The Safety Case for Autonomous Drone Crane Inspections

The Safety Case for Autonomous Drone Crane Inspections

6 Jul 2021 Written by Sharon

Cranes are dangerous equipment.  Crane incidents lead to hundreds of fatalities: no other commonly used construction equipment can cause as much damage as a crane. OSHA, the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration, analysis of crane accidents identifies the major causes of safety incidents: boom or crane contact with power lines, overturned cranes, and boom collapse are among the most frequent.  When a boom hits a power line, or a crane drops a load or tips over, it isn’t only the crane operator who is injured, but anyone else in the crane’s path.  In addition, all of the equipment in the yard below can be damaged or destroyed.

Crane inspections can create a dangerous situation, because conventional methods require that the equipment must be moved out of the site for inspection.  A busy worksite can contain a hundred cranes working in a small, confined area.  When cranes need to be moved out of the worksite and boomed down for inspections, everyone in the area is placed at risk.  In urban areas, that risk and liability are magnified.

The Drone Alternative: Inspections in Place

Automated drone inspections can be performed with the crane in place, and without lowering the boom: eliminating the need for movement and the accompanying risk.  (See more about automated drone inspections here). The vHive autonomous drone inspection platform plans the ideal 3-dimensional flight plan around crane equipment – a flight plan that ensures high quality data capturing every aspect of the equipment that needs to be inspected.  The drone requires a minimum of space around the equipment to operate and can fly wherever the crane is working.   Drone inspections take only about 30 minutes: a time savings that represents a huge reduction in downtime, expense, and liability.

Reducing Risk for the Inspector

Inspectors generally must travel to worksites to perform required periodic inspections.  Travel is expensive and inefficient – and it places the inspectors on site, near to equipment as it is moved, boomed down, or dismantled at risk of a crane accident.

vHive autonomous drone inspections can be performed by any drone operator on site, using an inexpensive, commercial off-the-shelf drone.  Data is sent securely to the vHive cloud, where it is processed into highly detailed imagery of every inch of the crane, taken from every angle.  Inspectors can visually navigate in 3D space around the drone from the safety of an off-site office, tagging and annotating images and generating an inspection report automatically-and remotely.

Safer – and Better

The vHive autonomous drone inspection platform delivers consistent and high-quality data better than conventional methods.  Users receive digital data: detailed imagery of the crane from every angle.  Data that can be tagged, annotated, compared over time, and shared easily offers companies the opportunity to move from responsive maintenance to predictive maintenance, increasing efficiency and improving profit margins.

Most importantly, automated drone inspections minimize the risk of crane accidents and protect the workforce.  More than reducing liability, drone inspections reduce injuries.  Call today to arrange a live demo of the vHive autonomous drone inspection platform: it’s time to adopt new technology that saves time, money, and lives.

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