The data analyses for a pilot project performed for the Romanian company Distributie Oltenia have been completed and provided to the client by, the aerial power line inspection company, Laserpas. This project was especially important for both Laserpas and Distributie Oltenia due to the number of high voltage tower defects found. The inspection revealed 32 defects to transmission towers in the inspected area. This information will be utilized by Distributie Oltenia to prevent outages or other issues and provided Laserpas with a unique opportunity to perfect methods and skill sets for these types of structures.
During the demonstration project, Laserpas inspected more than 12 kilometers and 203 towers on medium voltage (MV) power lines, and more than 43 kilometers and 188 towers on high voltage (HV) power lines. Even though the project was small in size, it was conducted to show that airborne inspections can be used to replace manual inspections, not only supplement them. Distributie Oltenia provided Laserpas with their inspection manuals, and Laserpas was tasked with performing a full detailed inspection of every component of assets, including challenging elements such as earthing connectors, diagonals, anchors, foundations, isolators, and 26 other types of defects.
Some of the most essential data collected concerned differently-sized ring components being combined on the same isolators, completely missing isolators, and isolators that were suffering damage from being either cracked or burned. Inspection of the towers showed towers with incorrect coordinates entered, vegetation covering the bottom of towers, earth-covered or corroded foundations, and towers with more than 5 degrees of deviation from the vertical position. The project revealed electric poles requiring coordinate corrections, and trees at risk of falling and breaking lines. Both emergent and dangerous vegetation were discovered when risks were analyzed according to two and three dimension measurements. Water collection areas (causing a high risk of soil erosion) being too close to the power lines also caused places to be identified as dangerous. A line sag profile was created by conducting simulations on both the MV and HV under normal temperatures, 35 degrees Celsius, and 70 degrees Celsius. The profile produced results showing that obstructions such as buildings, roads, water, and other power lines were present, as well as violations of the ground clearance limit. “Laserpas is well-pleased to report that this project was completed on time and proved to be quite beneficial to us in terms of improving our ability to detect tower and slope defects. This project demonstrated our new capabilities and showed that airborne inspections are not only faster and more reliable but can also identify even the smallest defects in a controlled and quantifiable manner” − quotes Laserpas CEO Mantas Vaskela.
Iulian Bogdan the Senior Planning Engineer for Distributie Oltenia had the following comments on the project: “This pilot project has been very useful to us. The results allowed us to find problems in the distribution grid before they generated negative effects on the network or for consumers.
The received line sag profile help us identify potential problems that may occur at different temperatures. The results obtained have very high resolution and accuracy.The inspection was a quick and efficient solution for remote network analysis.”