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Drone and Thermographic Imaging Inspection Services

 

As tier 1 inspection one can rely on  “look, see” approach using a visual inspection at the ground level , and drone inspection at high elevation to perform condition assessment and determine the presence and likelihood of corrosion, mechanical damage and cracking on above ground structures, construction structures, roofs, plants, substations  and transmission & distribution  towers and poles. This approach van even detect fatigue cracking,  corrosion or the deeply embedded defects in the structure  that cannot be observed from ground. Our drone structural inspection process includes time-proven methods from the tower pole and construction  industry which at later stage (Tier II inspection  include NDT techniques,  thickness loss  and corrosion rate measurement  to predict remaining life and corrosion mitigation . Our Valmont pilot  staff skillfully identifies structures at risk of corrosion, estimates corrosion rates, makes corrosion life-expectancy determinations and establishes an accurate baseline that can be referenced when future inspections are conducted. Matergenics condition assessment team includes PhDs, registered professional engineers and NACE-certified inspectors from a variety of technical disciplines including mechanical engineering, paint inspection, chemistry, metallurgy and materials science. We also have a comprehensive array of laboratory and field testing equipment, all calibrated on a routine basis in accordance with both national and international standards.Matergenics customers benefit by receiving the latest skill-sets and technologies in drone on-site inspection, non-destructive examination (NDE), laboratory testing and engineering analysis which helps them identify potential problems and reduce the likelihood of catastrophic failures

 

 

 

 

Case Example:

The inspection of aging high elevation guy wires should be handled in a tiered approach. As the tier level increases, the time and complexity, and therefore the cost, of the inspection/testing increases.

Tier1 consists of an atmospheric corrosion risk assessment of the tower site. Several environmental factors would be determined to calculate the ISO 9223 classification,  the corrosion rate and remaining life based on corrosion models. An on-site inspection would consist of chloride and sulfate deposition measurements (dew collection and wet candle tests), and a general overview of the site including:

  • Time in service
  • Materials in use
  • Classification of the Environment per ISO: Weather and climate (time of wetness): Chloride and Sulfate deposition
  • Elevation
  • Flora

Tier1 will provide the type of environment and estimated corrosion rate of guy wire components.

Tier 2, a simple visual/high mag inspection, should be the next step. Due to the high elevation of guy wires, this inspection is accomplished using a drone as shown in the following picture.

 

 

To inspect guy-wire, we can fly closer and provide a 30X optical zoom to detect minute details (if needed). discoloration, corrosion, pitting, or cracking will be noted. A reliable technique for corrosion detection. This approach is being used for detection of corrosion an d fatigue cracks on Utility towers.

If the corrosion observed by the drone is deemed severe, further inspection is required. Tier 3 requires a specialized, electromagnetic apparatus . This apparatus scans the interior of the wire and can detect, cracks, and breaks within the wire. A winch and pulley system is required to move the test head up the guy wire, so temporary rigging on the tower is necessary. Very expensive process due to the complexity of this setup, a subcontractor would likely need to be hired. A similar system may also be utilized to perform routine maintenance such as oiling the guy wires.

Tier 1 inspection of elevated guy wires may require , only one day onsite. It is estimated that Tier 2  inspections of high elevation guy wires  will take about 5 hours per guy wire.

We provide a wide range of inspection services which may not listed below. If you’re looking for an inspection service not listed here, please give us a call for more information.

Pole/Tower Inspection

 

 

 

 

 

Level 2 Certified Thermographic Imaging Technician

 

Above are example photos that is closely related to cable inspection.  This particular photo was taken to inspect the integrity of a power line conductor, after a manned-aircraft collision.  The photo was taken at a distance of 8’ away, with no zoom.

In terms of flight of a guy-wire, we estimate that an 800’ wire can be flown in four-hours or less, with NDT VT inspection in a similar amount of time.  For inspection of the bottom-side of the guy wire, our M210 drone with the top mount camera is ideal and would optimize safe flight.

Depending upon the frequency emitted from the radio tower, we would be comfortable in flying a live tower.  Our flight control frequencies reside the 2.4GHz and 5.8GHz ISM bands.  Should the situation require it, we can lock and operate onto a specific band to avoid interference.

 

Substation and transmission poles/towers-Matergenics Inc. will review and analyze the onsite photos and  data using their PhD-level in-house experts of the subject matter to provide a detailed report on conditions on a per pole basis in addition to the condition of the equipment and structures within the substation.  The final report will include documentation and analysis of :

  • Overheating in conductors: This usually happens at busbars, switches, and connections for different reasons including loose connection, formation of corrosion products at the joint, mechanical damages, or undersized conductor (design issue)
  • Leaking components: Detect leaks of sulfur hexafluoride gas (SF6) and oil from substation equipment
  • Failed insulators: Identify porcelain and polymer insulators failed due to cracking, chipping, etc.
  • Corroded areas on poles, load bearing members, fixtures and fasteners.
  • Degraded coatings and loss of galvanized thickness based on color of intermetallic layers
  • Degradation of concrete including; cracking, chipping, flaking, and corrosion of steel reinforcementsTo inspect guy-wire, we can fly closer and provide a 30X optical zoom to detect minute details (if needed).

The final deliverable to client will include the organization and storage of all raw images collected and provided on an external hard drive.

  1. The final report shall be provided in hard copy and also via a web based portal for which client will be granted access.
  2. The final report shall include a listing of each structure, images, pole type, type of damage identified, severity of damage via a ranking system and the latitude/longitude of each structure.

A Summary Report shall also be provided in a “dashboard” format to present to senior level management summarizing damages at each Project Site.

  1. The work performed under this SOW will not be considered complete unless a final report is submitted by Contractor and it is accepted by the client.
  2. Determine unacceptable risks and recommend engineering solutions

Corrosion of power utility structures is a primary cause of in-service equipment degradation. When a power transmission structure corrodes to the point where it starts experiencing structural corrosion and material loss, the risk mitigation practices cannot be effectively applied and the structure repair/replacement remains as the only viable option. [read more]

Features

  • Drone Corrosion Inspection of Line and Substation Structures
  • Atmospheric Corrosion Inspection
  • Corrosion Risk Assessment
  • Remedial Recommendations
  • Photographic Documentation
  • NACE Certified Inspectors


Telecommunication towers are essential parts of wireless networks for businesses, navigation systems, defense systems, and social services such as police, firefighters, and ambulances. Structural integrity of telecommunication towers is the

 

 

 

 

 

radio_tower_inspection

key to ensure reliable communication; however, these structures are constantly under corrosion attack. In fact, underground corrosion is identified as one of the main causes for structural failures and collapses of telecom towers.

 

[read more]

Features

  • Corrosion Inspection of Anchor Shaft and Tower Base
  • Atmospheric Corrosion Inspection
  • Laboratory Tests
  • Corrosion Risk Assessment
  • Remedial Recommendations
  • Photographic Documentation

NACE Certified Inspectors

 

Drone inspection of a light pole at a park exhibiting corrosion on load bering members in a HCA

 

Details of corroded member of communication tower

 

The Matergenics team has experience working in many diverse fields and with many different clients.  Some of our clients include Allegheny Energy, American Airlines and AC Dellovade, GE, IBM, NASA, Valmont, and TVA. We can draft a cost proposal  if you wish.

We also provide the following services:

* GIS Corrosion Mapping and Drone Inspection and Thermographic Imaging for Tower Condition Assessment
* Paint Coating Selection for Above Ground and Underground Applications
* Custom-designed cathodic protection systems with deep well design for tower facilities
* Remaining Life Modeling and Estimation for Underground Assets
* Monopole Fatigue, Fatigue Sensor and Fatigue Mitigation
* Why stray current is an important issue in corrosion and How to detect it?
* Corrosion Engineering Training

Our condition assessment considers:

  • High Elevation Atmospheric Corrosion
  • Low Elevation Atmospheric Corrosion
  • Ground Level
  • Shallow Burials
  • Deep Burials due to low pH (not considered by many)
  • Concrete Degradation
  • Coating Degradation
  • Stray Current Corrosion
  • Copper Grounding

Condition Assessment By Climbing Inspection

Inspection Overview and Procedures

The overall condition of the tower structural members, climbing facilities, fasteners, and other components are evaluated as outlined in this section. Visual and physical checks are performed to ensure that the tower and subsystems are structurally sound and functional.

Tower load bearing members , conduits, ladders, stairways. fasteners, and all load bering primary and secondary members will be checked, documented and severity of corrosion will be reported by our experienced climbers and NACE certified corrosion engineers. Corrosion mitigation: coating selection, surface preparation and application of coating per SSPC and NACE specifications will be provided for the Client’s review.

Physical inspections and UV thickness measurements  are performed  to determine steel member thickness using Ultrasonic Thickness Gauge. All corners of the towers are checked at the ground level and at any location that appears questionable with a three-point check that covers the leg and the braces on either side of it Coating thickness is also checked at these points using an Elcometer 456 Coating Thickness Gauge. ASTM A-123A is referenced for coating thickness requirements. Galvanized Thickness and protective organic coatings are measured as well.

Concrete foundations and anchoring hardware are visually checked for wear and damage.Concrete hardness tests are performed using  Digital Concrete Test Hammer. Two hardness measurements are taken per foundation corner – one set of four readings on the top of the foundation (vertical reading) and one set of four readings on the side (horizontal reading).

MATERGENICS provides corrosion inspection/monitoring services, and corrosion risk assessment for different types of telecom structures including:
[list type=list-4]

  • Guyed-wire towers,
  • Self-supporting towers,
  • Tapered steel monopols.

If corrosion is not detected and mitigated at its early stages, shortly it will lead to expensive refurbishment of corroded members, while in a longer time it can affect tower safety and increased risk for injuries, and fatalities. Periodic corrosion inspection and risk assessment is a cost-effective method to bring certainty to core asset safety. Team Matergenics can assist you on these tasks. At your request we can provide a comprehensive.  presentation on our approach and experience in this important field

We can assist you with the following important tasks:

  1. Construct soil corrosivity maps for  sites for system-wide corrosion risk assessment and maintenance
  2. Prioritize towers for corrosion risk assessment based on corrosion map, age, design/material, tower criticality, consequence of failure (high consequence areas- HCA)
  3. Evaluate existing aging assets (based on prioritization order) and assess corrosion damage in high elevations, low elevations, ground level, and underground and for guy wires through visual examination, drone inspection and NDT techniques
  4. Perform indirect assessment of towers, and galvanize anchors
  5. Perform condition assessment of concrete foundations by inspection and petrographic analysis
  6. Perform direct assessment (excavation/climbing and focus measurements)
  7. Measure grounding resistance and document grounding components
  8. Evaluate tower coating systems and select coating for various environments
  9. Perform failure analysis root cause determination for accidents and incidents
  10. Determine acceptable or unacceptable risks and provide engineering solutions for risk mitigation
  11. Engineering solution for material selection, coating, cathodic protection, structural repairs
  12. Sensor development and corrosion activity monitoring
  13. Post assessment and development of tailored inspection program for long-term cost-effective corrosion mitigation and maintenance

Why Matergenics

Team Matergenics is able to provide many unique services to assess the corrosion risk and to determine the remaining life of towers and anchors. We are also able to provide best-in-class CP design for helical anchors and special situations where installation of galvanic anodes is not feasible. What distinguishes us from our competition are the following:

  • We are trained, academic-disciplined corrosion engineers and we have four top level certifications from NACE; our competition does not have high-level corrosion certifications
  • We have successfully completed thousands of corrosion assessments projects for telecom structures to predict and quantify the corrosion rate and determine their remaining in-service life
  • We have developed patent pending GIS soil corrosivity mapping for corrosion risk assessment as a system-wide maintenance tool
  • We can provide computer-aided anode bed designs for optimum cathodic protection at tower foundations―we are NACE-Certified Cathodic Protection Specialists (CP4)
  • Every year we perform thousands of inspections on transmission lines and communication tower foundations buried in corrosive soils, identifying deep burial corrosion where competition is unable―thickness measurements at shallow burial is not necessarily representative of the integrity of the structure
  • We have a modern materials and soil testing laboratory and can perform failure analysis root cause investigation for different modes of failures at tower component
  • We have published many technical papers that have been reviewed and cited by experts in corrosion field (most recently regarding galvanized anchors, which is attached for your review)
  • We have repeat clients and can provide references form SBA Communications, Crown Castle, Southern California Edison, Consumer Energy, Valmont Industries, to name a few
  • Our corrosion risk assessment includes grounding evaluation, concrete inspection, and petrographic analysis
  • We understand budget limitations and can provide options to fit your budget if you wish

Items 1, 3, 4, 5 and 6 are unique to team Matergenics and we do not know of any other firm performing these tasks. Please see the onsite photos attached to this document for examples of our work.

INSPECTION STAGES

MATERGENICS’ corrosion inspection for telecom structure, involves three different stages:

Desk Study

Prior to site visits and field measurements, based on the project requirements, a desk study must performed to complete the following tasks:

  • Review of geotechnical reports,
  • Review of structural drawings,
  • Review of previous reports on corrosion inspection, maintenance/repair, and all other relevant information including service history.

Field Survey

Our NACE certified inspectors collect the key corrosion indicator data at tower base and anchor footings, and perform site-specific tests to characterize the service environment, including:

  • Soil-to-structure electrochemical potential mapping,
  • Soil resistivity tests (ASTM G57 and ASTM G187),
  • Soil pH tests,
  • Cathodic protection current requirement tests,
  • Visual inspection of underground members,
  • Coating inspection and dimensional measurements,
  • Concrete inspection and hardness test (ASTM C805),
  • Photographic documentation of all tests.


Laboratory Investigations

Collected samples during site visits must be examined in a controlled environment to identify:

  • Soil contamination concentration,
  • Microbiologically induced corrosion,
  • Root cause determination.

Documentation & Reporting

All inspection findings and recommendations are included in a comprehensive report, that includes:

  • Corrosion risk factor (CRF) for individual structures,
  • Recommend corrosion mitigation methods such as cathodic protection,
  • Remedial actions,

Engineering analysis and repair recommendations.

Cathodic Protection

Matergenics is able to design, install, test, and monitor cathodic protection systems that prevent any further corrosion and extend the life of buried assets for at least 15 years. Compared to oil and gas industry, the tower industry as a whole is behind on implementation of CP method of extending in-service life of the assets. The oil and gas pipeline industry has been using this method successfully for many years to prevent failures and reduce inspection and maintenance costs.

PhD-level NACE-certified engineers in Matergenics have developed an advance simulation tool to design best-in-class anode bed designs for optimum protection of tower foundation regardless of structural materials and designs.

 

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Related Services

Cathodic Protection

Matergenics offers innovative cathodic protection solutions to telecom utility companies. Our engineers and technicians are NACE certified professionals and use the latest technology to deliver best-in-class services to our clients.

More Info



 

We design and Install Cathodic Protection Systems for Tel-communication Towers Based on Corrosion Engineering Principles and By NACE Certified Technical Personnel.

We understand budget limitations and can provide options to fit your budget if you wish.

Coating Selection for Atmospheric, Ground Level  and Underground Zones

Another effective way to protect structures against corrosion attack is to use a coating film to shield it from the environment. However, not all coatings are created equally. Matergenics has several coating experts that are equipped to test and analyze coating quality based on common coating failure modes.

 

Proper coating system and Adequate surface preparation per SSPC and NACE standards are extremely important for atmospheric high elevation zones of the telecom tower. To improve the protection level at foundations of telecommunication structures, Matergenics recommends partial coating application along with CP system installation. This results in improved protection at both deep and shallow burials, also extends the lifespan of anodes. Answers to the following questions are keys for a successful coating application:

  • Coating material – was the coating material suitable for the service environment and the substrate?
  • Surface preparation – was the surface properly prepared to allow for coating adhesion?
  • Application – was the coating applied using proper technique at the correct thickness?
  • Formulation – were the drying and curing specifications followed?
  • Mechanical damage – is the coating susceptible to damage backfilling
  • Cathodic protection shielding – is the coating compatible with cathodic protection?

ASTM, SSPC, and NACE test procedures are followed to assure that the selected coating will survive and protect the structure as intended. These tests include:

  • Accelerated paint exposure
  • Salt spray
  • UV light exposure
  • Tensile and flexural tests
  • Cross section microscopy

Considering our expertise, Matergenics is the only company that can select coatings that work with cathodic protection systems to guarantee maximum protection to extend the life of any structure.

 

 

We are different!

Our drone inspection services, with specifically designed protocols for different scenarios, set us apart from the competition. We have a proud record of on time delivery of precise inspection results to our clients. MATERGENICS’ professional pilots collect the key data and work closely with the clients, keeping them informed of the inspection progress at all times. Our inspection reports and recommendation are based on factual data and analysis of professional engineers. We are able to manage large quantities of collected data to pinpoint critical issues. This is our goal to make MATERGENICS your trusted inspection partner of choice.

The Next Step… While Matergenics has the expertise and the technology to unravel even the most difficult high elevation inspections, your input is vital for a complete analysis. By filling out the service request form and giving us a description of the problem, you can be sure that all aspects of your problem will be considered. Please do not hesitate to call Dr. Zee at 412-952-9441 for corrosion risk assessment and inspection projects. We’ll send you a proposal for your work, including methods and costs. Solutions are just around the corner!

 

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