Drones were everywhere at NECA this year, as more companies figure out new ways to use these eyes in the sky for construction applications. In the Techtopia session, “Drones & Energy: Using Drones for Industrial Inspection,” the folks from B&C Aerial Solutions, Indianapolis, IN, gave a nice summary of where drones fit into the electrical contracting field.
Electrical contractors and utility workers are using drones for some interesting inspection applications, including checking for chipped insulators on utility lines, maintenance inspections in large solar fields and even “internal inspections” in industrial applications, where drones fly through pipes and boilers to inspect for cracks and measure temperature “hot spots” with infrared technology. B&C Aerial Solutions and other drone vendors and enthusiasts at NECA always make a point of emphasizing how drones can lower the cost of inspection jobs and make job-sites safer because workers don’t have to be put in potentially dangerous situations to do inspection work. They also said it’s important to think through a potential application for a drone and what you will do with the data it collects. Today, drones can be equipped with variety of sensors to measure heat, gas, sound and other environmental concerns. Many companies are taking pictures with drones, but it’s important to plan out what you are going to do with any data you collect before investing in this technology.