Innovative asset management protects safety and operations for major automotive manufacturer

50%

reduction in project delivery time

8

sites assessed

Challenge
Tasked with avoiding costly downtime, an automotive manufacturing organization’s (the client) engineers needed to evaluate hard-to-reach medium-voltage cables at several facilities to ensure continued operations.

Solution
The client’s engineers partnered with Arcadis to assess cable health with a greater level of detail than ever before using an unmanned aerial vehicle, or drone, flown by our FAA-certified pilots.

Impact
The client obtained detailed imagery of exterior cables and determined the appropriate path forward for maintenance and reliable production, all while keeping personnel safe.

Project description:

To eliminate downtime and ensure production of safe and reliable vehicles that keep the population moving, the client applies stringent manufacturing standards across each of its plants worldwide. This structured, rigorous and integrated production methodology targets zero accidents, zero waste, zero breakdowns and zero inventory.

Responsible for the safe and ongoing operation of the client’s 26 manufacturing plants across the U.S. and Mexico, the client’s Manufacturing Engineering group needed to evaluate medium voltage cables across several facilities. Damaged or degraded cables can threaten employee safety and cause electrical disruptions that affect production, but these cables can also be difficult and potentially dangerous for personnel to reach.

To prevent any unnecessary downtime, the client’s engineers worked closely with electrical engineers at Arcadis to assess cable health. The standard approach to evaluate cable degradation is to rent a lift with an elevated platform from which an engineer can inspect cables and determine their health.

However even a properly operated manlift places personnel at risk when trying to evaluate any hard-to-see or hard-to-access degraded cable. Given the severity of the situation, the team evaluated alternative solutions that might prove both safer and more informative. Capable of accessing nearly any height and able to view the cables from any angle, drones proved to be an ideal solution for the client’s inspection needs. Paired with high definition cameras, the team captured higher-quality images and videos than standard field cameras would be able to capture.

Using an FAA-registered drone and a live-stream camera feed, the team flew a pattern that inspected exterior medium voltage cables at the facilities and evaluated potential UV degradation to the cables. Safely located on the ground, the team could see parts of the facility in real-time that had never been seen before while also getting a closer look at cables than a lift would ever be able to provide.

Because the camera was able to capture so many detailed visuals, the client team was able to get a better understanding of the most urgent maintenance needs for their facility and easily communicate the importance to stakeholders. While the team completed the project in approximately half the time as a traditional approach, they also avoided extremely costly downtime and protected employee safety with an innovative approach toward asset management.


Outcomes

50%

reduction in project delivery time

8

sites assessed
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