UAVs help assess corrosion effects on transmission towers


UAVs help assess corrosion effects on transmission towers

A case study on condition assessment of transmission towers using unmanned aerial systems (UAVs) will be presented by LineTech Consulting at the upcoming NZ Coatings & Corrosion Conference & Exhibition, to be held at the Ellerslie Events Centre on July 29 and 30.

Historically, transmission towers were only climbed to repair or replace hardware or light members. In recent years, formal condition assessment programmes have been introduced, whereby towers are climbed and inspected on an eight-yearly cycle. This increased the amount of tower climbing considerably but it was not until tower painting of the galvanized lattice steel towers started in earnest in the mid-1990s that the numbers of workers on towers grew enormously.

The tower painting process includes a number of climbing operations including the initial assessment for painting, a number of quality assurance inspections, a final practical completion inspection and future defect liability inspections. Some of these inspections could be carried out using unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs).

Unmanned aerial vehicles or drones have been developing in the last few years at an exponential rate. There is a large number of helicopter type UAVs in operation around the world, and the use of these unmanned aerial systems/platforms is becoming an accepted tool in a number of industries, including the transmission and distribution lines area and within Government branches like the Defence Force and Civil Defence.

The New Zealand Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) is looking for robust operations and management systems in place with regards to utilising UAVs.

To register for the free Expo or to book a place on the conference, please go to