Confined Space Drone Inspection of Salcombe’s Vital Link

In late 2022, an inquiry prompted the debut of the Elios 3 Confined Space Drone for inspecting a challenging 6m deep, 1.5m diameter, 700m long tunnel in Salcombe, commissioned by South West Water.

This groundbreaking use of confined space drone inspection set a new precedent in tunnel survey technology. The tunnel posed several challenges given it is situated within a tidal zone, was not deemed safe for human entry and with a fast-flowing channel it was unsuitable for crawler inspection systems.

Case Study in Detail

The tunnel provides a critical drainage link between the town of Salcombe and the downstream pumping station, meaning it is essential for it to perform as designed without interruption. The goal of the survey was to inform the remediation needs of the tunnel going forward.

Thanks to a recent investment by Glanville Geospatial, a solution was available. By deploying the Elios 3 confined space drone we were able to successfully negotiate all the challenges the project presented.

Two access points were available for the survey, one being down a steep cliff path and in a tidal zone. Due to the small footprint of equipment and personnel required for the survey, it was easy to mobilise and collect the necessary data in the window available. As the survey could be conducted from ground level and no human access was required to either of the shafts at the access points, no confined space or rescue teams were required, offering both a significant cost saving and safety enhancement by removing the need for surveyors to enter a hazardous environment. A programme of gas monitoring and ventilation was completed before the commencement of the survey so that risks associated with explosive atmospheres could be mitigated.

Imagery and video data were collected throughout the tunnel and access shafts, the Elios 3 drone navigated numerous obstructions collecting a wealth of information that would not have been possible to collect by other means.

Thanks to the seamless interface between Elios data and WINCAN reporting software, the survey results could be delivered in an industry-standard format utilising 3D data from the drone to imprint chainage over the video footage.

"Through Glanville Geospatial's innovative use of the Elios 3 confined space drone, we witnessed an exceptional level of detail in the footage and survey results. The defects uncovered were previously only accessible through risky man entry. This groundbreaking approach has redefined our understanding of tunnel inspection and safety, setting a new standard in the industry." - James Hunt, South West Water

By staying at the front of the innovation curve and investing in the latest technology, Glanville Geospatial has again been able to provide its customers with significant cost savings and establish major advances in safety whilst delivering better project outcomes.

Contact us for Confined Space Drone Inspection services.

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