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Eyes in the Sky: Drone Use at Facilities Grows




Around the nation, that chatter that facilities managers hear is the buzz about drones — or the more official term, small unmanned aerial systems. Duke Energy is grabbing its share of buzz because it’s one of a small but growing number of utilities that are testing drones and looking to make them part of the company’s way of operating.

Here are a few examples of drone uses by Duke Energy:

• Large boilers at power plants. Drones are inspecting areas that are hard to reach. Using drones for such inspections is faster, less expensive and safer than having an employee trying performing the same work.

• Solar farms. An infrared camera mounted on a drone could spot electrical panels that are not operating correctly. Currently, employees perform such inspections by walking through the solar farm. Faster repairs mean more renewable energy.

• Major storms. Drones can relatively quickly help utilities identify damage in hard-hit areas. As a result, the company is able to muster equipment, arrive at the work site, and restore power sooner to customers quickly .

The Electric Power Research Institute has studied drone use for three years, and Dominion and Southern Company have used drones for transmission-line inspections.

Read more here.

This Quick Read was submitted by Dan Hounsell, editor-in-chief of Facility Maintenance Decisions, dan.hounsell@tradepressmedia.com. Read more about irrigation-system management at http://www.facilitiesnet.com/16438FMD.

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