• Harrison Knoll

Unmanned Transmission Asset Inspection

Aging infrastructure and an aging workforce is an imminent problem facing our power grid. Faced with a fleeting knowledge base our utilities need to deliver innovative solutions to both extend the life of existing assets, but also implement preventative maintenance schedules on new green field projects. One solution adds routine data capture, inspection, and organization visibility using our 15 point wooden H-frame inspection. This is a repeatable acquisition strategy that captures 15 inspection photos on the most critical areas for tracking defects on wooden H-frame transmission structures using inexpensive unmanned aerial systems.

Hot zones for 15-pt inspection

Looking at the wooden H-Frame structure on the right, we see 15 highlighted zones. These zones are the common failure areas that need to be tracked. Using high resolution RGB images from inexpensive unmanned systems, each of these areas can be imaged then analyzed and stored and shared on an ESRI geodatabase. We have implemented this acquisition strategy on 1000's of structures and track defects such as: cracked cross arm, missing hardware, pitting in transmission shoe, broken bells, cracked bells, flashover on bells, missing pole caps, flashover on shield wire, woodpecker holes, and more.

The key takeaway I have learned from working with utility clients is the most value comes from implementing a routine data acquisition schedule and pushing the data throughout the organization.

In our solution we used the DJI Inspire 2, Mavic 2 and M210 UAS and trained operators within the organization to capture every structure. This data was imported into ESRI geodatabase and distriburted throughout the organization. The image to the left is a screen capture from our GIS web app. Each structure has 15 photos associated with it and defects is highlighted as red. Users can easily create work orders and schedule maintenance on the assets within their existing ESRI workflow.

If you are looking to implement a data strategy or want an acquisition and analysis partner lease reach out to me!

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