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Alpiq's UAV takes to the skies to inspect power lines

Since May 2014, Alpiq EnerTrans AG has been using a UAV for power line and pylon inspections. The result: More efficient inspections and improved grid security and work safety.

With immediate effect, Alpiq EnerTrans offers its customers a new service for the inspection of pylons and power lines using a UAV. Thanks to the use of several camera systems, the inspectors no longer have to climb the pylons. Moreover, inspections no longer require the power line to be disconnected. This improves both grid security and work safety. Alpiq EnerTrans is one of the first grid service providers in Switzerland to use a UAV.

More customer benefits – increased safety

Power line inspections using the so-called Hexacopter require two persons: While the pilot controls the UAV by sight, the inspector monitors the live video feed on a screen and gives flight commands in order to achieve the best possible footage. The Hexacopter can be manoeuvred horizontally and vertically and can hover directly in front of the object to be inspected thanks to the "Hold" function. This allows the power line inspectors to obtain the footage they require in order to assess the condition of the power lines. "The UAV offers our customers a genuine added value and us a higher degree of work safety," says Christoph Birchmeier, Project Manager Eastern Power Lines at Alpiq EnerTrans.

Live presentation at the "Powertage" trade fair

Alpiq EnerTrans will present the Hexacopter from 3 to 5 June at the "Powertage" (power days) trade fair at the Zürich exhibition centre. The Swiss electricity industry's forum is the ideal platform to present the new services with the specially produced promotional film.