Stoen Operator scans overhead power lines

Stoen Operator is implementing an innovative project to create a 3D model of high-voltage overhead lines. In collaboration with Vimap, it scans the network from a helicopter. The information provided will be used to monitor hard-to-reach areas and increase energy sustainability.

The first stage of high-voltage overhead line scanning was carried out on October 1, 2021. Equipped with a specialized network device diagnostic system, the helicopter mapped 90 km of the network, mainly in the eastern part of Warsaw, in one working day. The next flight is scheduled for the second half of 2022.

– At present, as part of the project, we have scanned a quarter of high-voltage overhead lines at once. Due to the characteristics of the Warsaw network, ie a relatively small network centered around the city, flights are easier. The only restrictions may come from areas such as airports or military areas that require special permits. For example, some of the high-voltage lines owned by Stoen Operator are close enough to Warsaw Okęcie Airport that flights over this area should be carried out in close contact with air traffic controllers. – said Styen Operator’s Network Standards Specialist Szymon Pomykała.

Vimap specializes in mapping electrical networks. Thanks to reports from this company, the Warsaw distribution network operator shortens the time to update inventory. It will also expand the ability of the field worker to assess the technical condition of out-of-sight elements, conduct network analysis for changing conditions (eg cable temperature), and even create tree fall simulations.

– We use different types of helicopters equipped with special measuring equipment to get information about the infrastructure. The configuration of the system installed in the helicopter is always adapted and adapted to the objectives of the project and the type of infrastructure tested. In addition to advanced equipment, the project includes our own special vMatic software to manage the supplied data. Provides visualization and integration of received data. In addition, this solution automatically detects close plans and very small distances with the given parameters – Krzysztof Tkocz from Vimap.

Innovative network diagnostic system

A technologically advanced system consisting of several measuring devices is used to scan the network configuration and the devices installed on it. High-resolution cameras capture individual elements of the infrastructure and take very detailed, high-quality photos, which are then processed with special software. In this way, inter alia, it is possible to quickly detect faults and violations that could lead to failures and interruptions in the supply of electricity to our customers.

Thanks to the use of laser scanning technology (lidar), a 3D model of the line and its surroundings is created. Using a three-dimensional description of the area, photographs and analysis tools, it is possible to accurately identify areas that do not meet regulatory distance requirements, such as trees or buildings. This information allows you to take appropriate technical measures to minimize network security risks.

Working with Vimap does not mean that the visual inspections of “classic” employees are stopped. As the representatives of the Stoen Operator are convinced, it is better to thoroughly assess the foundation and lower parts of the pole during the pedestrian inspections carried out on these devices once a year. On the other hand, helicopter scanning of the line allows a more accurate assessment of the condition of infrastructure elements that are out of sight of the field worker. Thus, the best solution is to assess the technical condition of network devices in a hybrid model.

Infrastructure monitoring using digital tools

This is not the first high-voltage overhead line scan project. Stoen Operator has already mapped medium and low voltage overhead lines using drones. They have also been used by the Emergency Management Agency as a support tool for assessing emergencies and planned events in areas that are difficult for field workers to reach. It should be noted that all these activities are also part of the E.ON Group’s broader strategy, one of the three pillars of which is digitalization based on the increasing use of digital solutions for infrastructure monitoring.

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