European chemical maker uses automated thermal drones for daily risk analysis

European chemical manufacturer uses thermal drones for daily risk analysis

Armor Group, a major European manufacturer of industrial inks, says it has started using a drone-in-a-box solution for daily surveillance and preventive inspection at a French manufacturing site whose atmosphere has been classified as “potentially explosive.” The company’s La Chevrolière site is now benefiting from Hoverseen automatic docking system for Parrot ANAFI thermal drones. 

Armor Group’s La Chevrolière unit is dedicated to the manufacturing of inked rollers for barcode printing and flexible photovoltaic films. It is located in a suburban area, some 5 km from Nantes airport.

Accommodating a workforce of 350 people across a 9-hectare area, the site combines a double explosive risk (ATEX) and environmental risk (ICPE), according to European standards.

Conventionally, the safety and security at the La Chevrolière site have been undertaken using a network of surveillance cameras, a video management solution, and a team of on-site security guards.

However, this arrangement did not fully cover all parts of the site, thus limiting the inspection of many hard-to-reach areas to a few annual interventions. As such, the company started exploring drone solutions with three main objectives in mind: optimize the surveillance of the premises, strengthen the safety of people, and reduce the risk of fire.

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Hoverseen automatic docking system for Parrot ANAFI thermal drones

Armor Group says it chose the Hoverseen system since it was compatible with its legacy video management solution and was, essentially, “as easy as adding a new IP camera.” The company connected the docking station to its private and secure internal network and obtained authorization to fly without a remote pilot from the French Civil Aviation Authority (DGAC).

Hoverseen drone docking station

The system defined the shortest and safest drone surveillance paths for the areas that were typically overlooked during manual inspections. And today, the La Chevrolière site carries out several automatic flights a day, without a remote pilot, and under the supervision of security guards.

Drone company Parrot explains in its blog:

They launch the flights and observe in real time the video feedback on the security screens. In a few minutes, they have a complete aerial view of the terrain. They can visualize areas that are not easily accessible or difficult to monitor such as the buildings’ roofs or the delivery docks.
Their movements on site are thus more limited, and the associated risk is reduced, in particular in the event of an intrusion.

In addition, for preventive maintenance, the Parrot ANAFI thermal drone is configured to look out for unusual temperature differences or an abnormal situation in an area that is difficult to access.

Armor Group says being able to identify risk situations well in advance of an incident makes it possible for the company to quickly determine the right plan of action. Moreover, the firm retains the aerial images after flights, so that they can be used to analyze the evolution of the site over time.

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