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Cyberhawk completes world’s first UAV internal industrial chimney inspection

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Hydrocarbon Engineering,

Cyberhawk Innovations has completed the world’s first ever unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) internal industrial chimney inspection for one of the world’s largest oil and gas supermajors.

The project, which took place earlier this year, was completed over the course of two days at one of Europe’s largest and most complex refineries.

Traditional internal industrial chimney inspections require personnel to climb inside dangerous and potentially chemically hazardous areas. Inspecting the chimney stack with Cyberhawk’s UAVs allowed for a quick and safe audit of the chimney, and meant that personnel were not required to physically enter the chimney to complete the inspection.

This new internal chimney inspection solution complements its existing industry leading external chimney stack inspection service, which involves using a drone to capture high definition images of the stack’s full external surface, before creating a three dimensional model of the chimney. This then provides accurate sizing and positioning of defects along with the provision of high definition orthophotos of each elevation of the chimney, all delivered in Cyberhawk’s cloud-based asset management software, iHawk.

Malcolm Connolly, Technical Director and Founder of Cyberhawk said: “We have been working with this particular client for more than six years, and this project demonstrates continued confidence from one of the world’s oil and gas supermajors in our ability to deliver more complex and challenging projects.

“Our portfolio includes a significant amount of work undertaken at refinery and petrochemical sites, such as flare stacks, cooling towers and piperack inspections. We have already been using UAVs to conduct external inspections on chimneys for more than five years, and the completion of this recent workscope has proven the feasibility of using drones internally. Completion of this project represents a major leap forward for drone technology and demonstrates the huge safety improvements on offer.”

This project continues to build upon Cyberhawk’s industry leading drone inspection service, which last year saw the team undertake the world’s first internal inspection of a cargo oil tank on an operational FPSO, using a UAV. Projects this year have also added to the company’s internal inspection credentials, with the completion of internal steam boiler inspections, at operational thermal power stations, the inspection of oil storage tanks and inside large chemical plants.

Headquartered in Livingston, Scotland, and with bases in Houston, the Middle East and SE Asia, Cyberhawk carried out the very first ROAV industrial inspection in 2009 and since then, has completed more than 25 world firsts to date, with blue-chip customers in more than 20 countries on four continents.

Adapted from press release by Rosalie Starling

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