The backbone of most industrial enterprises is their inventory of field assets, many of which are distributed over large geographic areas and/or located in hard-to-reach places. Field personnel routinely put safety at risk when accessing these facilities and drive up operational expenditures (OPEX) in the process. These days, companies are looking to cut costs to preserve their bottom lines, but even more important is the safety of their personnel in the field, whether employees or contractors. Better communication networks, automation and digital measurement are helping operators achieve both savings and safety while giving them unprecedented views into the condition of their assets. However, the sheer size and scope of these enterprises leaves operations teams and safety mangers struggling to handle the task of inspecting the extensive infrastructure they build. Instead of ramping up the team as the asset base expands, why not use technology as a force multiplier to make your current team more effective?
Industrial enterprises and service providers can now significantly reduce travel expenses and improve personnel safety through the use of drones for asset inspection. Many companies have already launched drone programs and are training their field technicians to be drone pilots. Others are using drone-as-a-service providers to conduct surveys and analysis. One problem with this approach is that the subject matter experts and project managers, many of whom sit in offices hundreds of miles away from the assets, are not in control of what they need to see. This disconnect between pilots in the field and the experts who need to view the data reduces the value proposition of an internal drone program for many energy firms. What if the experts could just take control of a drone in the field, from their office computers, and zoom in on exactly what they need to see, when they need to see it? Even further, what if they could allow multiple other stakeholders, no matter where they sit, to view a livestream of this inspection and collaborate with team members in real-time? Enter Cape Aerial Telepresence™.
Drones will soon be as ubiquitous a tool as smart phones and tablets for industrial applications. To get there, the usability of drones needs to be enhanced via more intuitive control and improved access in a safe and cost-effective way. Cape has developed a unique solution to put the experts in control without the cost and risk of traveling to remote sites.
Cape puts drone control in the hands of subject matter experts, making drone inspection safe and easy-to-use for any operator. The Cape team will work with your team to train your experts so that the team will be confident about the safe usage of drones. Cape Aerial Telepresence™ enables your remote experts to participate in field inspections with live streaming from anywhere, further increasing safety by reducing the staff required to be on site. Finally, the Cape Operator App ensures the safety of your local technician, who effortlessly monitors the drone flights with an intuitive interface that complements the training from Cape’s team of experts.
With Cape, 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 project management or operations teams 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 use cases for drones enabled by Cape technology; many more are emerging daily.
Oil, Gas and Chemical
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.