Flyability Drone Saves Beer Factory Time, Money and Beer
Czechoslovakian beer giant Pilsner Urquell faced a mammoth and complex procedure every time its facility was to be inspected as per building regulations that require that the ceiling of the facility be inspected each year, and a detailed inspection be performed every 10 years.
The inspection of the 30,000 square meters (nearly 7 and a half acres) plant used to be generally carried out by 5 workers who would climb to the ceiling to perform a visual inspection.
The requisite scaffolding and safety construction net for the inspection process would take over a month.
Apart from safety issues, the high project costs were a concern too.
Bottling production in the area being inspected had to be stopped reducing the usual production of 60,000 bottles of beer per hour for over 35 days approximately.
The company was however resigned to fate, until a solution to this expensive and dangerous proposition came through during ongoing work on a separate project involving Drony SITMP, a drone service provider, Flyability reseller and innovation center based in the Czech Republic.
A meeting with the inspector at Pilsner Urquell took place and a solution began to emerge.
The company management was instantly interested in pursuing a method of inspection that didn’t require stopping production, says Ondrej Bouček, drone expert at Drony SITMP. “The drone was exactly the solution for their situation,” he comments.
By standing with the two pilots – one to fly and the other to change batteries and act as observer – the inspector was able to direct the pilots to specific areas required, getting all of the data she needed to complete a detailed report for the brewery in just 12 days of 4 -5 hours each.
The drone mission saved Pilsner Urquell over 3 weeks of inspection time without requiring shutdown of the bottling facility, by allowing evaluation of inaccessible areas better than what regular climbers were capable of.
The Elios was able to get close enough to the beams safely to enable good visual inspection. “Pilsner Urquell was really pleased with the results of the flights,” says Bouček. “Elios provided benefits in safety, downtime, and mainly cost… They are also proud to be the first in the Czech Republic to use this method for roof inspections.”
The Elios achieved this and completed the inspection with high efficacy. The specially designed drone was able to gather suitable footage while bouncing unharmed off of obstacles, negotiate electrical wiring, sound barriers, sprinklers, and vents to inspect the beams and trusses of the Pilsner Urquell bottling plant.
To find out more about Flyability, read our interview with CEO Patrick Thevos.