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Drones: Taking engineering excellence to new heights with RPAS and digital scanning

Robert Theron

Robert Theron

29th March 2024


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In the fast-paced world of engineering and technology, Proconics is leading the charge, embracing Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems (RPAS) and digital scanning to push the boundaries of what is achievable. These are not just tools in our belt—they are transformative agents propelling us toward new levels of precision, efficiency and safety in our projects.

At the heart of Proconics lies a bold commitment to innovation. By weaving RPAS and digital scanning into the fabric of our operations, we are not just keeping up with the times—we are crafting the future. These advancements enable us to capture and analyse data with an accuracy and speed that traditional methods cannot match, driving superior project outcomes. 

Our Edge in RPAS and Digital Scanning

Our venture into RPAS and digital scanning was a deliberate move toward redefining efficiency and precision in engineering projects. These technologies allow us to gather detailed aerial data swiftly, reducing risks and opening new possibilities for site analysis and project planning. It is this expertise that places us at the forefront of the engineering sector, continually exceeding client expectations.

Drones and lidar technologies can scan areas that were previously inaccessible and create a virtual twin of the equipment. The traditional inspection methods for the interiors of stacks, chimneys and vessels involved costly rope access and scaffolding and put the inspector in danger. Scanning these areas with drones and lidar is faster and safer.

Drones have significantly changed the game, delivering advantages across three key areas: 

  • Unmatched 3D data quality: With drones, we can obtain high-resolution images and data, forming the backbone of our detailed 3D models. This data richness aids in nuanced project planning and decision-making, ensuring precision from the get-go. 
  • Incredible time savings: Speed is of the essence in any project, and drones and simultaneous localisation and mapping- (SLAM-) based scanning, excel in rapid data collection over large areas. This capability enables us to streamline our workflows, offering our clients faster, more reliable outcomes.
  • Enhanced safety protocols: Safety takes priority in all our endeavours. Drones allow us to conduct surveys and inspections from a distance, significantly reducing the risk to our team and ensuring compliance with the highest safety standards.

Pioneering with Proconics

Our exploration into RPAS and digital scanning has led to groundbreaking applications, reinforcing our commitment to leading through innovation.

  • Asset integrity and environmental monitoring: Using drones equipped with various sensors, we can carry out thorough inspections and environmental assessments. This approach allows for early problem detection and reinforces our dedication to sustainable practices. Condition monitoring and Artificial Intelligence (AI) processing of the scans allow for early detection of corrosion or civil degradation.
  • Construction progress tracking: Drones provide us with a bird's-eye view of ongoing projects, enabling efficient tracking and management. This transparency not only boosts project management but also strengthens client relationships. The ability to rapidly create digital twins of plants or construction sites allow for frequent project progress updates with a visualisation of the actual progress on your digital device.
  • Custom solutions and proprietary technology: Our deep understanding of engineering challenges, combined with the capabilities of drone technology and 3D scanning, has spurred the development of specialised tools and solutions, ensuring each project benefits from tailored, impactful strategies.
  • The development of digital twins: Drones and lidar scanners allow for the rapid development of digital twins of existing plants. These digital twins create a digital record of the plant or area at a specific timestamp. By having a digital twin available, costly mistakes during engineering can be avoided.    

The Future of Drones in Engineering

The potential for drones in engineering is boundless, with advancements in AI and machine learning set to enhance drone functionalities further. Autonomous drones promise continuous, hands-off monitoring, while integration with IoT and digital twins will offer a comprehensive project overview like never before. These developments promise to make engineering projects more efficient, safer and sustainable.

At Proconics, our adoption of RPAS and digital scanning is reshaping the landscape of engineering projects. By integrating these technologies into our practices, we are not just responding to industry trends; we are actively contributing to the evolution of engineering methodologies.

Robert Theron is an experienced electrical and electronics engineer specialising in technology and ICT management. He has recently qualified for an MBA and has extensive mining and petrochemical facility experience. At Proconics, he manages the automation, ICT and RPAS teams, focusing on strategic planning and operational efficiency.

Edited by Creamer Media Reporter



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