Commercial drones have revolutionised the way that many industries now operate by making once dangerous or labour intensive work much safer, more efficient and better informed through dramatically improved data collection. Mincka, and our team of asset integrity consultants, have been using drones in our engineering consulting work for several years, and our clients have enjoyed having this advanced technology at their disposal. Although many advanced industries stand to benefit from the use of drone technology, perhaps the mining industry stands to gain the most.
Commercial drones provide several key advantages that many in the industry could scarcely have imagined just a few short years ago. Australia was one of the first countries to regulate commercial drone use in 2002, before the market or the technology had matured. By 2012 the drone industry really began to take flight globally and is anticipated to become a US$41.3 billion market by 2026.
Mincka has employed drones to overcome the challenges related to working at height requirements, in particular for visual inspection, which eliminates this risk and eliminates the need for the use of equipment like an elevating work platform (EWP), man cage, or scaffolding. Because mining is an industry that places such a high value on keeping staff out of harm’s way, this represents a huge leap forward for safety standards. It also keeps project costs down and reduces time to completion, which means more uptime and consistency.
Drones can also be used to survey large areas onsite, maintaining records of where materials are located and remotely logging project updates. More recently, drone technology is being used to assist with planning work with aerial 3D mapping and capture of topographic data. This makes it easier and more cost effective to identify potential drilling sites and areas that can be used for equipment storage.
As drone technology continues to evolve, we anticipate seeing a wider range of sensor equipment incorporated at the hardware level, and the continued evolution of artificial intelligence capabilities at the software level. Together, these developments will revolutionise many of the existing processes and projects within mining and other advanced industries. And, as one of the most innovative and disruptive new technologies at our disposal, we at Mincka have our finger on the pulse of drone technology. Afterall, disruptive innovation is what we do!
Drones offer the potential for companies to reimagine the way they operate, reduce costs, and keep their staff safer. Not to mention, providing a massive reduction in project costs and time to completion. If these are priorities for your business, get in touch with Mincka today to find out how we can provide you with innovation for the long term. Use the contact form below and one of our team member will be in touch within 24-48 hours.