Inspection of Critical Infrastructure
From global pandemics to extreme weather, maintaining Critical Infrastructure has become an increased national focus. It can be defined as ‘those facilities, systems, sites, information, people, networks and processes necessary for a country to function and upon which daily life depends’.
Key workers across the country continue to work tirelessly to protect crucial sectors, adapting to new challenges in order to ensure the continued availability, delivery and integrity of their essential services.
The sectors below are the most aligned with today’s topic, having high-value assets and sites in need of ongoing inspection.
Oil & Gas sector, where ageing onshore and offshore assets need to continue to produce, store, refine and distribute products.
Renewables sector, where structures such as wind turbines require ongoing inspection & maintenance, or the;
Utility sector, where electric power generation, transmission, and distribution are necessary to serve the public with a continuous supply of power to their homes.
Wind Turbine Inspection
Wind farm operators have a need to inspect wind turbines and their blades on a regular basis. Throughout their lifetime blades will show signs of wear and structural fatigue and inspections are crucial in order to identify any defects, correctly categorise these, instruct any repairs and allow the operator to maintain the operating efficiency and integrity of the blades. In most cases a visual inspection is the primary method for completing these assessments, with drones and robotics becoming an ever more favoured solution for management of this infrastructure.
Offshore Oil & Gas Asset Inspection
With the majority of offshore oil & gas assets in UK waters operating in late life or life extension phases there is a significant focus on inspection. Assurance, integrity and maintenance are just some of the teams who rely on the data to ensure the assets can continue to operate safely. These structures are complex and have many systems and critical items which all need to be regularly assessed to determine their condition.
When coupled with the current pressures in the world economy and uncertainty related to a global pandemic, it is clear to see how technology, including a movement towards digital twins, autonomous robotics and IOT, will help reduce costs, reduce people onsite and maximise the economics of this sector.
These are only two brief examples of applications of inspection for Critical Infrastructure, there are many requirements, and for each requirement there are many solutions. As technology has developed over recent years, a drive for more efficient inspection has been possible. Systems such as drones, remote access crawlers and more advanced robotics have begun to generate efficiencies and most importantly, keep people safe, in some of the more dangerous environments which often accompany Critical Infrastructure.
Over the course of this year we look forward to sharing our next steps in the Innovair growth journey, expanding our Specialist Inspection Solutions capabilities across the Energy sectors. Follow us on LinkedIn to keep up to date on our range of innovative solutions.