Firmatek is transforming the way electric utilities inspect their assets with the use of Skydio drones. In a recent project, Firmatek inspected 10,000 poles in just six days. Traditionally, this inspection would have been done from the ground, looking up at each pole or by setting up a bucket truck to inspect the pole tops.
Faster data collection streamlines the front of the inspection workflow. Using a drone can take the inspection time per pole from 15-20 minutes per pole to 20-30 seconds per pole. Additionally, access issues slow down the traditional process, especially if the line doesn’t follow the road. For example, if lines cut across fields, it’s extremely difficult to get the bucket truck into that area to get a good inspection. A drone does not have those same restrictions, and therefore can get high quality data on a much higher percentage of poles than the traditional methods.
In addition to speed, drone inspections also provide more information than a traditional inspection. Drone inspections provide pictures that document the distributed asset condition. These images are tagged with a specific geolocation and are time stamped for accurate record keeping.
This more detailed information gives electric utilities documentation on the condition of each structure. This information is used to create meaningful action items and streamlines decision-making. As this new inspection is used over time and at scale across an entire system, the utilities have a library of their distributed assets that they can compare against each time they do an inspection. This data allows decision-makers to start projecting future projects based on degradation analysis.
For the customers of an electric utility, an hour of outage time is unbearable. We have such a high dependency on electricity in our daily lives. But as long as the power is on, customers are typically very satisfied with their provider. Keeping outages to a minimum leads to satisfied customers. With these types of inspections you can expect safer and more reliable power, which will drive the customer satisfaction ratings. Safer, Reliable, & Happy Customers: the hat trick of KPIs that every utility should strive for.
Our utilities customers, just like our customers in mining & solid waste, operate in an ever-changing environment. This makes decision-making difficult. At the end of the day, we are providing insightful data to help leaders make more informed decisions, based on data.