Elios 2 Tested 15 Times by RoNik Inspectioneering, Approved as a Formal Inspection Tool

RoNik Inspectioneering wanted to thoroughly test Flyability's new drone, the Elios 2, to see what it could do to support indoor inspections. RoNik personnel flew the Elios 2 in 15 different test flights and found that it did so well it could be used as a formal inspection tool.

Download PDF

INTRODUCTION

RoNik Inspectioneering is an inspection services company based in the Netherlands that specializes in using robotics for various inspection-related tasks.

With over 200 missions flown using the Elios 1, Flyability’s collision-tolerant drone designed for inspections in tight spaces, RoNik’s team has in-depth experience with what the Elios can do to support indoor inspections.

When the RoNik team learned of the upcoming release of the Elios 2 they wanted to test it for themselves to see what improvements had been made, and what it might be able to do.

Here is what they learned.

Elios 2 Drone Fully Replaces Manual Inspection

In order to thoroughly test the Elios 2, Steven Verver, Founder of RoNik Inspectioneering, decided to use it in fifteen different test scenarios, each with its own unique goal.

The outcome? Not only did the Elios 2 perform far beyond any expectations Verver had, it opened up new use cases for drones in indoor inspections scenarios. Some of these new use cases include the inspection of chimneys and pipelines, which require the ability to proceed in a methodic, stable manner from one point to the next.

RoNik—Elios 2_Inspection image 1

Picture from an Elios 2 Inspection of a Stack

Throughout all fifteen tests, the Elios 2 impressed the RoNik team for its stability, its ease of use, its ability to keep the same distance from the object being inspected while in flight (called “distance lock”), the high quality of the images it captured, and its oblique lighting, which allows inspectors to see the full depth and dimensions of an asset. (All of these features are covered in more detail in the following section of this article.)

“The Elios 2 is safer, quicker, less complex to fly, and it can shorten the time of the turnaround.”

- Marien van den Hoek, Sales and Marketing Director for RoNik Inspectioneering

While the Elios 1 could provide very useful information, the RoNik team had found they occasionally needed to corroborate the Elios 1’s data with data collected manually. So, in addition to testing all of its features, RoNik personnel wanted to see if the Elios 2 could completely get rid of the need for manual data collection during an inspection.

Here are the questions they asked during testing, and the conclusions they found:

  • Can the Elios 2 be used for an official API510 inspection (i.e., an inspection of a pressure vessel witnessed by a third party inspection entity)? Conclusion: YES.
  • Can the Elios 2 fully replace manual inspection efforts for a traditional tank inspection? Conclusion: YES.
  • Can the Elios 2 be used to inspect a large boiler (50 meters / 164 feet in depth)? Conclusion: YES.
  • Can the Elios 2 be used to inspect a complicated, repeating series of small assets without missing a single one (300 burners were inspected in a burner complex in Antwerp)? Conclusion: YES.

Through all of these tests the Elios 2 was found to be one of the best robotic solutions for inspections that the RoNik Inspectioneering team had ever used, and was able to fully replace manual data collection in each instance in which it was tested.

Get a free business case assessment from one of our experts.

The Elios 2 as a Formal Inspection Tool

RoNik Inspectioneering thoroughly tested the Elios 2 to see if it could be used to completely replace manual inspections, even when those inspections needed to be formally observed and officially approved by a third party inspection entity (as with the API510 pressure vessel inspection).

During these tests, representatives from two different official inspection bodies approved the Elios 2 as a formal inspection tool.

What is a formal inspection tool?

For the inspection of dangerous assets, such as pressure vessels, which could kill people if they exploded due to poor maintenance, most countries have legal requirements on how the asset must be inspected to ensure certain standards are met.

Many of these requirements are internationally recognized, and often include the presence of an official representative of a formal inspection body during the inspection as well as the use of designated formal inspection tools.

Representatives of formal inspection bodies are often wary of using drones or any kind of camera for inspections, and can be hesitant to approve these types of technology as formal inspection tools. The reason for their reluctance about approving the use of cameras attached to drones or other robots for inspections is that they usually can’t provide full coverage of an asset in an organized, methodical manner, and they usually don’t come equipped with lighting that will allow the inspector to see the full texture and depth of each feature of an object.

For example, while many drones can fly into a boiler and provide key visual data, they cannot stabilize in a way that allows the capture of complete, object-by-object visual data of the entire asset.

Also, no other drones have the right lighting to allow someone watching a live feed of an inspection to see the true depth of different parts of the object being inspected, as the naked eye would when an inspector on-site moves a flashlight to different angles in order to examine different details.

RoNik—Elios 2_Inspection image 2

One of 300 Burners

The Elios 2 solves each of these problems, allowing an inspector watching a live feed to get full, methodical coverage of the entire asset, and to see each object within an asset in-depth through the use of a new oblique lighting feature.

Here are the different features the RoNik Inspectioneering team tested on the Elios 2, which help make it a powerful tool for formal inspections:

  • Stabilization. A new stabilizing feature allows the Elios 2 to get full, complete coverage of an asset, following a single weld its entire length or covering the entire side of a wall, inch by inch.
  • Distance Lock. This feature, coupled with stabilization, allows the Elios 2 to maintain the same exact distance from an asset while in flight, ensuring that the measurements taken are accurate and can be recorded and revisited later.
  • Improved Lighting. The Elios 2 comes with oblique lighting, which ensures that the live feed provided to inspectors shows the texture and depth of the objects being inspected, a feature that is crucial for accurate inspections. Its lights provide 10,000 Lumens, making it much brighter and therefore easier to see inside assets.
  • Improved Image Quality. The camera in the Elios 2 has been upgraded to 4K so that you can see the tiniest cracks and fissures in an asset, as well as providing HD live streaming and a range of 180 degrees to allow for full coverage of the object being inspected. In addition, the Elios 2’s camera is situated outside of the drone’s protective cage, which makes for a clearer view.

All of these features combined led representatives from formal inspection bodies Bureau Veritas and Lloyds Inspection Agency to approve the Elios 2 as a formal inspection tool.

To our knowledge, this is the very first time a drone has been approved as a formal inspection tool by a formal inspection body.

RoNik—Elios 2_Inspection image 3

Conclusion

After all of their extensive testing, RoNik Inspectioneering found that the Elios 2 is the single best drone for indoor inspections currently on the market.

No other drone that exists has been approved as a formal inspection tool, and according to RoNik Inspectioneering founder Steven Verver, it’s unlikely that any will be in the foreseeable future.

Get a free business case assessment from one of our experts.

 

SEE ALSO

Power Generation Infrastructure & Utilities

Valmet, a top provider of industrial technologies and services for the pulp, paper, and energy industries, used Flyability’s Elios drone to inspect a […]

Mining

The use of drones in the mining industry is quite popular for mapping open pits but when it comes to exploring underground, flying drones is a true […]

Infrastructure & Utilities

West Edmonton Mall in Edmonton, Canada is not only the largest shopping center in North America, it also contains the largest indoor waterpark in North […]

Public Safety

A severe fire broke out at the Liverpool Echo Arena Multi Story Car Park on 31st December 2017. Once the fire was under control and extinguished, public […]

Public Safety

With increasing international exchanges, we can see more and more fairs and exhibitions popping up around the world. How to quickly and efficiently check […]

Maritime

Every ship on the ocean needs a class survey to travel – and that means frequent inspections. It’s a big job, and one that requires significant time and […]

Power Generation

Elios was used to complete the inspection of a gas turbine stack at a major energy facility – saving thousands of euros and days of time.

Infrastructure & Utilities Sewer

Elios was used to complete the inspection of a damaged section of sewer infrastructure in Barcelona, Spain.

Food & Brevage

Elios was used to complete a complex indoor ceiling inspection over the factory floor in the Pilsner Urquell brewery, in less than half the time of […]

Mining

Elios is used for mine facility and equipment inspections in Copper mines of Northern Chile, flying in the dangerous and confined areas around mining […]

Infrastructure & Utilities

Elios is used for bridge inspections in Minnesota, USA, navigating the difficult to reach spaces under bridges between beams and inside of box girders. […]

Mining

Flyability’s collision tolerant Elios drone has performed multiple missions in the North American Palladium (NAP) Lac des Iles mine near Thunder Bay, […]

Power Generation

Flyability’s collision-tolerant Elios UAV has been used at a major nuclear power plant, proving the case for Elios in the normally inaccessible spaces of […]

Infrastructure & Utilities

The jet engine test beds used in the aeronautical industry for Quality Control and R&D require strict maintenance. Traditional methods of inspection […]

Maritime

CMA CGM required the internal inspection of a ballast tank of one of its container ships, the CMA CGM ANDROMEDA. Flying in complex and pitch-dark confined […]

Chemicals

Pulp, which is the raw material used in the manufacture of paper, is prepared by chemically or mechanically separating cellulose fibers from wood, fiber […]

Chemicals

Novozymes, a world leader in biological solutions, is looking for solutions improving the quality of its infrastructure’s maintenance process while […]

Oil & Gas Chemicals

TAU AG, an asset manager in charge of a tank farm in Muttenz Switzerland for the BP and Avia oil companies, required the internal inspection of […]

Power Generation

Ronik Inspectioneering, a Dutch inspection company, together with Flyability performed the general visual inspection of the boiler of a coal-fired power […]

Oil & Gas Chemicals

A prevalent tool in energy production and storage are pressure vessels, which hold gases and liquids at high pressures. Vessels are subject to regular […]