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Case studies

Case study

Send in the drones

Drones are providing innovative solutions throughout Downer – and they’re often quicker, cheaper and safer solutions than traditional methods.

Downer’s Utilities business has pioneered the use of drones in an award-winning initiative for customer Queensland Urban Utilities (QUU).

Part of our service for QUU at their Oxley Creek Sewage Treatment Plant is to conduct internal inspections for engineering evaluation of their Dewatered Waste Activates Sludge (DWAS) bin.

This has previously required scaffolding, shutdown of operations and the deployment of a confined space team.

Downer initiated the use of a small, crash-proof drone to capture high resolution images of structural elements within the bin. A structural engineer directs the drone to points of interest to make technical assessments in real time, and a flight plan has been recorded so the drone inspection can be repeated, and images can be compared to monitor changes.

The task that previously took weeks can now be completed in just two hours. More importantly, the use of drones improves the safety of our people, with no one required to enter the confined space. There was also no requirement for expensive scaffolding and down time of the asset was kept to a minimum.

“As a result, our customer has saved money and we have been able to deliver the work in a quicker and a significantly safer way,” Downer’s General Manager – Water Services, Chris Yeats, said. “This culture of continuous improvement, innovation and partnering with our customer to deliver safer and better outcomes is a key plank of our success.”

This year Downer received a safety award from QUU in recognition of our commitment to demonstrating Downer’s and QUU’s safety values.