Ternium will increase drone flights at the plant by 60%. In 2020, approximately 1,200 flights were carried out, and the plan now is to carry out up to 1,920 throughout this year. The decision was made after the positive results were achieved with the use of this technology.
The flights have already prevented fifteen S4 accidents, which are the most severe, and have reduced the cost of roof inspections by approximately R$ 200,000. In addition, there was a 262% increase in the number of structures inspected, from 69 to 250.
The technology and expertise teams of Central Maintenance are carrying out tests of new drones so that they can also work in confined spaces, where there is a greater risk to employees. There is also a test so that the devices can measure the thickness of structures, where it is possible to assess the integrity of the structures and the need for intervention.
CONTROL AND REGULATION
Ternium is close to the Santa Cruz Air Base, which further increases the strictness of flight regulation. “In order to fly a drone professionally, within an industry, a series of certificates and ANAC testing is required (...) We have a ceiling limit and every day we have to go to the SARPAS (Request for Access by Remotely Piloted Aircraft) website and register the procedure”, says Guilherme Mendonça, from Information Technology at Ternium.
TECHNOLOGY AT THE SERVICE OF PREVENTION
“We inspected approximately 250 buildings with roof tiles a year ago with the drones and managed to prevent fifteen S4 accidents, which is the greatest severity (...) With their help it is possible to intervene before the roof tiles fall and cause accidents,” said Breno de Souza, a worker at Central Maintenance.
With routine flights and daily inspections, operators from various sectors were able to transform actions from reactive to preventive and at a lower cost; since to inspect a roof, for example, it was previously necessary to rent scaffolding, wait for assembly and hire a specialized worker.
According to Ternium's Environmental Analyst, Ana Luiza Guilherme, with the images and videos collected by the devices, it is possible to control all areas of the plant, improper access, forest fire spots, mangrove integrity, in addition to spillway and drainage channels in case of rain. According to Ana Luiza, this is also very important to comply with the required testing of the environmental license.
Flying machines have already prevented fifteen S4 accidents.
RECOGNITION AND POSITIVE NUMBERS
The drone-use project was awarded the “Man of Steel” recognition for its services at Ternium. In addition to the benefits in safety and cost reduction, drones have also prevented potential losses in steel production.
According to Souza, there is work carried out in conjunction with the Energy and Utilities team: monitoring the vegetation of the transmission lines. “We monitor the growth of vegetation along the so-called 'right of way', which is where we have the power line, where there can be a short circuit and loss of production with an eventual shutdown of the supply”, he commented.
Some experiments are being carried out by Central Maintenance. The main ones are the use of a specific drone for confined spaces and the measurement of thickness in hard-to-reach places. The expectation is that by the end of the fiscal year, several environments of this type will be inspected in routine flights: “They are silos, chimneys, dangerous places where we will remove a worker and we will also have high-definition images to generate data. This is our focus”, said Breno.