Rope-access company Skyriders Access Specialists will partner with a local software company to advance the current software on its Sky Eye Elios drones, as it continues to refine the technology in line with its ongoing inspection and maintenance work at various industrial plants this year.
Some of the inspection and maintenance services that Skyriders provides include work on boilers, coal bunkers and pulverised fuel (PF) pipes.
The coal bunkers, which are often steel-based, are quite susceptible to wear and tear, therefore, Skyriders assists with necessary maintenance and inspections. The PF pipes take crushed coal from the coal bunkers and feed it into the boilers, where it is burned.
“We have also conducted inspection and maintenance work on the large coal concrete silos where the coal or fly ash is stored. The prospects for continued work at power stations are huge,” says Skyriders marketing manager Mike Zinn.
This year, Skyriders plans to make its Sky Eye Elios drones even more responsive and adaptable, as this will assist in improving the quality of its reports, and, hence, the data that clients receive as feedback, he notes.
Zinn adds that the cost of access is often disproportionate to the scope of work, mentioning that using Skyriders’ rope access and drones allow for cost-effective and timeous inspections on industrial plants.
Skyriders undertook inspection and maintenance work at the Kendal power station during a planned shutdown from October to December 2018. The rope-access-based project – which was carried out by a team of 30 people – included boiler inspections on the boiler pressure parts, installation of safety nets, coal bunker and PF pipe inspections, and various other maintenance tasks.
Reflecting on some of the highlights of that project, Zinn commends that the entire scope of work was completed on time and to a high standard. The other challenge was that a new data gathering system was introduced by the electricity utility.
“Our team managed to adapt quickly to this system, as requested by the client, without any teething problems. We were able to deliver on our full scope of work, while ensuring that quality and safety were not compromised,” says Zinn.
The challenges faced throughout the project were similar to those of any shutdown, as there was always a huge scope of work to be completed within a specific time. Zinn points out that clients are strict about adhering to the timelines within which such projects must be completed.
“There are a lot of unforeseen contingencies, owing to ancillary activities carried out by other contractors that can take longer than planned due to their own challenges. That has a knock-on effect on us, but our team adequately managed to make up for lost time so that we could complete everything as per the schedule,” concludes Zinn.