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26-04-2022

Spie Netherlands’ experiences with H2O Drones

Written by Karst Beens

One of the most common inspections for our drones, is inspecting water infrastructure. We are talking about locks, sheet piles, bridge piers, and everything that is underwater. These inspections – often commissioned by the Department of Public Works or Dutch municipalities – are done by various companies, including Spie Nederland. We went along with Arjen Geelhoed, superintendent at Spie Nederland, and Mario Bergman, drone pilot at Spie Nederland, to an inspection of the Middensluis in IJmuiden. There we talked about the cooperation between H2O Drones and Spie.

 

Spie is a global multi-technology service provider and partner of H2O Drones. They too use our drone, the DTG3 from Deep Trekker. “We use the drone mainly when inspecting locks and lock gates,” says Arjen Geelhoed, performer at Spie. Geelhoed has been using Deep Trekker’s DTG3 for inspections for a while now. “It is fully integrated into the work process. We use it weekly during inspections and often for a few days in a row. Especially if they are large inspections.”

 

H2O Drones and Spie in cooperation
Now both H2O Drones and Spie work partially in the same sector, but we were not yet well acquainted with each other. Of course we knew Spie, but not vice versa. Thanks to a common partner, we came into contact with each other. “I started looking on the Internet for underwater drones that we could deploy,” explains Geelhoed. “I saw that RPS was already using underwater drones and after a phone call I heard that they were very satisfied with the drones and service. Then I learned which company was behind the drones: H2O Drones. Soon I had contact with Karst Beens, director of H2O Drones. After some conversations we started an enthusiastic cooperation.”

Geelhoed reveals that they also worked with an underwater drone before, but that the quality of the drone, the service of the company and the communication were not what Spie was looking for. “I won’t say too much about it, but it wasn’t for us. Parts and maintenance took way too long; it was all just a hassle,” says Geelhoed. “With you guys, it’s the opposite. The service is very fast and reliable. Suppose our drone is broken and we have no time to repair it, then we can get a replacement model from you. That assurance is very nice and reassuring, especially if you have a busy schedule or an important inspection coming up. Or we can ask if you can do the inspection for us. All no problem.”

 

“With the DTG3, we can execute everything very quickly, without the additional safety checks required.”
– Executive Arjen Geelhoed of Spie Nederland

The DTG3

The DTG3 is a relatively small and maneuverable underwater drone from Deep Trekker. H2O Drones is the officially certified retailer of all Deep Trekker products in the Netherlands. Equipped with a 4K low-light camera, clear and sharp images are a guarantee. Perfect for clear and deep water, such as that near locks. The work in itself with the drone also offers a significant plus. “With the DTG3, we can do everything very quickly, without the additional safety checks required. This allows us to meet our deadlines more easily. After all, fines are quickly incurred if a project takes too long. Also, the drone can be deployed quickly, so we can act immediately in the event of a malfunction report, for example.”

As with all of Deep Trekker’s other drones and crawlers, the DTG3 is controllable from the side via a controller. “You can move up and down with the camera and move horizontally and vertically with the drone. That gives a lot of possibilities, but can be a bit confusing at first.” Geelhoed emphasizes that it’s mainly an advantage. “The precise descending and sailing back to the surface is very nice for this kind of inspection. You then have to master the controls, but there is a handout with the drone and we received training in this from H2O Drones. Once you get the hang of the controls, it really works perfectly. The small size of the drone also makes inspections easy. Simple and efficient.”

 

“Dit lost simpelweg ons probleem op met inspecties”
– Dronepiloot Mario Bergman bij Spie Nederland

 

Future

Spie has been using H2O Drones’ underwater drones for a while now, but are there any plans for the future?
“We are satisfied with this model for now. It meets everything we need. But if a client like the Department of Public Works says they want to see more of inspections with, for example, sonar or other objects that are difficult to see, then expanding to a second drone will be highly likely,” says Geelhoed.

According to Mario Bergman, drone pilot at Spie Nederland, what is missing now is moving laterally along a wall with the DTG3. “This makes inspecting an entire wall a bit less efficient. It is possible with other drones from H2O Drones, though, so who knows if we’ll purchase a second drone.”

 

Satisfied?
“Yes, we are super happy with the drone” , says Bergman. “This simply solves our problem with inspections. And should there be a problem with the drone, which by the way we haven’t had yet, we know that we will be helped quickly by a service provider in the Netherlands. This saves a lot compared to suppliers abroad.”

 

 


Do you have questions about our cooperation with Spie? Or our work with the drones in general? Contact us here.

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