In many regions of Norway, access to power lines is difficult, so helicopters are often deployed to inspect the grid. But power utilities are increasingly becoming aware of the potential of drone-based inspections as a cost-effective and powerful method of obtaining data about the condition of the grid – especially when the software to store, share and analyse the images already exists. Skånevik Ølen Kraftlag is one of the first power suppliers to test the concept in Norway along with drone operators Funtek – and the results are looking good!
Funtek is a Norwegian drone operating company, offering drone-based inspections of
powerlines, wind turbines and other critical infrastructure. To store and analyse the vast
amounts of data generated by drone inspections, Funtek are using software developed
by Scopito, a Danish specialist IT developer focusing on making infrastructure inspections much more effective in terms of time and cost.
Torstein Funderud, co-owner and founder of Funtek, explains: “We have been building
and flying drones for nearly a decade, and with the fast-evolving technology
development in this segment it became clear for us that this equipment can be applied
to industrial inspections.
We started out doing small test inspections and developing procedures and equipment
specifically for this, and after some time we needed more specific input from the
potential client base to further develop the concept. So I contacted our local power
utility Skånevik Ølen Kraftlag and proposed the idea of doing test runs on their power
lines and they accepted.
We chose two lines with varied topography, to test the limitations of both the inspection
procedures and the actual limitations of the equipment. And we decided to use Scopito’s
software to store and tag all the many images that come from a single inspection run.”
Results indicate cheaper, more efficient power line inspections
Skånevik Ølen Kraftlag’s grid manager Jan Erik Fedje is happy with the results from the
“We have carried out two test runs using drones to inspect power lines running along the
fjords and in the mountains; so, in challenging topographies. Although we have not yet
analysed the data in great detail, we think that drone inspections and the software
solution connected to them are really promising as an alternative to helicopter
inspections – we also expect to find that using drones is much cheaper and more flexible
than conventional inspection runs.”
Skånevik Ølen Kraftlag has also called upon Funtek to carry out inspections to detect and
identify specific faults on the grid, when helicopters could not take off due to high
winds. “Funtek responded and found the fault very quickly with their drone services, so
we will definitely turn to this solution again in the future,” says Jan Erik Fedje.
Full software integration with Powel
Funtek is working closely with their own software developers and suppliers Powel and
Scopito to make sure inspection data in Scopito integrates well with the customers’
existing Powel platform. Powel’s solutions are currently being used by both Danish and
Norwegian utility companies to manage power lines and power line infrastructure.
“Scopito’s software is just perfect for this type of work,” Torstein Funderud says.
“Before I found it, I had ideas of developing a system like it for our own use – but
Scopito just does the job brilliantly. What’s more, when we can cross-reference our data
with the information in Powel’s power grid management system and present and analyse
it in Scopito, you have a complete solution.”
“In Powel’s power grid management system the clients can easily export GPS and name
information for the lines they want to do an inspection on. We merge this information with
the captured inspection data so that when the customer gets the result of the inspection
there is a direct correlation to their own maintenance system. This means that if the
customers want inspection data for a mast in their system, they can simply type in their
own mast “name” or identifier in Scopito and the images for that specific mast will
We also use the data from Powel’s power grid management system to plan our drone
inspections, and ensure that when an inspection job is done we do actually have data
from all of the masts on that line – and no data is missing. This adds confidence since we
can actually verify that the inspection that is carried out is complete.
In practical terms, this means that the utility company can save enormous amounts of
money normally spent on helicopter-based inspections, and downtime and costly repairs
can be foreseen – or entirely avoided – with extreme precision.
Image: Exported data from Powel is used to plan inspections in 3D prior to going in the
Exciting possibilities when integrating Scopito with Powel software
For utility companies already using the many different software solutions developed by
Powel, the possibility of integrating Scopito imaging with Powel opens up a range of new
Kjetil Storset is Executive Vice President at Powel AS and is in charge of Powel’s
development of smart infrastructure solutions. He sees great potential for power
companies and infrastructure owners in combining Scopito’s imaging software with
Powel’s management solutions:
“When operators can integrate the data in Powel’s software with the image management
in Scopito, the possibilities really open up. In our software, utility companies can have
specific data on every single mast in the power grid, every single insulator and every
other piece of equipment in the critical infrastructure. The Scopito software can share
and visualize every single image taken, so that we have full knowledge of the exact
position, altitude, time etc. of each image. Pair this with the data stored in our systems,
and the utility company can now pinpoint the condition of every single mast and find the
information in a matter of minutes.”
Ken Falk, CEO
Agro Food Park 13, DK-8200 Aarhus N, Denmark
Telephone: +45 71 99 29 03
Email: [email protected]