Stoen Operator scans power lines from the air

Stoen Operator is implementing an innovative project to create a 3D model of high voltage overhead lines. In cooperation with Vimap, it scans the network from a helicopter. The data provided will be used to monitor hard-to-reach places and increase the stability of the power supply.

  • The first phase of the survey of high-voltage overhead lines was carried out on October 1, 2021. The next flight is scheduled for the second half of 2022.
  • A technologically advanced system consisting of several gauges is used to check the network configuration and the devices built into it.
  • Stoen Operator performed medium and low voltage overhead line mapping using a fleet of UAVs.

The first stage of the survey of high-voltage overhead lines was carried out on October 1, 2021. The helicopter, equipped with a specialized network device diagnostic system, identified 90 km of the network located mainly in the eastern part of Warsaw within one working day. The next flight is scheduled for the second half of 2022.

– Currently, as part of the project, we have surveyed a quarter of the high voltage lines simultaneously. Due to the characteristics of the Warsaw network, that is, a relatively small network centered around the city, surveying is facilitated. The only restrictions may arise from areas such as airports or military areas that require special permits. For example, a portion of the high-voltage lines that Stoen Operator owns are close enough to Warsaw Okęcie airport that a flight over this area must take place in close contact with the air traffic controller — says Szymon Pomykała, network standards specialist at Stoen Operator.

Vimap specializes in mapping power networks. Thanks to the reports from this company, the distribution network operator in Warsaw will shorten the time to update the inventory. It will also expand the possibilities of evaluating the technical condition of items that cannot be seen by the field worker, performing network analyzes for changing conditions (eg cable temperature), and even creating simulations of falling trees.

– In order to obtain information about the infrastructure, we use different types of helicopters that are equipped with specialized measuring instruments. The configuration of the system installed on the helicopter is always matched and adapted to the objectives of the project and the type of infrastructure tested. In addition to the advanced equipment, the project includes our vMatic software dedicated to managing the data provided. Ensures visualization and integration of the obtained data. In addition, this solution automatically detects close-up shots and very small distances using certain parameters – explains Krzysztof Tkocz of Vimap.

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Innovative Diagnostics

A technologically advanced system consisting of several gauges is used to check the network configuration and the devices built into it. High-resolution cameras record individual infrastructure elements and capture highly detailed and high-quality images, which are then processed by special software. This way can, inter alia, be rapid detection of malfunctions and irregularities that may lead to malfunctions and power outages.

Thanks to the use of laser scanning technology (lidar), a 3D model of the line and its contour was made. Using the 3D image of the terrain, images and analysis tools, it is possible to identify places where standard distance requirements are not precisely met, for example in relation to trees or buildings. This information allows appropriate maintenance actions to be taken aimed at minimizing threats to network security, Stoen Operator informs.

Working with Vimap does not interrupt the regular visual inspection of the employee. As company representatives assure, it is better to evaluate the foundations and lower parts of the column during pedestrian inspections, which are carried out on these devices once a year. On the other hand, line scanning with a helicopter allows you to more accurately assess the condition of the infrastructure elements that are out of the field worker’s sight. Therefore, the best solution is to evaluate the technical condition of the network devices in the hybrid model.

The high-voltage overhead line survey project is not the first of its kind. Stoen Operator has already mapped medium and low voltage overhead lines using a fleet of drones. It has also been used in Energy Emergency Service activities as a tool to support field workers to assess emergency and planned events in hard-to-reach terrain.

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