It’s a challenging question: how to inspect the ceiling of a vast production facility, without having to shut it down. Czechoslovakian beer giant Pilsner Urquell found the answer with Flyability’s collision-tolerant Elios drone, designed to navigate difficult spaces. Able to gather good footage while bouncing unharmed off of obstacles, Elios was able to negotiate electrical wiring, sound barriers, sprinklers, and vents to inspect the beams and trusses of the Pilsner Urquell bottling plant.
Building regulations require that the ceiling of the facility be inspected each year, and a detailed inspection be performed every 10 years. Inspecting the 30,000 square meters (nearly 7 and a half acres) plant is no small project. It’s generally performed by 5 workers who climb to the ceiling to perform a visual inspection. This requires scaffolding and a safety net to be constructed for the project. The process takes over a month.
Not only is the work dangerous and time consuming, it is also extremely costly. During inspection, the bottling production must be stopped in the area that is being inspected. While the company doesn’t release exact figures, reducing the production of 60,000 bottles of beer per hour for over 35 days is an expensive proposition.
It was considered a standard business expense – until the team at Drony SITMP, a drone service provider, Flyability reseller and innovation center based in the Czech Republic, met the inspector responsible at Pilsner Urquell while on another mission. She immediately saw the possibilities of using Elios; and the company management was instantly interested in pursuing a method of inspection that didn’t require stopping production, says Ondrej Bouček, drone expert at Drony SITMP. “The drone was exactly the solution for their situation,” he comments.