Updated: Oct 29, 2021
“We started out with a drone and then realized that we could do a much better job delivering a superior data set, if we started looking at the wind industry outside of the box”. Peter Walper, President of TC UCA.
WHAT DOES THERMAL CAM USA DO FOR WIND?
We’re a drone aerial inspection company, but our forte is that we work with large wind companies, using third party mapping software such as Edge Data and their AI analytics engine, EDDIE. Edge Data allows us to communicate with the onsite superintendent and the back-office engineers, about specific issues, and solve these issues quickly, economically and safely. That communication sets us apart. Having a technology partner like Blade Edge gives us a leg up. Most wind companies have in-house drone divisions or national contracts. Utilizing these resources at a local level, for minor jobs is not economical or timely. We respond to “We’ve just had a hail storm, we think we have issues on these four towers.” Our flight talents and mapping success has given us a higher level of communication, where we understand, our clients field operations to the point we are almost a subset of their company, and can solve these issues, now. WHAT
IS A TYPICAL DAY LIKE FOR YOU AT TC USA?
TC USA covers more markets than wind, although wind is one of our bigger markets. We have flown towers almost since day one. We fly Solar, Utilities, Aggregates and Oilfield.
We work with other software companies to supply data to solve issues or concerns these companies may have. For example, we use an exciting and cutting-edge software developed by ONDAKA. We fly a location or facility and document specific areas photographically. ONDAKA, with their AI systems produces an Augmented virtual reality representation of that site. Clients can view this site, and the equipment on this site, touch the computer screen of an iPad or desktop, in the field or in the office and view any piece of equipment. Touching the screen on say specific motor or valve results in a screen pop-up, detailing motor specs, maintenance records, maintenance protocol, PPE required, safety procedures, any data you require. This data can be presented to our clients, across their different divisions, GIS, maintenance, engineering, purchasing, whoever. Mothusi Pahl, Chief Commercial Officer, recently presented at Rice Alliances Startup Round up at OTC, with ONDAKA winning an award as one of the top-ten most promising Entrepreneurial startups. Similarly, we can fly an underground pipeline and using software, we can find PPM methane leakage with incredible accuracy, within meters. We can provide that data in different formats for our clients to be used in different scenarios, either in the field or in the office. Again, we can upgrade a ground OGI inspections looking for methane leaks either as a commissioning of a final build or for QUADO, regulatory requirements and turn it into a drone aerial inspection and provide, superior data, more economically, and safer. We do software-based analysis in the electrical transmission line market. This or any drone-based data collection is simply faster, safer, and more economical than manual or plane based aerial work even over larger areas. However, delivering this data takes equipment designed for that job, software and trained pilots to fly the job and deliver data in a clear and accurate format that can be used correctly by our clients. That’s what we do, every day.
WHAT MAKES TC USA UNIQUE WHEN ITS COMES TO THE WIND INDUSTRY ?
TC USA is in the neighborhood and open 24/7, available, now. We don’t compete against the national firms. If anything, we compliment them. We understand the wind market and our wind clients. We know what we’re are doing in wind simply because the wind industry has trained us in their procedures and processes. We have also trained them in the various uses of drones. We now have a synergy with our clients, where we are growing together within the changing a wind world. They call, we are there, and we deliver.
HOW DO YOU WORK WITH A CUSTOMER WHEN THEY COME TO YOU WITH A PARTICULAR CHALLENGE?
Sometimes the challenge is simple “we’ve had a hailstorm; we think there are issues on these particular towers. Go fly them”. Sometimes it’s more difficult, “we think we have warranty issues, potential blade failure, because we are seeing this” By defining the scope of work , where Thermal Cam USA, can know exactly what data and information to bring to the table the client can resolve these issues faster and easier within a shorter time frame. We also like to bring more to the table than required. For example, if there is one particular blade needing specific data, we will usually fly the other two blades simply because we want a historical record of what’s going on with that particular tower. Our software allows our client to access this information at any time. Knowledge like this is exponentially powerful.
THE WIND INDUSTRY IS CONSTANTLY EVOLVING. HOW IS TC USA EVOLVING WITH IT?
We evolve by trying to think outside the box. Thermal Cam USA by aligning themselves with software companies is essentially becoming beta test partner with software and wind systems. We started out with a drone and documenting anomalies using RGB. We realized we could do a much better job providing an improved data set if we looked at the wind industry outside of the box. That’s what we have tried to do. We’re pilots but our background is thermography. Understanding thermography and artificial intelligence makes mapping more successful, more detailed and more functionable. By thinking outside the box, we bring a better solution to our clients concerns. Perhaps, we look at a blade thermally rather than optically to bring a better data set. Can we do a thermal test, dynamically or statically? How can we as drone pilots collect that data more efficiently? As we scratch our heads over some of these ideas, the wind energy people are saying OK, let’s do it. The wind companies want to work with us.
WHERE DO YOU SEE WIND IN THE NEXT 10 to 20 YEARS and WHERE IS TC USA’s PLACE IN THAT FUTURE?
Thermal Cam USA is in the middle of the largest wind Energy generation area in USA, Texas. Texas is known for its entrepreneurial people. Texas is passionate, about wind. I think Thermal Cam USA will continue to be in the center of this wind growth curve. Even though Texas is oil and gas, I don’t think Texans are afraid to say, here’s an alternative market and to say, “We’re smart enough to develop it, and let’s partner up with people to help make wind happen”.
TCUSA wants to be part of a cleaner greener Texas tomorrow. Wind has a successful network of people across the USA, and internationally. Some do what we do. Some do it differently. Some have different ideas. But in the wind industry we’re all learning from each other, and that in my opinion is what makes this industry and its growth exciting. This positive environment says let’s build this together rather than let’s compete among ourselves. So, we have two exciting industries, drone aerial and wind power generation, a network of smart people, and a future that’s unlimited.
That's exciting. TC USA is proud to part of this industry.
Please contact us to discuss how we can help you with your wind-based inspections.