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Save ££££’s On Your Commercial Tank Inspections

Last updated on

December 9, 2019


    Save ££££’s On Your Commercial Tank Inspections

    When commercial tank inspection time rolls around you probably have that sense of gloom hanging over you.  After all, tanks have a limited working life with the risk of a costly tank failure increasing with age.

    Combined with the heady costs of replacing a commercial tank running into tens and hundreds of thousands and the work associated with welding and repairs, installing scaffolding, rope access, or a crane – before the worries of meeting legislation around leaks or failure points and correcting issues that you do find – it can be a real headache.

    What if there was a way to regain control of your commercial tank inspections by having access to the perfect kit to run an in-depth analysis of your tank without risking injury and also saving money on the whole process?

    If you’ve been delaying your commercial tank inspection because you simply feel you don’t have the time, money or resources – you need to read this.

    Use a drone to save thousands on your commercial tank inspections

    The best way smart businesses run tank inspections is now to use drones such as the latest inspection device, the Elios 2, specifically made for commercial tank inspections and other hard to reach areas. (As a note, there are ‘variations’ of the Elios – Flyability, the original, and the Elios 2. If you’re interested, head to the end of this blog for links where you can read all about the nuances between them.)

    But first, let us allay any fears you may have around drones for commercial tank inspection as a concept.

    Why use a drone for commercial tank inspection?

    There are some places no human wants or needs to step into and if you’re working with dark, dubious or even potentially dangerous tanks you know that every second counts. Sending in a person can be a tense task in the pursuit of knowledge and with small areas to navigate, what you find can come into question. For example – is that a hairline fracture or crack or just a shadow?  When it comes to commercial tanks, you need complete confidence in your inspection and whilst we celebrate the great individuals who can repair and inspect commercial tanks, drone technology now makes it easy to run tank inspections, allowing you to ascertain potential damage and record it all for review in the comfort of the office– whilst allowing you to save thousands on your tank inspections overall.

    Why drones have the edge

    As you know, the costs of regular tank inspections can soon mount up, with most pre-inspection site surveys often reaching over £1000 before you have even started. Not only does using a drone make the actual inspection cheaper in the long run, but being able to get the inside view whenever you need to could help you identify and tackle a potential maintenance issue before it becomes a problem. The latest drone technology is so effective, it’s already saving thousands.

    For example, the Elios 2 was recently used by Severn Trent Water and was put to work performing tasks previously done by humans in potentially dangerous situations such as inspecting pipe bridges. Severn Trent Water found that drones can displace scaffolding costs by using them for initial inspections and at the time of the report savings had already hit the £750,000 mark with the second year of use expected to double this amount to £1.5m. Read More Here

    Benefits to drone inspection for commercial tanks

    There are many benefits to using drones for commercial operations, in particular the Elios, but let’s consider the typical issues with commercial tank inspection.

    Even if you are already a drone user, or you’ve tried it before, you might worry that when it comes to dark, compact spaces, you’re still going to be at a loss. Luckily, tech moves quick. The Elios 2 has been designed with seven stability sensors that greatly improve its GPS-free stabilisation, perfect for places with low signal- such as the inside of a tank. Don’t worry about your flight skills either, The Elios 2 is far more capable than most at remaining smooth and steady, whilst LEDs provide lighting to the front, top and bottom of the craft, with 10,000 lumens and Oblique Lighting to potentially detect cracks or other imperfections in the structure of the tank by creating and analysing shadows.

    On top of this – let’s talk hazards. As already mentioned, hazards are one of the main reasons our customers look for us to provide drones for inspections of commercial tanks. However, whilst they are sturdy, even then best drones can be damaged on entry to a compact space and when it comes to leaks, it can be hard to decipher what’s what. On top of that, gathering comparable and consistent data when inspecting the interiors of tanks is all about being perfectly parallel, something that’s quite a skill.

    The Elios 2 thrives against these challenges, and offers a Lepton thermal camera providing a resolution of 160 x 120 at 9fps, allowing you to see heat loss/gain where it’s not wanted or the presence of toxic chemicals and also providing a Distance Lock so you can set a specific distance from 1 – 6 ft from the tank and the craft will remain at that distance as you fly parallel to it.

    Will drone inspection mean more work afterwards?

    Once you’re done flying, you can exploit the data recorded on the SD card embedded on Elios, right away. That means no post processing or specific software is required. To avoid hurdles, the data is all kept on simple video files that can be read quickly and easily – so things like your thermal video, flight data and selected Points of Interest (POI) are recorded all together for easy access.

    In a real life study, TAU AG, an asset manager in charge of a tank farm in Muttenz Switzerland for the BP and Avia oil companies, used Elios for internal inspection of above-ground hydrocarbons and other chemicals storage tanks. After being degassed and cleaned, all structures of interest were inspected in less than two hours after and with over 100 tanks to look after, the move to drone technology has lowered the cost imputed to inspections.

    How much can you save by using drone inspection?

    The answer to this question will depend on what your specific requirements are, however, you may be interested to hear that Severn Trent Water found that by using the Elios drone that their first job paid for the entirety of the drone team and ELIOS drone combined.

    Here’s what they said about their new operations.

    “Our savings from the team were £750,000 using the drone and in our PR (price review) 19 period we’re hoping to double this.”
    Duncan Turner, Drone Team Lead, Severn Trent Water

    Want to know more?

    Click HERE  to request that one of our friendly experts get in touch with you to discuss the scale of your project and your potential savings!


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