Visual Inspection of PMT Structures using Drones

Engr. Zain Hasnain, Mechanical Engineer

Visual inspection plays a crucial role in ensuring the reliability and safety of the Network in the Power Distribution Company in Pakistan. Traditional inspection methods often involve challenges such as accessibility limitations, time consumption, and safety concerns for personnel. However, with the advent of drone technology, utility DISCOs can adopt a modern and efficient solution to overcome these challenges. Specifically, the inspection for the structures of Pad Mounted Transformers (PMT).

Accessibility, Efficiency, and Safety: Drones offer unparalleled accessibility to PMT structures, accessing even the most challenging and remote locations without the need for personnel to climb ladders or use specialized equipment. It could minimize the human exposure to electrical hazards.

Cost-effectiveness and Environmental Impact: Drone-based inspections can offer significant cost savings for utility companies. By eliminating the need for manual inspections or expensive equipment drones provide a cost-effective alternative for routine inspections of PMT infrastructure. Furthermore, the reduced deployment of Mobile Trucks with Ladders (MTL) for inspections leads to decreased fuel consumption, lower vehicle Maintenance cost.

Paint on PMT Components: Among the widely used best practices, drone spraying/painting technology has declined the need of manual paint on structures as part of the preventive or scheduled maintenance. DISCOs can reduce their shutdown cost on each PMT structure during the maintenance period.

Data Accuracy and Real-time Monitoring: Equipped with high-resolution cameras and sensors, drones can capture detailed imagery and data about the condition of PMT structures. This data not only provides engineers and maintenance teams with accurate information for assessing infrastructure health but also enables real-time monitoring during inspections. Live-streaming capabilities allow for immediate identification of abnormalities or potential issues, facilitating proactive maintenance and risk mitigation.

Conclusion: Visual inspection of PMT structures using drones represents a paradigm shift in maintenance practices for huge utility companies like K-Electric, IESCO, HESCO, etc. Embracing this innovative approach will not only improve operational efficiency but also contribute to a safer and more sustainable future for the utility sector.