The RIT is to be done on the structure of ships and mobile offshore units via unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) and attending surveyors for close-up inspection.
“We are pleased that we are the first Singapore based drone company to go through LR qualification process and obtain this certification,” commented Zhang Weiliang, founder at Avetics Global.
“We have been spending more than three years enhancing our drone techniques for use in a ship’s confine space. Our next step is to use software to enhance usefulness of the images and make it available to shipowners instantly,” Zhang said.
Singapore is one of the world’s busiest shipping hub, and the availability of drone survey will enable shipowners in Singapore waters to get close-up survey done without a need for docking.
In a recent project involving inspection of a few ore carriers over 200,000 dwt, Avetics Global said it was able to inspect the transverse frames of all water ballast tanks and void spaces for signs of cracks, structural deformation, coating breakdown and corrosion with attending class surveyor in just 14 days. The cost savings can be as high as 90% compared to traditional method of dry docking and erecting scaffolding.
However, obstacles still remain as drones are limited to visual inspection. One of the requirements for class survey is thickness measurement which has to be done manually.
“We looked at a few thickness measurement technology but none of them is up to our standards in terms of reliability of results when used with a drone,” Zhang said.
“We will continue to monitor development of thickness measurement technologies and integrate it to a drone at the appropriate time,” he added.
With improvement to drone autonomy and sensor technologies, Avetics Global is aiming to completely remove the need for human entry into a ship’s confine space in five years’ time.