When a drone saves a company half a million dollars in lost production in a single flight, it’s big news. But it’s only half the story.
The real story is that the world’s first collision-tolerant drone, the Elios, underwent extensive testing in nuclear environments where it was exposed to deadly radiation - and passed with flying colours.
The pioneering device, manufactured by Swiss company Flyability, underwent a series of tests where its cumulative exposure to radiation was more than 90 times the annual dose limit for a single human working at a nuclear plant in the USA and in France - and it still managed to do its job without any problems.
This represents a major advance in nuclear workplace safety as the device will eliminate the need for humans to do visual inspections in hazardous radioactive environments.
Substantial cost savings are another key advantage of these next generation devices
Flyability sent the Elios into the dangerous depths of a nuclear reactor at a major US energy producer and it not only emerged unscathed, it spared the company from incurring substantial production losses because it was able to do the inspection for a suspected leak without necessitating a costly shutdown.
According to Flyability, this particular mission by the Elios was its most successful public use to date but it wasn’t an isolated event. The drone has already been used in the nuclear industry in five countries around the world, and on over 30% of all nuclear plants in the USA.
Its unique collision-tolerant design has opened up new possibilities for inspection and exploration of inaccessible and inhospitable areas and its performance in radioactive environments contribute to more efficient, reliable and safe operation of nuclear plants. The manufacturers are examining other opportunities for the drone such as nuclear asset decommissioning and nuclear used fuel storage management.
Colbey Ryan, business development manager of Exelon PowerLabs, the company which undertook the testing, said that by using drones and other forms of advanced technologies, nuclear plants could operate more efficiently, reliably and safely.
Applications for drone-led inspections have positive implications beyond the nuclear industry.
Sectors like oil & gas, mining, maritime, chemical and power generation are discovering a myriad ways that this Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) can be used to inspect and explore inhospitable and inaccessible areas, even those that have complex and cluttered interiors, which is a major step forward in terms of worker safety and productivity.
Jason De Silveira, Director at Nexxis, a leading provider of technical equipment solutions in Australia, said demand for the Elios Inspection Drone had been exceptional as their customers turned to innovative technologies to solve complex inspection challenges. The Elios is one of many advanced inspection and testing devices in Nexxis’ extensive inventory and for further information on the device or for recommendations and advice, please contact them on 08 9418 4952 or visit nexxis.com.au.
Nexxis are an equipment solutions focused business. We structure our packages to our clients' needs, whether that is lease to own, long term lease, short term rental or sales. We supply specialist remote visual inspection technology, laser alignment solutions, non destructive testing equipment and more.
Jason De Silveira
P: 08 9418 4952