Swiss energy company keeps employees safe using the Elios 2 in treacherous mountain pass

Employees at a Swiss energy supply company used the Elios 2 to keep employees safe during a pit inspection in Grimsel Pass, Switzerland.

October 14, 2020—A new video highlights the ways personnel at Kraftwerke Oberhasli AG used the Elios 2 to improve safety during the construction of a dam in Grimsel Pass, Switzerland.

Personnel from Swiss energy supply company Kraftwerke Oberhasli AG (KWO) explain how they were able to keep employees out of harm’s way by using Flyability’s Elios 2 to collect visual data while building a new dam.

The dam is being built in Grimsel Pass, Switzerland, an area that crosses the Bernese Alps at an elevation of 1.2 miles (1,900 meters), presenting difficult working conditions. The road that follows the pass is closed from October through May due to the snow and harsh weather it receives, which means that work on the dam can only be completed during the summer months.

As part of the efforts to build the new dam, the KWO team needed to conduct a thorough visual inspection of a deep pit before installing an elevator in it. Inspectors used the Elios 2 to collect all of the visual data needed to determine whether it was safe to proceed with construction of the elevator.

Without the use of a remote visual inspection tool like the Elios 2, the pit inspection would have been performed manually by lowering inspectors down via rope access or from a crane. Since the drone was able to collect all of the visual data needed to proceed with construction, inspectors were kept out of harm’s way, standing safely outside the pit.

“Today we are continuously looking for new technologies, which will let machines and robots go into dangerous situations and avoid putting human lives at risk,” says Pascal Reber, the Civil Engineering Site Manager at KWO. “The excellent results delivered by Elios 2 will allow us  to plan our next project knowing our crew will be safe.”

The Elios 2 presented a unique solution for the pit inspection because it employs a drone cage, which allows it to collide and continue flying. The design makes it ideal for missions in confined or difficult conditions, such as inside a boiler or pressure vessel, or, as in this case, a pit blasted into the side of a mountain.

In addition to helping keep personnel safe, the Elios 2 helped the KWO team significantly speed up the inspection process and gave them greater flexibility with how the inspection was conducted and how the resulting data could be shared.

“A manual inspection of the pit requires 3-4 people working for an entire week but we were able to do the same amount of work in just two hours with the Elios 2,” says Pascal Reber, the Civil Engineering Site Manager at KWO. “Also, a manual inspection requires starting from the top of the pit and going down step by step. With the drone we can start at the bottom of the pit and fly straight to the area we want to inspect, collecting high quality visual data we can share later with other team members.”

About Kraftwerke Oberhasli AG

Kraftwerke Oberhasli AG KWO is one of the leading hydropower companies in Switzerland. Since it was founded in 1925, the KWO has efficiently produced electricity from renewable energy sources for hundreds of thousands of people in Switzerland and abroad. With 13 hydropower plants and eight storage lakes, the KWO Grimselstrom division produces between 2100 and 2300 gigawatt hours of electrical energy annually. This is CO 2 -free band and peak flow. In addition, the KWO ensures a safe and reliable power supply with energy production and grid control. As a service provider for the electricity industry, KWO helps prevent network breakdowns and thus potentially serious economic damage in Switzerland and Europe.

About Flyability

Flyability is a Swiss company building solutions for the inspection and exploration of indoor, inaccessible, and confined spaces. By allowing drones to be used safely inside buildings, it enables industrial companies and inspection professionals to reduce downtime, inspection costs, and risks to workers. With hundreds of customers in over 50 countries in Power Generation, Oil & Gas, Chemicals, Maritime, Infrastructures & Utilities, and Public Safety, Flyability has pioneered and continues to lead the innovation in the commercial indoor drone space.

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