Case Study: Overcoming HD Towers Inspection Challenges with Zenith
Challenging inspection tasks are commonplace in many industries. Solutions often require bespoke solutions or a combination of readily available and customisable tools to adequately address.
The following looks at a particularly interesting case where the customer was seeking both cost efficiency and increased safety for the NDT of HD towers.
Global pulp and paper company, Sappi, had long used traditional methods for inspecting their HD towers. This involved the erection of scaffolding and human entry to carry out a visual inspection.
There were 5 HD towers in total. The scaffolding task alone took multiple days to be constructed and deconstructed. Human entry required suitably trained inspectors working at height, so presenting a risk to life and necessitating adequate insurance.
The customer had done their homework and was interested in utilising the Zenith, a stabilised camera system created by Interactive Ariel.
During the pre-inspection service, Interactive Ariel’s team determined the following:
- The towers represented significant work at height within a confined space
- Removing the need for scaffolding and human entry was essential to reduce time and costs, as well as dramatically improving the safety risk.
- The inspection required both 4K video and HD images to adequately provide enough data for a comprehensive preventative maintenance inspection.
Thanks to there being adequate space to work at the top of each tower, it was determined that the assignment would be ideally suited to the use of the Zenith, a stabilised camera inspection system.
It was vital that the images were of a high enough quality to be able to visualise any loss of grout or spalling within each tower. The unit features 4K video capability and 18MP photos with a 30x optical zoom. By setting up the Zenith at the top of each tower and introducing it into the enclosed space, excellent quality images and video were easily collected, thanks to the full rotational capability of the system.
Zenith offers multiple set-up configurations to overcome difficult access locations. In the case of these HD towers, it was deemed appropriate to deploy the system using its standard configuration – perfectly stabilised and allowed for a smooth, safe operation from a controller located many metres away. By inputting various data, this operation was carried out automatically as Zenith followed a pre-determined programme.
The results were excellent, with the customer keen to utilise the technology for future inspections.
The inspection and collected data provided the following advantages:
- Full preventative maintenance data was captured. The visuals allowed for a true assessment of the grout and any associated spalling within the tiles.
- Dramatically reduced inspection time – all 5 towers were completed in a single day
- Much more cost-effective than traditional manual inspection. Using the Zenith removed the need for scaffolding that typically takes days to assemble and disassemble and costs hundreds of thousands of dollars.
- Far safer for the inspection team with no scaffold entry or rope work necessary.
- Reduced insurance costs as no confined space human entry was needed.
At Nexxis, we pioneer advanced NDT techniques, such as this example. Our unique, customer-centric model means that we partner with the most advanced technical providers in the industry to create both off-the-shelf and bespoke testing solutions to address even the most challenging of inspection needs.