combined robotic inspection with the wall crawler and our drone was successful. This plant used to scaffold the entire boiler every other year, but is now reducing that requirement to every five years due to this test. Implementing this company wide will save them millions of dollars annually. This company also determined that the drone will be the first item to make entry to the boiler during the outage. It will make an initial visual assessment of the boiler before the full outage commences.

Success Story

During a recent spring outage, our team was asked to help a power company inspect a HRSG boiler. The environment was 100% dark and the company had never used a drone before. We found numerous defects which we accurately tracked with our Photo Measurement Software. The engineers “saw parts of the boiler we hadn’t seen since it was built,” because their company could never justify the cost for tens of thousands of dollars in scaffolding. This year, they have used drones in a majority of their outages, saving days of downtime and thousands of dollars.

Industry Knowledge

Why waste days of extra down time to prepare and execute traditional inspection methods? Our drone can inspect these steel enclosed structures in a matter of minutes, rather than days. Whether it is verifying a few specific areas of repair from previous outages or visually checking the entire boiler for flat spots on the tubes, the Legacy One should be the first tool chosen when beginning an outage. Let our drone be the first object to make entry inside the boiler when it comes offline. It can be the robotic “birds-eye-view” to tell your company exactly what needs to be ordered during your outage.

Other Utility Assets for the Legacy One

Cooling Towers

A hyperboloid cooling towers are large columns that dissipate heat before releasing it back to the atmosphere. They can be hundreds of feet tall and extremely hazardous areas to inspect.

 

HRSG Boilers

Often times smaller than a traditional Utility Boiler, Heat Recovery Steam Generation boilers have more open horizontal areas. So long as they’re wider than 10 ft. across, the Legacy One will have no problem tackling the inspection.

 

 

Penstock

Penstock tubes at power plants create power through water flowing with gravity. These large tubes are often 20-30ft wide and could certainly be inspected with the Legacy One flying rather than walking!

 

 

Biomass Boilers

A biomass boiler burns substances like wood or compost. The principal of operation is very similar to Utility Boilers and are inspected in the same manner.

 

Hydro Electric Dams

These large power production facilities are complex structures that may require flights to multiple different hard to reach areas. Consider the Legacy One to access those large walls!

 

 

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