How Engineering Practices are Transforming the Resources and Construction Industries
A Western Australian firm is pushing the engineering industry to adopt new technology for structural audits – and in the process, improve safety and potentially save millions of dollars.
Yenem Engineering Services has a strong focus on the integration of technology to their services in order to help prevent injury and minimise shutdown time and financial losses for companies it works with.
“The resources industry experiences safety issues, at times brought on by a lack of preventative maintenance and regular structural audits.,” said Director of Yenem Engineering Services Dave Meney.
“The importance of structural audits should not be understated, in fact they can save both the lives of workers and millions of dollars in downtime and repairs,” he said.
“For example, a failed gantry bridge at a mine in WA was the blame for the death of a boilermaker just last year. A report into the incident found the gantry bridge had deteriorated due to corrosion and could no longer support itself.”
Many structural audits are limited by a company’s ability to get physically close to a structure, but Yenem are using innovation to get around the issue.
“In the NSW mining town of Cobar we recently used abseiling as a way of accessing otherwise inaccessible areas.”
Yenem is also adding drones to its inspection artillery to get at otherwise inaccessible places.
“The drones we use can handle 70 km/h winds, and can get to all of the places a human can’t safely,” said Mr Meney.
The company is also implementing market leading practices in its reporting.
“We wrote an iPad app, so now we go on site and take photos and put them in our report in pdf form. We write the report there and then,” he explained.
“A client can have a report within days complete with a risk matrix and practical recommendations. Our clients can save on shutdown time if solutions are delivered quickly.”
The company is also working towards a fully interactive report that clients can immerse themselves in.
“You‘ll be able to view a 3-D model on a web browser and as you move around the model, you can see hi-res photographs, even a report page with a recommendation and a risk rating. So, it becomes an interactive report, that people would enjoy using.
“You can then really involve and engage the people in the conference room, they can actually see the problem, rather than be looking through a 100-page report. We can be there with them, using video conferencing software like Zoom, answering any queries they have.”
It’s part of a wider plan that Mr Meney hopes to introduce to the mining sector, where Yenem provides a full 3D database of a site’s structures and loads, for ongoing management of the structures during their design life.
“The client will essentially have a ‘digital twin’ of each structure, with which we can quickly assess the safety of a structure that has deteriorated, or been modified, or damaged.
“A preventative structural maintenance program will definitely save money over the long-term as well as significantly reduce unplanned shutdown time and monetary loss to companies.
How Yenem is providing innovation in the structural audit process:
- Abseiling: Skilled staff ensuring Yenem are able to reach more areas for structural analysis, meaning more thorough reporting.
- Drones: Deploying UAV’s (drones) to access all areas for inspection and structural modelling.
- Fast reports: Use of iPad and custom reporting infrastructure in the field, reducing turnaround times and shutdown losses.
- 3D modelling: Fully immersive reporting system, to provide in-depth analysis of potential structural issues on site.