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Skyriders uses drones to complete boiler inspection at Medupi
January 2019, News


One of the largest boiler inspections ever undertaken using drones in South Africa was recently completed by Skyriders on Unit 6 at Eskom’s Medupi Power Station. The project was distinguished by its sheer size, with Unit 6 a towering 80 metres high. In addition, a full internal inspection had to be conducted of the entire furnace area, from the bottom all the way up to the super heater elements. This was especially important as it was the first time that the boiler had been inspected thoroughly since start up.

Skyriders’ marketing manager Mike Zinn explains that from the outset the decision was to deploy the company’s proprietary Elios collision-tolerant drone technology. Imported from Switzerland, the hi-tech drone includes a full HD camera, a thermal camera, and an on-board LED lighting system with remotely adjustable intensity. The drone can be brought into inaccessible places up to many hundred metres beyond line of sight due to the wireless communications system and live video feedback. The collision-tolerance feature means it can enter furnace areas easily, and even go right up to a burner for close inspection, without any danger of crashing or causing damage.

The drone was operated by trained pilots, accompanied by a Level 2 boiler inspector, obviating the risk of any staff having to enter the boiler themselves and also making the inspection much quicker to perform. Skyriders opted to use SkyEye technology because it is designed specifically for such arduous conditions. First of all, the boiler was switched off, and subjected to a forced cooling period so that the drone could enter safely. Thereafter, the drone was piloted inside in order to carry out a full boiler inspection.

For more information contact Mike Zinn, Skyriders, +27 11 312 1418, mike@ropeaccess.co.za, www.ropeaccess.co.za


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