Bringing drone inspection to industrial areas in UAE


Sky-Futures has completed one of the first inspections at an MOD controlled site by drone for a major steel production company onshore in Abu Dhabi, UAE.

Using Sky-Futures proven procedural documentation, Pilot certification, UAV specifications and flight planning; approval was given for one of the first uses of a drone to provide inspection services in the industrial sector. The inspection was completed with the permission of the government, with formal approval from Department of Transport (DOT) and General Civil Aviation Authority (including GHQ security clearance).

Sky-Futures team of trained remote pilots and engineers had to inspect two live flares within a limited shutdown window, without affecting other planned maintenance activities. Due to the speed and efficiency of Sky-Futures inspection team, the inspection of the flares were completed within hours of arrival at both sites over the course of two days and did not impact other maintenance activities. It’s estimated that the inspection saved a minimum of 5 days shutdown at each plant, which not only saved money, but also energy during cool down and re-start of furnaces, as part of Emirates Steels ongoing Green Initiatives and Energy Conservation programmes.

Following the inspection, HD imagery and video data collected was reviewed by Sky-Futures Flare and structural Engineers before being delivered to the client through Sky-Futures proprietary data platform. Emirates Steel, the only integrated steel plant in the UAE, is one of the first clients to receive the inspection report in the latest software viewing portal, enabling easy access to both engineering assessment details, as well as still and video imagery at the click of a button. This also facilitates comparison to future inspections, providing clients with a useful tool as part of a wider Risk Based Inspection strategy.

James Harrison, Co-founder and CEO, Sky-Futures, said: “This work means that Sky-Futures have now completed drone based inspections for clients across four separate continents in the last two months; USA, Europe, Southeast Asia and, now the Middle East. This latest achievement is testament to Sky-Futures leading operational efficiency and safety approach, and demonstrates the value of working closely with our clients and local authorities to perform inspections which increase safety and save our client’s money.’’

Nigel Baxter, business development director Middle East, Sky-Futures, added: “Typically the Flare is the last item to be taken into shutdown and has to be available for the start-up, historically this has meant that these flares had not been inspected since the plants start-up 6 years ago. Inspections by drone now enable the client to plan a safer and more detailed repair program and better understand their integrity and maintenance risks, without shutdown. Sky-Futures is proud to be leading the way in applying drones for positive applications for our Middle Eastern clients by working closely with government departments to deliver this work within the countries regulatory frame work including Air safety, Licensing and Security.’’ Source: Pipeline Mag