Skymatics recently secured the contract for UAV stockpile surveys for KeirBam at Hinkley Point C – a new nuclear power station currently under construction in the Southwest.
This is an on-going project between Skymatics and KierBam at Hinkley Point C in Somerset.
Hinkley Point C is currently the largest construction project in Europe. The power station will incorporate two 1650 Megawatt European Pressurised nuclear reactors (EPR), together capable of generating electricity for approximately 5 million homes and a range of shared facilities and is set to generate around 6% of the UK’s electricity, all of which will be low carbon. Situated over a site measuring 2.1km x 2.2km wide (the equivalent to 245 football pitches!) adjacent to the Severn Estuary, HPC is approximately five miles from Bridgwater and the M5.
The earthworks alone, requires the excavation, treatment and reuse of over 6 million m3 of material. Tracking and monitoring the movement of this material is imperative to help ensure the project is delivered on time and within budget.
Using the latest UAV technology to calculate the cut and fill volumes, Skymatics provide regular and accurate surveys of the constantly changing stockpile areas to aid the senior management team in tracking project development. Due to the location and sensitive nature of Hinkley Point C and the existing power stations, meticulous planning goes into every mission. Detailed flight plans are made prior to each mission and all key personal are notified 48 hours before the flight is conducted.
Using our DJI Phantom 4 RTK drone with its 20-megapixel camera and an accurate network of Ground Control Points (GCPs) and Check Points we are able to capture the whole of the stockpile area measuring 145 acres in just 2hrs with a consistent accuracy of less than 30mm.
All our data is processed in-house using Pix4D photogrammetry software by our team of experienced surveyors. This ensures the data is consistent, reliable and accurate.
Once generated the point cloud is exported to other software such as LSS, 3DReshaper or Civil 3D to be analysed, processed and volumes calculated. We also generate orthophotos and video fly-throughs to monitor the historical status of stockpiles and identify different materials.
This project has been and continues to be a great success.
The in-depth surveying knowledge of our team combined with the working understanding of the site results in incredibly valuable, accurate data, that is collected quickly whilst maintaining exceptional safety standards and outputs.
The introduction and use of UAVs to survey stockpiles has increased efficiency and safety onsite. It would have previously taken three surveyors two and half days to conduct the survey that the drone can do within a few hours. Having surveyors on the ground resulted in the heavy plant needing to have been stopped to allow the surveys to be undertaken safely. This in turn decreases productivity and increases cost. However, by using our UAV, the heavy plant can continue to operate whilst the Phantom 4RTK collects the required data from high above, allowing the site operations to continue uninterrupted.
With over 50 hours of flying time now carried out at Hinkley, we look forward to continuing our working relationship with KierBam and hope to fly over the stockpiles for many more hours to come.
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