Bridge and smokestack inspection

Drones are replacing traditional methods for inspecting smokestacks.


Smokestacks must undergo regular inspections. Traditionally, these visual inspections are conducted by workers who rappel down the wall, which is a slow and tedious method. In order to speed up the survey and generate more information, CIMA+ was mandated to conduct a drone survey of the two smokestacks on the Glencore site, one of which, at 400 feet, is the tallest in Québec. Access to the Glencore site calls for tighter safety measures, and this is even more important when using a drone. CIMA+ spent several days working to obtain all of the necessary authorizations from Transport Canada and the smelter plant administration. Using the drone allowed CIMA+ to conduct a survey of the smokestacks safely in only four hours. In addition, the photos obtained during the inspection are perpendicular to the wall, which allows for greater detail to be obtained by enlarging the image. The traditional method only allows for the taking of photographs at an angle, because the climbers must hold the camera at arm’s length.

We obtained 1,160 high-definition photos, along with a point cloud of the smokestack, which allowed us to look at the changes in the structure of the smokestack over several years.

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