Understanding the Role of Drones in Panel Tank Inspections per NFPA Recommendations

It’s no secret that aerial inspections are superior to manual inspections for collecting accurate location data. Many oil and gas, energy, and resource companies now offer drone inspection services, often as part of their comprehensive inspection package.

It is amazing how much work drones can do when it comes to panel inspections. The sensors allow detailed assessments to be made, and specialized drones are tolerant of collision, keeping the tank and its pipes intact.

For many years, drones have been part of providing aid and assistance. As a multipurpose innovation, they can be used in many types of facilities, including agriculture, search and rescue, surveillance, inspections, and firefighting. 

The Superiority of Drones for Inspections 

1. Inspecting tanks externally with drones reduces risks. 

No need to send inspectors to work at height or wait for scaffolding to be erected outside. Easy and efficient! Drones may be small, but it has enormous potential, giving service providers and owners the benefits of lesser work yet more coverage. 

2. They can go beyond the Visual Line of Sight (BVLOS) line.

Due to a drone’s ability to view internal surfaces and structures from all corners, they are superior for inspections! Images and videos are recorded by high-definition cameras that can be wholly prone and rotated to guarantee views even in the most challenging areas to access.

3. Drones provide more than just images. 

Drones allow the inspector to look closely at any relevant areas requiring maintenance. Besides visual inspections, drones can carry different sensors to perform various checks. For example, some companies use thermal imaging drones to measure temperatures remotely, analyze thermal issues, and detect gas and liquid leaks and thermal anomalies.

Using Drones for Panel and Tank Inspections According to NFPA Standards

For decades, NFPA has provided in-depth minimum standards for fire and life and safety. The Role of NFPA 25 for fire protection systems is to provide information across the globe. The codes and standards NFPA provides aim to prioritize public safety for any activities related to fire security and protection. 

Drones are not made equally, so you must adhere to the known and trusted standard providers. NFPA ensures the quality of inspections and maintenance. Also, remember to check it with your local state regulations! 

NFPA 2400 conveys standards for Small Unmanned Aircraft Systems (sUAS) used for Public Safety and operations. This standard ensures public safety, providing minimum requirements for safe sUAS operations. The following are some general conditions:

  • Digital Media Evidence – Recording images, sounds, or evidence using drones or UAS must be stored or transmitted in binary form. 
  • Remote Pilot in Command (RPIC) – The person who operates and controls drones used for industrial panel tanks inspections and alike must be qualified and authorized to have complete responsibility for adhering to the safety operations determined by the AHJ. It is also imperative to undergo prior training before deployment.              
  • UAS operations must follow specifications and limitations according to their manufacturer.
  • Maintenance for UAS must be continuous to ensure airworthiness. UAS maintenance must include documentation for battery storage, charging disposal, and emergency procedures. 

NFPA 915 also contains requirements for remote inspections, including drones and aerial and underwater ROV inspections that have better results than traditional methods. The scope of this standard includes the following:

  • Using aerial drones and other UAS equipment can inspect remote or narrow locations. It is best for tank inspections and is less time-consuming.
  • Contents used for reports must only be real-time.  
  • All transmissions and operations must be verified and acknowledged by the AHJ. 

NFPA understands that drones are helpful for inspections, maintenance, safety, and life-saving assistance capabilities! Thankfully, as this innovation has become extraordinarily beneficial, NFPA releases public safety drone program to ensure proper information, knowledge, and skills for this operation. 

Get the Tank Inspection Services You Need from American Tanks!

Inspections and maintenance are a big deal when you are a tank owner, but that doesn’t mean they should stress you out. So when it comes to these matters, only trust American Tanks, the leading water tank service company in the US. 

We keep up with various innovations and standards, so you can be confident that we’re offering you only quality services. With American Tanks, you are in the right hands! We provide state-of-the-art unmanned aerial vehicle tank inspection services to improve assessment efficiency and increase safety in virtually every area of tank inspection today. Contact us today for more information about our UAV Underwater Drone Inspection Service!

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