Drone inspection for industry, power plants, shipping and infrastructure

We inspect indoor and outdoor areas of industrial plants, technical facilities, power plants, vessels and buildings by drone

" In the field of reactive, preventive and predictive maintenance, our UAVs offer the safest, fastest and most cost-effective inspection method. "
Christian Engelke

What our drones can do


Industry 4.0 - Inspection and condition monitoring of technical facilities by drone

Inspection in power plants with drones

Power plants offer a wide range of applications for drones. On the outside we inspect buildings, halls, tanks, silos, chimneys, conveyor belts and most other technical installations. Inside power plants we inspect pipelines, pipe support systems such as spring hangers, spring supports, constant hangers and safety valves with our drones. We can also inspect and monitor hard-to-reach rubber and steel expansion joints with our drones. One focus of our work is the inspection of impassable areas that are difficult to access, also inside plants.Ein Schwerpunkt unserer Arbeit bildet die Inspektion von unwegsamen, schwer zugänglichen Arealen auch im Inneren von Anlagen.

Inspections in industrial environments with drones

In industrial plants, such as steel plants, we inspect the interior and exterior of buildings, warehouses, production halls, technical installations, storage tanks, tanks, tank farms, silos, boilers, agitators, media lines, pipe lines, pipe supports, etc. We also inspect chimneys and create photogrammetric images to produce orthophotos and maps. In addition to drones, we also use 360° cameras for the inspection of chemical reactors and the associated plant components. Our work improves operational safety, keeps plant downtimes short and drastically reduces inspection costs and delivers first-class photo and video recordings. Our images are suitable for reactive, preventive and predictive maintenance measures as well as for the preparation of expert reports.

Inspections of vessel tanks and cargo holds

Vessel tanks must be inspected regularly for safety on board, for the maintaining of the class, for this a complex safety procedure is necessary. When inspecting with our drone, no personal access to the tank is necessary, only a manhole has to be opened.

Inspections for specialist companies, authorities, experts, certifiers and testing organisations

The short operational preparation and fast job execution provide unimagined potential for the use of drones in many areas. Drones make the work of experts, insurance companies, authorities or even specialist companies considerably safer and easier in many areas.

Examples of our work

Professional inspection by drone

What can be seen on the footage?

Integrity of structures and facilities in general

Drones can be positioned anywhere in the area and are therefore ideally suited to depict technical facilities and buildings from the desired perspective. If necessary, we can get very close to buildings and take pictures with our zoom camera or even fly to inaccessible places inside buildings with our flying robot (Flyability ELIOS) and inspect the state of corrosion or corrosion protection.

Welds, Joints

On the outside of technical installations as well as inside tanks, silos and other boilers and vessels, we can inspect welds and joints with the drone and keep an eye on the condition of the vessel over long periods of time by means of recurrent inspections.

Screws, bolts, nozzles

Sooner or later, moving technical equipment and facilities run the risk of losing screws or bolts. With our flying robot, we can easily reach even hard-to-reach areas in plants. Our images are high-resolution, so that in most cases even the inscription on screws becomes visible.

Corrosion, corrosion protection

Sooner or later corrosion occurs when oxygen and metal combine. This process can be accelerated by various chemical substances such as chlorides and sooner or later leads to the destruction of the structure or plant. In the example of bridges, reinforcement corrosion then occurs. With our drones, we periodically monitor your facilities and structures on request and document their condition and archive the material for you on a long-term basis if desired. This way you can ensure uninterrupted and smooth operation.

Drones and Industry 4.0


What role do drones play in Industry 4.0?

Drones in Reactive Maintenance

Reactive Maintenance is a strategy used in the past. Equipment was repaired whenever defects and wear appeared during maintenance or when machines and equipment failed due to defects. Although reactive maintenance is demonstrably associated with additional costs and higher costs for repair, it is still used in many areas today. The use of a drone can at least partially improve reactive maintenance: The drone can reach hard-to-reach locations within a very short time and deliver reliable data. This saves time and costs for the erection of scaffolding and accelerates maintenance processes, thus keeping plant downtimes short.

Drones in preventive maintenance

In preventive maintenance, systems are serviced before they fail. Preventive maintenance measures are based on pre-defined time intervals, which are usually based on the running times of the machines or plants. To carry out preventive maintenance measures, the systems are regularly shut down and checked for wear, defective components or material weaknesses and functional limitations. To verify the necessary maintenance measures, drones can take off from plant interiors and exteriors within a very short time and supply data for condition monitoring. The erection and use of scaffolding, aerial work platforms and climbers can be saved or minimised and plant downtimes can be further reduced.

Drones in Predictive Maintenance

Predictive maintenance - also known as smart maintenance - describes a process in which maintenance is carried out on a condition-dependent basis. Condition-based measures are becoming increasingly important in the available maintenance strategies and are an important component of Industry 4.0. With state-of-the-art measuring technology, it is now possible to precisely record and evaluate the actual condition of plants and machines and to predict wear. Drones play an essential role in predictive maintenance, since not all plants or plant components can be equipped with the appropriate sensors and measuring technology at short notice. Furthermore, the condition of many systems cannot be determined by the built-in sensors alone. Visual inspections, on the other hand, are often associated with the erection of scaffolding and the use of climbers. By drone we could obtain excellent data for condition monitoring in the short term.

Questions and Answers

What types of inspections can be performed with drones?

With our drones we fly within narrow, closed and hard-to-reach areas. Typical areas of application are tanks, boilers, silos or halls which are either to be inspected themselves or in which difficult to reach technical systems or pipelines are located.

What is the lead time for inspections?

There are no fixed lead times. Please contact us so that we can arrange an appointment with you, if possible at short notice.

Can the drone also fly in ATEX environments?

No, our drones cannot fly in ATEX environments. As of May 2018, we are not aware that drones have ever flown in ATEX environments or that this will be possible in the future.

How long does a drone inspection take?

The duration of use depends primarily on the size and condition of the system. If an inspection by scaffolding and climbing can take several days, a comparable inspection usually only takes about one hour. Then there is the time for image processing.

Can inspections also be performed in the dark?

Yes, our drone has extremely bright onboard lighting and ensures perfect illumination even in complete darkness.

Which customers does Kopterflug serve?

We work for companies from industry and power generation, but also for specialist companies and service providers in the fields of certification and classification.

What are the advantages of an industrial inspection by drone?

A drone inspection is absolutely safe for your employees. Even during short plant downtimes, we can collect large amounts of status information. In the case of reactive maintenance, our drone allows us to inspect systems that are difficult to access within a very short time, thus reducing downtime to a minimum.

Can the flying robot also be flown out of sight?

Yes, in principle it is possible. We inspect ballast water tanks in ships without maintaining a direct line of sight to the flying robot or other dangerous areas that are not easily accessible.

In what environment can the drone operate?

Applications should be conducted within a temperature range of -5°C to +50°C. Thanks to the built-in lighting, the environment can be completely dark. It is not possible to work in precipitation or highly condensing environments, as nothing can be seen on the images.

How long does it take for the footage to be available?

On request, we hand over the complete raw material immediately. The processing of the recordings can take a few days, depending on the order situation, but usually only one day and can be viewed directly in our Corporate Cloud. Sending the recordings by post takes 1-2 working days.