The backbone of enterprises is often the collection of valuable assets that are: distributed over large geographic areas, located in hard-to-reach places, and/or provide safety risks to workers. Advances in technology have made many of these assets “smarter” which at the same time typically means they are even more expensive or subject to maintenance. Independent of the business environment of an asset-rich enterprise, operational efficiency is one of the top areas to focus. Even more important is the safety of the workers, including employees and subcontractors, when they are in the field working with these assets. Until now, the primary question in regard to the use of drones has been “Are drones safe?”. The irony is that if drones can be operationalized safely, then drones may be one of the major safety enhancements to asset inspection operations.
Safety concerns regarding drones are real. To operate safely, drone experts have been required to visit the site of the asset. Additionally, the drone experts must be accompanied by the operational experts to ensure their safety and to make certain that the correct information is captured by the pilot. The additional resources having to be present to get the value out of the usage of the drone increases the risk; the cost of the drone experts and the enterprise operational staff make the investment in the use of drones difficult to prove despite their benefits.
Drones have the possibility to be as ubiquitous a tool as smart phones and tablets for industrial applications. The usability of drones needs to be enhanced via more intuitive control and improved access by the operational experts in a safe and cost-effective way. The Cape Drone Telepresence and Data Management System provides for safe and cost-effective usage of drones by operational experts.
The Cape DTDM puts the control of the drones in the hands of the operational experts. Further, the DTDM makes the usage of drones safe and easy-to-use by any operator. The Cape team will work with your operational team to train your experts so that the team will be confident about the safe usage of drones. Further with Cape Aerial TelepresenceTM, your experts can participate in the inspection with live streaming from anywhere further increasing safety by reducing the staff required to be on site. Finally, the Cape App, ensures the safety of your local technician who is supervising the drone flight and maintenance with an intuitive interface that complements the training from Cape’s team of experts.
With the Cape DTDM, Cap App, and training, the only experts you will need to conduct asset inspection will be members of your existing team. Once trained on the Cape technology, you will have all the skills you need to use drones for routine activities as well as incident response. You will utilize the same staff you use today for on-site activities or visits to now be your on-site drone technicians. Your operational team can join any asset inspection through a secure, dedicated portal from any location saving them significant lost time due to travel. Finally, you will be giving your teams the newest technology in operational efficiency which will enable you to attract top talent.
The following are some of the few use cases for drones enabled by Cape technology; many more are emerging daily.
Oil, Gas, and Chemical Production
Downstream facilities are using drones for chimney and flare inspection, asset tracking, and security. Midstream operations are conducting regular remote inspections of pipelines and investigating alarms or reports of incidents to ascertain which experts to deploy. Upstream operations are dispersing drones throughout their fields to reduce the number of regular visits to well pads saving valuable travel time.
Mining and Aggregates
Cost and time savings are being realized via the use of drones in the processes for both above-ground mines and aggregate processing facilities. Post-processing of video and thermal sensor data from automated, defined flight patterns provides information never before available to these operators. Live streaming and operational expert control of the drones greatly enhances the safety and cost effectiveness of the use of drones.
Live streams of tower inspections simultaneously and securely transmitted to multiple experts for any individual owner of a tower-mounted asset or to multiple owners for shared towers greatly increases the cost-effectiveness of the inspection. Providing the tower technicians already on staff the added ability to safely deploy and supervise drones without the need for a third-party both increases the job satisfaction and the cost effectiveness of the on-site resource.
Inspections of assets such as solar fields, high-voltage transmission assets (towers, power lines, and substations), wastewater facilities, and other distributed assets is now possible by experts operating remotely with high definition video streamed to the experts who simultaneously control the video perspective and zoom level in real-time. Local technicians ensure the safety of the operation by maintaining visual line-of-sight and having access to master controls to aid in the safe, successful completion of the operation.