Drone Inspections for Pipeline Visualisation

Drones equipped with laser scanning technology provide detailed visualisations, mapping, condition reports and photographic documentation for existing pipeline infrastructure.

Visualising your assets

WRc, on behalf of our sister RSK company The Scan Station, provides technical drone inspection services to the water industry using high resolution camera systems that are capable of delivering everything from total asset mapping to close inspection work.

Powerful drone technology Elios 3 uses computer vision and laser scanning to produce a 3D live map of assets such as internal pipelines, sewer lines and confined spaces. Elios 3 has SLAM-Based stabilization making it collision-resistant and steady, even in harsh flying conditions. It is equipped with a 10,000-lumen lighting system, 4K video camera system, thermal, and a LiDAR unit, allowing it to take measurements as it flies and produce high-density pipe profiles, which can be fed back live to the operator. On-site engineers can understand immediately where maintenance and repairs are needed, and all stakeholders are able to clearly visualise inspection outputs.

    One flight captures all

    A single drone flight can catch visual and thermal imagery alongside LiDAR 3D data to deliver one full profile of the asset in context of the surrounding infrastructure; 'bonus' data is also valuable to multiple stakeholders.

    Rare, in-country availability

    Elios 3 is considered one of the most advanced confined-space inspection systems in the world, and our provider is one of only a very small number of UK-based operators.

    3D aerial capability

    Operating in three-dimensional space means there is no height limit to surveys, therefore far less reporting restriction than many other systems surveillance and reporting systems.

    Safer inspection solution

    Drones are safer than conventional solutions for assessing potentially risk-laden situations often faced in the water industry. This is particularly true of confined spaces and work at heights.

    Rapid adaptation to clients' needs

    This service offers bespoke, same-day manufacturing using in-house CNC precision machinery to overcome hurdles with surveying awkward assets, enabling clients to rapidly move a project to its next phase.

    Visual, uniquely accessible data

    Our web format makes data accessible and visual for every team member - as an entire project or zoomed in on suspected issues - reports are no longer restricted to those with on-site specialist software.

    Complemented by WRc services

    Drone technology perfectly ties in with other WRc inspection techniques; we can fly drones over pipelines surveyed by our submerged in-pipe Sahara® System or Potable Water Pipe Crawler, for full visualisation of the asset in context.

    Don't just take our word for it

    Our drone surveys use a range of techniques and can be tailored to our clients' needs, which is why they come back again and again.

    • LiDAR scanning
    • Reality capture
    • Underground assets, corvettes and pipelines
    • Industrial asset inspections

    One client required a detailed assessment of a commercial property’s stonework, lighting and drainage for a project with quick turn-around time. Using LiDAR scanning equipment, we were able to provide the client with the data and measurements they needed in advance of the project start date, allowing pre-planning of replacement parts, resulting in minimum shutdown time and reducing costs. Our data has also added value and benefits as it can be viewed and used by the client’s other specialists and stakeholders.

    LiDAR can be used to provide a photorealistic representation of assets as a 3D model, allowing our clients to inspect safely from their own site and computers rather than putting up scaffold and using cherry pickers – both high-risk actions. Inspection work itself can be done safely from the ground, and from the desktop. We deliver all of the captured data in the client's requested format (i.e. a web-based portal). Data and images can be viewed by all client team members, not only the technical specialists.

    Our client was installing above- and below-ground structures that were located over or near below-ground assets, including a borehole and mains sewer. They needed to know exactly where the assets and structures sat in relation to each other, to avoid possible damage and prevent potential sewerage spillage. Our laser scanning created a 3D model of everything above ground and then we connected that to underground laser scanning and LiDAR work to precisely map the relative locations so that the client could then successfully and safely position them.

    Clients with large industrial assets use our drone inspection service to cover large areas quickly. We provide them with extremely high-resolution orthomosaic images and 3D models to record broad and detailed imagery. It is particularly useful for recording an asset’s condition over time, revisiting at set intervals to see if suspected problems have developed, such as checking on a rust spot and comparing and contrasting it’s size from one visit to another. This service is also valuable to the client for checking that scheduled repairs have been completed.

    Download our flyer

    Find out more about this service, download the flyer.

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    More on our delivery partner

    Fellow RSK company The Scan Station offers specialist survey, inspection, mapping and surveillance services to the oil and gas, design and construction, manufacturing, heritage, ecclesiastical and agricultural industries.

    Services include measured building surveys; laser scanning, aerial surveys and surveillance; reality capture; culvert and pipeline inspections; geographic information system mapping; computer-aided design/building information modelling; industrial asset inspections; and telecoms surveys.

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