Ensuring 24/7 Electrical Service
With more than 100 million kilometers of power lines across the world and an increased dependency on energy supply, most countries are now facing the complex challenge of ensuring the continuity of electric service. It is critical for sensitive sites such as hospitals, nuclear plants, and industrial factories to avoid any breakdowns, even if some of these places maintain system redundancies and backups. To guarantee the best service for their users, electricity providers expend significant resources on inspection and maintenance of their infrastructure on a regular basis.
Corona discharge is one of the major phenomena involved in power line damage. This effect is an early warning indicator that repair or maintenance is required. Different types of systems are currently used to identify the signs of corona discharge. These detection systems could be acoustic, as well as ultraviolet (UV) or infrared (IR) spectrum-based detectors to achieve better sensitivity and resolution.
The most common systems are handheld devices. By scanning a power line, a technician can detect the discharge or an unusual temperature elevation. Even if this method seems easy to implement, it remains time consuming and could be difficult to cover large distances due to the presence of shielding trees or vegetation. While standing on the ground, operators could be quite far from the discharge.
Handheld devices often include a highly sensitive camera, such as the iNocturn SUV from Photonis. This camera is the combination of an image intensifier tube, which amplifies the light signal by more than 100,000 times with a low light CMOS sensor. This unique solution allows the detection of a very low signal in the UV band.
The iNocturn is a UV-intensified camera with high sensitivity, resolution, and frame rate. Its small form factor and low power consumption are suited for handheld and aerial integration, especially for drone applications. Coupling the image intensifier and CMOS camera by using Smart Tube Management, this device enhances image quality in order to provide to the customer capabilities to reveal the invisible.
To accelerate the inspection time, some companies use helicopters. In this case, systems need to be ruggedized for integration into aerial platforms. Flight qualification tests have to be performed. In addition to integration constraints, such as the use of gyrostabilization, camera operations have to be compatible to helicopter speed and 19 Hz rotor frequency. Photonis’s iNocturn SUV, with its 100-frame rate per second, overcomes these difficulties.
The recent development of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) provides a smart solution to replace or augment helicopters. Drones are usually less costly, with a better ecological footprint. Moreover, integration constraints increase with significant requirements in terms of size, weight, and power (SWaP). Sensor miniaturization with low power consumption is also an important consideration. An efficient communication network such as 4G enables transmission of the images in real time. Operators also must be trained to properly manage guidance of the drone.
To request more information or a quotation for Photonis products, contact IL Photonics.