46 Alaska Business | May 2018 www.akbizmag.com
method put employees in harm’s way.
“The biggest benefit of using an unmanned
aerial system is that it decreases risk,” explains Bivins. “By using a drone, you’re not
exposing a human to the dangers of active
“The second biggest benefit is the cost per-
spective; to inspect a flare field, you have to
shut down the production facility, which can
take a day or two. Inspecting the flares takes
another couple of days, and then it takes time
to ramp back up to full production,” he adds.
“If a facility produces tens of thousands of
barrels a day at $60 a barrel, it could cost the
company millions to shut down a facility for
that long. Because drones can be used while
the facility is up and running, it continues
to operate at the same capacity and to meet
regular production rates.”
When a company is looking at annual or
biannual inspections, those costs can quickly
add up. Drones also save on the amount of
time an employee must spend in the field by
performing a pre-inspection.
“One of the biggest misconceptions is that
we are replacing the inspection process that
companies already have in place,” says Bivins.
“What we do is really more of a ‘pre-inspection’
inspection. For example, in many cases, the
company knows that they have a problem, but
they don’t know where it is. It’s very inefficient
to have to search for it. We are able to pinpoint
problems so that when employees go out to do
the full inspection, they know exactly where to
go and what tools will be needed.”
Alaska Aerial Media’s
drone capturing live
at the 2016 Arctic
This was the first time
a civilian unmanned
aircraft was allowed
to operate in military
airspace under special
provisions from the
Alaska Aerial Media
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