Use of drones for business likely to become a common sight

Humber Bank Infrastructure Inspection

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[Editor’s Note: Drones are being used for maintenance, inspections and surveying. Paul Keln of Centrica Energy believes drones are the future and will be used by everyone.]

The use of drones by heavy industries on the Humber bank is likely to become “commonplace” in the years to come.

That is the belief of Neil Williams, head of UAS Resource Group, who delivered a professional drone day at the HCF Catch facility in Stallingborough.

Catch organised the event as part of Biz Week 2016 and invited all of its members to come and see what potential drones might have for their business.

Mr Williams argued that not only will drones become “commonplace”, but those that don’t use them will be in danger of being left behind.

“The Humber Bank has some very large infrastructure and heavy industries, so there is a lot of potential for using these devices,” he said.

“They can be used for maintenance, inspections and surveying – the possibilities are endless really.

“The purpose of today’s visit is to show Catch’s membership what drones can do.”

Catch’s clients were invited in to their state-of-the-art facility to be given a demonstration featuring two drones – one priced at £38,000, the other a more affordable £2,500.

Drones are increasingly being used around the world for offshore rig inspections and building topographic maps.

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Buildings in need of inspection would require scaffolding to be installed, costing the business thousands of pounds.

Mr Williams added: “They would not require scaffolding, which is very costly, or a helicopter which is even more expensive. Plus the drones are equally as good at getting images.

“I’m sure it will become commonplace in the next decade or so. It’s already in use in a lot of industries.

“You see a lot of headlines about drones going up in front of planes and that sort of thing, but what we do is use professional, qualified and licensed pilots who are going into heavy industry.

“It’s not like we’re using toys, these are very expensive pieces of kit.”

He also said, in the medium to long term, drones would be a very effective way of cutting costs.

Paul Keln, of Centrica Energy, was left impressed by the technology.

“I think they have massive potential,” he said. “At the moment we are looking at aerial surveys of pipeworks and things like that, and the savings we’d get just from not having to install scaffolding would be extremely beneficial.”

“I think it’s the future really, it will be used by everyone.”
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