Guidance For Remote Visual Inspection

Posted by Nabin Shaw on March 10th, 2020

Look at science fiction in the past and some expectations will become quite apparent. One of the most important is that people simply assumed that robots could be found in every aspect of modern life. One of the odder aspects of the present is that it is quite possible. Robotics has come a very long way in recent years. Between drone development and AI one can perform a vast amount of complex procedures with automated systems.

And this is just starting to catch on with visual inspections. This makes a lot of sense too. Unlike many fields this won't require any advanced AI. The most important part of these inspections is visual acuity. One can look at a recent example of this process in the Netherlands to get a good idea how this transition is taking place.

This account was published in Flyability and involves Steven Verver of RoNik Inspectioneering. He wanted to see if an inspector from the Netherland's formal inspection service, Bureau Veritas, would approve of his remote visual inspection. This made use of an Elios 2. And the actual inspection involved an API 510. The main area under inspection was the welding with the composite material. All of which is in the context of a pressure vessel. Normally a human being would need to enter the pressure vessel. Once inside he'd look for problems with the welds which conjoin the composite material.

The inspector was initially rather reticent about the entire procedure. This is something that people should keep in mind within their own experiences. If one is just bringing this system to people's attention for the first time then they may well be skeptical. It's important to keep in mind that most people with the authority to approve it will be of an age where higher definition cameras simply weren't this mobile or durable. As such they often make incorrect assumptions about the visual acuity of mobile devices.

In this particular case the inspector needed to determine that the camera was capturing at or above the acuity of a human observer. The inspector must also be able to determine the depth and distance for anything being put to the test. The Elios 2 passed this quite easily and a new president was set for remote visual inspection. This proves that it can be done. But another question remains. Why should remote visual inspections be used in the first place?

There's certainly advantages when it comes to time management. But one should also consider the issue of safety and sanitation. It's easy to forget just how easily an environment can become inhospitable for people. And this is especially true for anything related to inspections. It's important to keep in mind that inspections are often done with an understanding that something might be going wrong. And issues such as this in industrial settings can mean potential dangers to human beings. The health of onsite personnel isn't something which anyone should take lightly.

If there's any chance that a human being's safety could be maintained by changing the nature of an inspection then it's important to fully examine its feasibility. And in the case of remote inspections this is almost always a given. It's not just a matter of safety either. It was pointed out that remote inspections need to match or surpass the human eye. But it doesn't simply match the human eye. It also offers recording capabilities. This means that remote inspections are safer, more accurate and allow one to go back to examine the material from recordings. The benefits are both significant and impossible to ignore.

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Nabin Shaw

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Nabin Shaw
Joined: May 7th, 2018
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