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11-05-2021

Can locks be inspected with an ROV? Yes of course!

Written by Karst Beens

Avoid obstructing locks!

Locks are essential assets that ensure a smooth flow and accessibility of the Dutch waterways. It is of great importance that locks function properly to avoid disruption on the waterway.

The importance of underwater drone inspections at locks:

Preventive inspection is always one of our most important principles. By performing an inspection before a problem occurs, you can save a lot of money and time. As mentioned before, locks are of great importance in the waterways, but what can go wrong with a lock that makes it (temporarily) unusable?

There can be a lot of foreign soil materials that get into the lock:

  • Materials falling from a ship;
  • Materials thrown into the water;
  • Materials dislodged from existing soil protection.

Often the bottom of a lock is filled with inlaid stones in a concrete floor. Propeller blasts from passing ships occasionally cause stones to come loose. A loose stone in itself is not a problem, as long as it does not hit one of the rebates of the lock doors. If foreign matter enters the rebate of the lock gate, the lock gate may not close or may not close completely. This will result in a malfunction and often an obstruction of the lock.

Shipping will be obstructed and great economic damage will occur!

 

Preventive vs. corrective inspection:

With our ROVs – which are equipped with a Forward Looking Sonar – the user is able to detect preventively and possibly remove. The Sonar scans the entire floor of the lock chamber for foreign materials in a short period of time. Immediately after an object has been located we take a closer look at it with our underwater drone and analyze how this object can be removed. Often the object can also be salvaged using the underwater drone with aids without hindrance to shipping.

If removal is not possible with one of our drones, the client can choose to remove the materials in another way, for example using a crane vessel or divers.

In addition, the underwater drones with sonar can be used for periodic condition surveys, for example to inspect the lock walls, but also the fences and pipelines. In the lock chamber we can also check drowning ladders and perform sheet piling inspections in the outer harbors!

Preferably you work preventively rather than correctively. After all, prevention is better than cure! But what if this is no longer possible?

If it is already too late to inspect preventively because problems have occurred, we can still help you! We can assess the extent of problems, provide reporting and help with damage reports. With over 30 years of expertise in marine construction and assets underwater, we can provide advice if needed.

 

So what are the benefits of a drone during lock inspections?

By using sonar, underwater inspections can always be made, even in turbid water. In addition, (anomalous/unfamiliar objects) can be detected more quickly than with a camera or a pair of eyes. The data can be viewed live or reviewed and analyzed at a later stage using smart programs. This allows you to look at images with several people and come to a common conclusion.

For safety, the use of a drone is also a big advantage. No deployment of people under water where it is not strictly necessary! No disturbance on the waterway due to the deployment of a diving team. When you own a drone, you can inspect with a drone at any time of the day. Shipping does not have to deal with this and the drone also does not have an on-call basis which means you have to wait longer. This makes periodic inspection very easy!


Do you want to know more about inspecting locks? Would you like to purchase a drone yourself or take our advice as experts? Then get in touch with us! Always stay up to date with our developments by following us on one of our social media channels: Linkedin, Facebook and YouTube!