3 min read

Thompson Industrial Services Takes Flight

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Robotic equipment is nothing new at Thompson Industrial Services. For years, we’ve been moving our company into the future with automated hydroblaster positioners, remotely controlled heat exchanger cleaning, and other technologies. The newest addition to our roster of robotic tools will be much more familiar to the general public than our previous ones, however, because they are already prominent in all sorts of contexts. We’re talking about drones, the small, unmanned flying craft that have captured the attention of professional service providers and recreational pilots alike.The drones that we use here at Thompson have been modified to function effectively and safely in our clients’ facilities in a wide range of different environments. We’d like to introduce you to these amazingly useful tools, which are already saving our clients many thousands of dollars on inspection services. Solving Access Issues In a large industrial facility, there are pieces of equipment and infrastructure that are difficult or impossible for human inspectors to gain access to. When there is a suspected issue that requires inspection, the only options thus far have often involved shutting down the surrounding area and constructing scaffolding or some other special equipment to get inspectors close enough to identify the issues and devise a solution. With our drone inspection services, however, our highly skilled technicians can get a drone-mounted camera to the ceiling or wherever the suspected issue is incredibly quickly. Best of all, the impact on the facility’s activity is minimal and there is no need to erect scaffolding to reach the area in question. This saves our client substantial amounts of money not only by avoiding equipment rental, but also by sharply reducing the facility downtime needed for the inspection process.

The view from our drone’s high-resolution camera


 Drone Modifications Our inspection drones carry high-resolution cameras, fully capable of capturing photos and video with the detail necessary to accurately analyze damage, contamination, and other negative factors. After our team and the client’s personnel assess the situation based on the high-resolution photos and video captured by the drone-mounted equipment, they can work together to devise a strategy and move quickly to execute it.  Thompson’s industrial drone is also equipped with a thermal imaging camera that records the entire time so that you can quickly identify leaks in piping and duct work.Another important feature of our inspection drones is obvious as soon as you see the unit for the first time. Each drone is surrounded by a safe crash proof casing, a protective network of carbon fiber bars that prevent damage to the drone or the onboard cameras in the event of contact with infrastructure or equipment. With this protective shield, the drone is safe even around personnel, as the propellers are completely protected from contact with any part of the body.  In addition, the casing is flexible and gentle enough to avoid damaging equipment as well. This gives our inspectors the ability to safely guide the drones from the ground into areas that a human inspector would never be able to access without a very complex, costly operation.  Drone Inspection Applications One of the most obvious applications for our new drone inspection service is identifying and assessing issues with infrastructure, such as duct work, that is located at or near the ceiling of a large facility. However, we can also send our drones into silos, stacks, cooling towers, and boilers to photograph conditions. These environments are often extremely hazardous for human workers but using a remotely controlled drone creates a uniquely valuable opportunity to gain visibility without endangering technicians or engaging in expensive safety procedures. We also use the service for inspections at wind and solar farms, where access to elevated equipment is also difficult. Indoors or outdoors, nearly any area that presents expensive and time-consuming challenges for inspection is an eligible candidate for our amazingly efficient drone inspection. A Great Addition to Our Industrial Services As we mentioned earlier, our inspection drones are just the latest additions to the impressive lineup of robotic, remotely controlled tools that our industrial service teams have access to and use more frequently every year. This is a very tangible manifestation of the motto that we often repeat at Thompson Industrial Services: “Be safe, be good, be great.” We think our drone inspection service accomplishes all three of those objectives with flying colors, and we look forward to bringing it to your next facility inspection project. Get in touch with our company headquarters or one of our regional offices to inquire further and to learn about our other money-saving industrial services.


Press Contact
  • Emily Martin
  • Marketing Manager
  • 100 N. Main Street
  • Sumter, SC 29150

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