Aeromedia Chile, a subsidiary of the multinational im3 and Aeromedia UAV, will start working on the drone inspection of the LAT 220 kV Sarco-Maitencillo transmission line, in the province of Huasco.
Work on the 220 kV transmission line will be carried out in six inspections during one year. The location of the actions is in a very complex orography, as the access by foot to the structure is extremely difficult. That is why the line inspections will be supported by new technologies, through a system of RPAS (Remotely Piloted Aircraft). This is an aircraft that flies without a crew, commonly known as a drone, providing the inspections of electrical transmission lines with greater detail in terms of capturing data, obtaining videos, high quality images, thermographic images and losses detection by corona effect. Thanks to the experience acquired by the work carried out since 2012 in Spain, it is possible to considerably reduce the occupational risks and accidents associated with carrying out conventional line inspections. In this sense, it should be taken into account that this project will be carried out on a transmission line that is very difficult to access and with altitudes higher than 1,500 metres.
In addition to the visual inspection of the LAT 220 kV Sarco – Maitencillo line, emese will carry out the exhaustive detection of hot spots by means of a thermographic camera, as well as the identification of losses caused by the corona effect. This last one is a phenomenon that occurs spontaneously in the high tension lines, due to the ionisation of the fluid that surrounds a charged conductor, and that manifests itself in the form of a luminous halo. And since electrical conductors are usually circular, this halo takes on a shape similar to that of a crown, therefore the origin of its name. As a summary of the inspection, a preventive and/or corrective maintenance report will be made of the possible anomalies detected.
Finally, another of the competitive improvements promoted lies in the possibility of incorporating a LIDAR sensor (Light Detection and Ranging or Laser Imaging Detection and Ranging) equipped in the drone itself. The components of this device allow a high definition laser scan, in order to record in a more efficient way the most significant data of interest for this type of inspections.
This way, im3 will collaborate in one of the most ambitious projects of Aela, which has one of the largest wind farms in Chile, with 170 MW of power and 50 wind turbines located throughout the Atacama Desert. Thus, the Sarco Wind Farm is capable of supplying 270,000 homes, avoiding 236,000 tons of CO2 emissions. For the construction of the transmission line of the Sarco Wind Farm, as part of the project, 4,000 hours of helicopter flights were used, with the aim of minimising the environmental impact, in accordance with our corporate social responsibility policies.