In partnership with Transport Canada and Mohawk College, we conducted tests at rail bridges across the country, inspected docked ferries at the Port of Saint John, and even braved freezing temperatures in Churchill, Manitoba, where our drone conducted its first tests below -30C.
What is the Skygauge Inspection Drone?
Our drone inspects tall assets like storage tanks, chimneys, and ship cargo holds using ultrasound. The same way a doctor diagnoses the health of people, the Skyguage Inspection Drone tests the health of industrial structures.
Traditionally, these inspections were done by hand. This means using ropes, scaffolding, or cranes to bring a qualified ultrasonic inspector to the target site. Conditions are dangerous and costs are high.
The process is also slow - a single storage tank can have 40+ inspection points. Inspecting it can take a week or longer.
The Skygauge Inspection Drone can get the same job done in just a day or two. Best of all, inspectors remain safe on the ground, while the drone ascends to height. This makes Skygauge among the first commercially viable NDT drones available on the market today.
What is Non Destructive Inspection
Non-destructive inspection, or non-destructive testing (NDT), is the process of conducting tests on the surface of a material without damaging it. There are several NDT analysis techniques, including ultrasonic testing, phased array testing, magnetic particle testing, and visual inspection.
Most tall assets like pressure vessels, bridges, or radio towers require NDT inspections every 2-5 years. Traditionally, an inspector would have to physically ascend to height and complete the tests at specific points all over the structure.
The Skyguage is a new kind of ultrasonic testing equipment that lets NDT inspectors stay on the ground while performing ultrasonic testing at height.
As you will see from Skyguage’s work with Transport Canada, this technology has use-cases across a variety of industrial sectors from oil and gas infrastructure, to shipping, to renewables.
In future, Skygauge aims to expand this technology to different types of non destructive testing, and to working with different materials.
Our work in Churchill
Skygauge partnered with Mohawk College to deploy our drone in Churchill, Manitoba. Our goal was to test the Skyguage inspection drone's limits in cold weather. Since temperatures in Churchill dropped as low as -37°C during our stay (-50°C with the windchill), it was the perfect place to test our cold weather capabilities.
The drone was able to successfully complete a series of tests on a steel bridge for the Hudson Bay Railway in northern Manitoba, starting at -10°C and working our way down to below -30°C. We also conducted ultrasonic tests on a steel radio tower, and perhaps most interestingly, the vertical stabilizer of Miss Piggy - a C-46 cargo plane that crashed on the outskirts of Churchill in 1979 - to demonstrate our capabilities for aircraft inspection in arctic regions.
If your organization has assets in the Arctic, or wants to run ultrasonic tests in the winter months, don't hesitate to contact us to book a demo flight.
Partnership with the Port of Saint John
The Skygauge team conducted a series of jobs at the Port of Saint John on a variety of test structures. These included nondestructive inspection of storage tanks and steel beams, both painted and unpainted, as well as ultrasonic inspection (internal and external) on the hull of a docked ferry.
This project allowed us to demonstrate the drone's ability to "lock-on" to a moving target, in this case a bobbing ship at sea:
Representatives at the Port of Saint John were particularly interested in our ability to operate in confined spaces, especially with limited mobility and obstacles present. The Skygauge is able to comfortably navigate the internal holds of ships, navigating around steel beams, girders, and other obstacles.
Skyguage completed several bridge inspections at locations around Canada, including railway crossings in Ottawa and London, Ontario. With infrastructure critical to Canada's rail networks beginning to show its age, affordable and effective inspection solutions are crucial to maintaining a safe and reliable rail network going forward.
Skygauge wrapped up our partnership with TC with an exciting double project: inspecting the iconic Hamilton Gas Globe, and getting up close and personal with our very own Theodore Too Tugboat.
The Hamilton Gas Globe is not only a municipal icon, it is a fully operational steel storage tank used by Hamilton Renewable Power Inc. to store methane collected from the Woodward Avenue Wastewater Treatment Plant. This captured methane is then converted into sustainable electricity sold back to the grid.
Our work on the globe was a technology demonstration, where 3 drones operating simultaneously successfully made contact with the historic landmark, taking UT readings from 3 different inspection points at a time. This spectacular flight was the first time Skyguage Robotics operated 3 drones in convoy. The operation was a complete success, and future jobs on large assets can be done even faster with multiple drones operating in tandem - a true workforce in the sky.
With this job complete, Skyguage partnered with Mohawk College to complete a final job, contacting the nose of the Theodore Too Tugboat. This test further demonstrated Skygauge's ability to operate on the water, and showcased our capacity to contact irregular surfaces.
Skygauge Robotics partnered with Transport Canada to push the limits of our drone for non destructive metal testing at height. We successfully conducted non destructive analysis on port infrastructure, including docked ships and storage tanks, in cooperation with the Port of Saint John. We also demonstrated our testing technique on various rail bridges across the country, including in temperatures lower than -30C.
Finally, we wrapped up our partnership with a spectacular 3-drone tandem inspection, conducting a job on the iconic Hamilton Gas Globe and the tugboat Theodore Too.
If you are an NDT inspector, asset owner, or drone services provider, contact us today to learn more about what Skyguage Robotics can do for your company.