Intrinsically Safe Drone Technology?
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Intrinsically Safe Drone
Intrinsically safe equipment is defined as “equipment and wiring which is incapable of releasing sufficient electrical or thermal energy under normal or abnormal conditions to cause ignition of a specific hazardous atmospheric mixture in its most easily ignited concentration.” This is achieved by limiting the amount of power available to the electrical equipment in the hazardous area to a level below that which will ignite the gases.
Using an Unmanned Aerial Vehicle or UAV has its fair share of upsides in a lot of Industries and an Intrinsically Safe RPAS is not exempted. The development of Drones has come a long way and with various degrees of autonomy, it is becoming one of the top solutions when working in a potentially explosive environment.
Oil & Gas and all Hazardous environments require an extreme level of safety when performing inspections or specific tasks to protect people.
If you send a human to inspect a very hazardous area, the need for tools such as scaffolding will require planning, shutting down the area, inspection, building the safety equipment (fall arrests, hand railings, etc.), and carefully timed approach to prevent accident or loss of life. This is going to generate a huge downtime and downtimes equal loss of financials.
All operations around oil and gas-related infrastructure need to be carefully regulated and tightly controlled. Policies such as those related to intrinsic safety have long been in place to protect both people and the environment on these types of sites. While intrinsic safety describes a set of electrical design principles, it also considers deployment procedures too.
UAV platforms are not fully intrinsically safe in their electrical design. However, professional UAV inspection operations have proven to offer an inspection procedure that minimizes health and safety risk to both plant staff and the public; in addition to bringing significant economic savings to the plant through not needing to entirely shut down production.
Central to obtaining these benefits from drone inspection is utilizing professional UAV equipment and flight procedures. If deployed correctly, both the time that site inspection personnel spend with their feet on the ground, and a facility’s economic savings, will be maximized.