Confined spaces like mine shafts, electrical vaults, storage tanks, boilers, culverts, tunnels, pipes, ducts and drainage shafts are all essential parts of industry that require careful inspection, but they’re not built for continuous occupancy. Confined spaces frequently have low air quality, toxic liquids or gases, limited entry and exit, risky electrical setups, free-flowing liquids or granular solids, and other conditions that make them hazardous to humans.
For too long, industrial companies have faced a difficult choice: expose employees to massive risks by frequently sending them into confined spaces for equipment and infrastructure inspections, or inspect less frequently and risk equipment or infrastructure malfunction that could have deadly consequences.
Further, when a worker is in a confined space completing an inspection, it’s an onerous and time-consuming process, with his or her movements often hindered by the limited space and making it difficult for a thorough inspection to be completed.
All told, confined space inspections are an aspect of industrial operations that has been in desperate need of improvement. Thankfully, that improvement has arrived with the development of automated industrial drones.
A job fit for a drone
Considering that the potential hazards faced by humans in confined space inspections include getting stuck or crushed, running out of oxygen, dealing with extreme temperatures, or being exposed to toxic chemicals and gas, there are few jobs better suited for being taken over by industrial drones, allowing human inspectors to do their work using a high-definition live video stream.
Not only does using industrial drones for this job make the process infinitely safer, but it also makes the process much less expensive by reducing the time it takes for the inspections to be completed, reducing the need for operational downtime, and eliminating the need for specialized equipment for inspections, such as scaffolding, cables and rope access, and breathing aids.
Industrial drones and

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