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Drone Inspection Services
Applied Technical Services is a well-known nondestructive examination (NDE) provider. To better serve our clients, we have expanded our offerings to include drone inspection services.
When relevant to the scope of the work requested, our NDT field team can perform various inspections using Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs). Otherwise known as drones or small unmanned aircraft systems (sUASs), these inspection tools are piloted from the ground via remote control and can take high-resolution pictures and video. Our drones can fly hundreds of feet into the air, allowing our trained technicians to observe areas of large equipment or tall structures that are otherwise difficult to access.
Drone-assisted visual inspections are a more efficient alternative to traditional methods of visual inspection; climbing tall ladders, using aerial lifts or cranes, descending from above via rope-access, standing on adjacent buildings, rigging up a camera boom, or shooting footage out of a helicopter will be more costly and dangerous, or yield a less thorough of an analysis than one of our drone inspections.
ATS’ Engineering division keeps an array of drones available for inspection services. Our technicians select the most appropriate combination from our fleet of UAVs according to the scope of the requested analysis.
We use one type of drone that specializes in outdoor inspections because of its extremely precise Real Time Kinematics (RTK) global positioning/navigation system. This unit features long flight times, two camera mounts, and extra flight modes that enable highly stable footage. These features, along with its ability to use either high-resolution visual light cameras or thermal imagers, grant our external inspection unit a flexibility that translates into lower inspection costs for clients.
Another type of unit is more suited to performing internal inspections. ATS technicians frequently use this drone to assess unreachable places inside of buildings or large industrial equipment. Its front-mounted high-resolution camera can rotate 180° vertically to focus on subjects directly above and below the drone with an unobstructed view. This unit’s LiDAR system enables it to not only navigate independent from any GPS signal but to also avoid collisions even in total darkness. Defect scanning software allows the unit to measure surface flaws within a centimeter of accuracy — a useful tool for inspectors to not only notify clients about the existence of damage but also to quantify it.
The third type of drone we use shines in tight spaces. This small unit fits inside smaller industrial equipment like vessels and ducts to give thorough internal inspections. A collision-resistant design allows the unit to get close to areas of interest without needing to worry about bumping into anything. By setting up a signal extender, technicians can operate the drone from outside the subject of analysis — all without having the need to perform confined space entry (CSE). Simultaneous live feed from visual light and infrared cameras enable pilots to navigate unimpeded. This drone enables inspection of the small places that are otherwise difficult or burdensome for technicians to access.
Standards and Regulations
While drones represent an exciting new development in inspections, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) regulates the underlying technology to ensure the safety of the airways. ATS performs drone inspections in compliance with all FAA regulations regarding their commercial use. Those guidelines are:
ATS' Drone Inspection Services
Since our founding in 1967, ATS has been a trusted provider for inspection, consulting engineering, and testing services. Over our fifty plus years in business, we have grown to serve clients from around the world. We work with a variety of industries that benefit from our drone inspection services, such as pulp/paper, oil/gas, manufacturing, power generation, nuclear, construction and telecommunications.
Our drone-assisted visual inspections are performed by a team of an FAA licensed drone pilot and an experienced camera operator. Unlike most drone inspection services, each flight ATS conducts is piloted by a certified technician or professional engineer — the same professionals that perform our world-class unassisted visual inspections. Together, they collect footage during the flight and analyze the data to draft their report.
Our Commitment to Quality
ATS holds itself accountable to its clients by maintaining excellent quality assurance standards. We operate according to a stringent, ISO 9001 certified quality management system that emphasizes providing service excellence to our clients. We pursue this goal by delivering clear, accurate and detailed reporting within a quick turnaround window. Our personnel facilitate contact with the technicians drafting inspection reports, should a client have a question to ask or concern to voice. ATS provides excellent customer service by ensuring these experts remain accessible, responsible, and engaged when communicating with clients.