Aerial Drones are helping to change the way that Visual Testing is carried out in the UK and can perform the vast majority of Non Destructive Testing (NDT) methods required by industry sectors across the country.

A visual inspection (also known as RVI – Remote Visual Inspection) conducted by an aerial drone is more than just some images and video. Our drones use advanced thermal imaging cameras that can detect things the naked eye simply can’t. In the wind sector for example, our thermal imaging can be used to detect delamination on the surface of a wind turbine as well as any separation of composite layers within each blade themselves.

power line ndt inspection
NDT of power lines in remote locations in Scotland

In the oil and gas energy sector, our drones can be equipped to measure flue gas emissions from ships (while we can simultaneously conduce a ship hull visual inspection using our underwater ROV). We can even detect methane gasses in landfills while we conduct stockpile measuring for the construction industry.

Aerial Drone Inspection is changing the way that inspection is carried out. Faster, more cost effective and safer; drone inspection is allowing Energy, Infrastructure, Utilities and Construction sectors a method of inspection that is giving them more options to more effectively manage their day to day business and concentrate on their business operations and management.

What is NDT?

NDT (Non Destructive Testing) is a form of inspection that allows engineers and surveyors to collect data on a structure or asset without damaging it. While Visual Data forms the bedrock of NDT (hence why drone inspection is such a popular inspection method) there are areas of NDT that require equipment that drones cannot currently be equipped with yet are required by some specific sectors.

There are several techniques used for NDT and the collection of data. Some of which can interfere with a drones flying capability (which is why they cannot complete all NDT methods.)

  • Visual NDT
  • Liquid Penetration NDT
  • Ultrasonic NDT
  • Acoustic Emission NDT
  • Radiography NDT
  • Magnetic Particle NDT
  • Eddy Current NDT
ndt inspection of communication tower
Aerial Drone NDT on communication towers in difficult to access islands in the North of Scotland

Where can Remote Visual Inspection (RVI) be used?

  • Bridge Inspection
  • Wind Turbine Inspection
  • Building Inspection
  • Roofing Inspection
  • Pipeline Inspection
  • Power line Inspection
  • Structural Inspection
  • Flare Stack Inspection
  • Confined Spaces Inspection
  • Cooling Tower/Chimney Inspection
  • Storage Tank Inspection

Confined Spaces NDT

Not all NDT requires ‘at height’ inspection. There are many scenarios where visual inspection is required in high risk confined spaces. Sewage tunnels, pipeline, silos and other difficult access locations that often have required an inspection team, equipped with safety gear to put their lives at risk in order to conduct NDT. Confined Spaces Drones, equipped with protective cages and fitted with powerful transmitters are now able to conduct the same high risk confined spaces inspection and reduce the reliance of putting human lives at risk in this environment.

pipeline ndt inspection

The benefits of using drones for NDT

Speed – An aerial drone can cover more ground than a traditional inspection team. From long pipeline inspection for oil & gas sector to radio tower telecommunication structures for the utilities sector. Our drone inspection services can speed up the entire inspection process. And will faster inspection times, we minimise operational downtime – an invaluable benefit for businesses that may need to stop production and manufacturing work for NDT to be carried out.

Safety – So much of the NDT work that drones are required for is at height. Normally this would require a Rope Access Team, Scaffolding or lift platform. All of which present danger to loss of human life. Our confined spaces drone inspection work for example, means that high risk inspection work can be left to the drone rather than having to send an inspection crew access it.

Costs – The ROI of using drones is one of the main benefits to switching from conventional inspection methods. Faster inspection times with a smaller one or two pilot drone team immediately introduce real cost savings over long shut down periods and multiple difficult access inspection teams. Using aerial drone inspection equipment can also reduce insurance costs due to the lower risks during NDT inspection.

building NDT
NDT can be used for so many applications – here one of our drone inspection team is setting up to conduct NDT on a building structure

Find out more

With clear advantages over conventional inspection methods, using aerial drones for Remote Visual Inspection is now the go to option for so many businesses in the Oil & Gas, Wind, Infrastructure and Utilities Sectors.

To find out more about how our NDT drone inspection work can benefit your business, please contact our head office today by calling 0141 370 4037 or emailing info@balmore-ltd.co.uk

Covering all of Scotland and the North of England, we have become one of the leading drone inspection companies in the country and our multiple award winning service has seen us establish strong working relationships with clients who have turned to drone inspection after many years of conventional inspection methods and will not go back.