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Coating and paint inspection company launches new UAV service to revolutionise industry inspection

Published by , Senior Editor
World Pipelines,

Surface Corrosion Consultants Ltd, Europe’s largest coating inspection company, has announced the launch of a new UAV (Unmanned Aerial Vehicle) inspection service which is set to transform operations for a number of cross-sector industries.

Coating and paint inspection company launches new UAV service to revolutionise industry inspection

The Belfast-headquartered company, which specialises in comprehensive paint inspection, NDT Inspection and corrosion prevention, will be deploying its UAV service to monitor and inspect corrosion for its clients across the UK and Europe.

The new UAV service will offer long-term solutions such as reduced overheads and operating costs, as well as a host of health and safety benefits compared with the traditional manual inspection survey methods.

The use of UAVs is quickly becoming the preferred technique for Coating & Paint Inspection across a wide range of sectors including oil and gas, construction, renewables, marine, industrial and transport and infrastructure.

Rab Grainger, Surface Corrosion Consultants Technical Director, said UAV technology plays a fundamental role in the future management of corrosion: “UAV services relating to the inspection sector has seen huge advancement in recent times as companies begin to understand the benefits of incorporating this form of inspection into their maintenance and repair budgets.

“UAV inspection is the safest alternative to any manned inspection survey method.

“Using a UAV reduces the risk of our inspectors being exposed to working at height and removes any associated, unnecessary risk.

“Essentially, UAV inspection can provide a number of solutions to combat what were once potential issues within the inspection and coatings survey market.”

Surface, which also has a base in Aberdeen, will combine its UAV service with its in-house digital solution Surface Asset Management (SAM™). The ground-breaking app digitally streamlines all aspects of coating and NDT inspection to simplify the whole process.

“Multiple areas can be surveyed in a short period of time transforming what was conventionally a lengthy task into a much more efficient and safe process,” explained Rab.

Surface employs 12 in-house Field Inspectors and 4 sub-contractors. All inspectors are either ICorr or AMPP Level 2 or 3 Qualified. Surface currently has the most in-house Level 3 inspectors in the UK.

A selection of the company’s coating surveyors are now fully qualified with GVC (General Visual Line of Sight Certificate) Drone Training Certifications approved by the CAA (Civil Aviation Authority).

The surveyors will inspect assets, both onshore and offshore, with the use of onboard cameras, acting as an inspectors’ eyes in high resolution, 4K imagery.

UAV inspections offer a number of cost saving benefits as the surveys can be carried out whilst an asset is still operational reducing costs associated with isolating an area or shutting down an entire asset. Further cost savings are achieved as companies generally no longer require a manual process such as rope access technicians, mobile elevating work platforms or scaffolds.

“UAV inspection reduces days, weeks and sometimes months of planning associated with the logistics of shutdowns and manned inspections,” continued Rab.

“Surface inspectors have years of experience in the Coating Industry, which means we know what to look out for when it comes to corrosion repair and prevention and we can implement a plan to support the next steps to protecting an asset.

“Having focused our latest team training on UAVs demonstrates our ongoing commitment to staff development. We are incredibly proud of our team’s achievements, which play a key role in securing Surface as leaders in the field of coating and paint inspection,” said Rab.

“We maintain a constant drive for efficiency for our clients and believe that UAV inspection, together with our innovative SAM™ software, is a game changer for the future management of corrosion in the energy and construction industries.”

The CAA-approved GVC course was delivered by Heliguy and consisted of three parts: theory examination, a practical flight assessment, and the completion of an Operations Manual.

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