Wednesday, June 19, 2024
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Falcker and Thread join forces to further automate drone inspections of energy assets

Software developer Falcker has partnered with Thread, the leader of enterprise-scale autonomous data collection for delivering precise inspection insights, with the aim of taking automated inspections of industrial assets to the next level. Thanks to the collaboration, inspection data can be collected more effectively and a foundation is laid for fully remotely controlled inspection flights.

Automated data collection

Falcker is the developer of the Asset Care Platform, a cloud solution that enables inspectors and asset owners to monitor the maintenance condition of their assets over time and to timely detect parts that need maintenance or repair. The system provides access to digitized representations of assets such as storage tanks or wind turbines, which can be viewed from all sides. In addition, it is possible to mark deficiencies and monitor further degradation. The platform is fully cloud-based and can be accessed from anywhere in the world, supporting international collaboration between colleagues and external maintenance companies.

To ensure that the digital representations correspond to reality over time, it is important that the assets are regularly re-inspected, both from the air and from the ground. This not only involves visual recordings, but also thermography and measurements of gas emissions. Only in this way can a complete representation be created. The starting point is that data collection is safer, faster and more accurate than traditional inspection methods. For that reason, Falcker has been focusing on automated data collection by means of drones and robots since its foundation.

Partnership: threefold goal

Falcker’s focus is on the further development of the Asset Care Platform. That is why Falcker started looking for a partner like U.S. based startup Thread. Falcker joins forces with Thread as a software solution for streamlining Falcker’s workflows for industrial inspections with drones and robots. Specifically, Thread’s automated technology platform, UNITI, configures and captures tank modules to support Falcker’s 360-degree workflow and feed data to their SAAS asset management platform.

Thread’s cloud-based autonomous inspection software is created for enterprises like Falcker with extensive experience in the renewable energy, oil and gas, among other industries. The partnership aims to further improve the effectiveness of data collection, without requiring additional competencies from the drone pilot. And looking to the future, the partnership lays a foundation for fully autonomous drone inspections. As part of the partnership, Falcker will act as a value added reseller for Thread.

Flight automation

For Falcker, Thread’s added value lies in the possibility of fully automating drone flights. Each flight plan is parameterized on site by the drone pilot by means of a wizard. This is then uploaded to an edge device that performs the flight and handles fallback situations. The pilot only needs to land and change batteries.

Thanks to LiDAR, the drone can maneuver independently through complex installations and avoid obstacles. The collected data is uploaded to the cloud after the flight. Data transfer by means of memory cards is now a thing of the past. The philosophy is that inspections can be performed more safely, consistently and efficiently by minimizing the number of human actions during the flight.

A DJI M300 with Thread’s Edge module and LiDAR

“Great use case”

“We are excited to be working with Falcker; it’s a great use case and validation of our autonomous inspection and data capture workflow for storage tanks, and partnering with a proven industry leader like Falcker will provide immense business value for the sector” explained Steve Hardy, Sales Director Eastern US and EMEA, Thread.

“Working for companies like Vopak, BP and Sabic, Falcker is a front runner in the application of drones used for asset inspection in harbour and industry. Consistent high quality data acquisition and safety is essential for succes. This goal can only be reached when drones are operated autonomously while monitored by the pilot responsible. We are proud to announce our commitment as value added reseller for Threads edge computing hard- and software platform as we recognize their solution to offer next level flight planning and execution” said Duco Boer, Falcker Innovations B.V.

About Thread

Thread, formerly Airtonomy, is the leading data solution for enterprises looking to streamline and transform critical infrastructure lifecycle management. Leveraging its proprietary, data-driven, and robust platform technology, Thread embeds unmanned aerial systems and robotics with a suite of applications to automate Enterprise inspection workflows and to create the first inspection based digital asset catalog. Digital asset information becomes far more valuable to many stakeholders within the enterprise while also being easier and more efficient to maintain up-to-date information. For more information, visit thread.one.

About Falcker

Falcker Innovations B.V. is a high-tech scale-up with roots in the port of Rotterdam. We are committed to industrial innovations and help developers and companies in the energy sector to design, apply and implement new inspection methods and systems. By integrating high-tech applications with regular inspection systems, we provide maximum insight into the behavior and status of our customers assets. See also falcker.com.

Wiebe de Jager

Wiebe de Jager is the founder of Dronewatch (available in Dutch and English). Wiebe is an experienced drone pilot (EASA Specific category certified) and has published a number of bestselling books about drone photography and cinematography.

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