This article was originally published in Geomatics World.
Plowman Craven has been awarded a national framework agreement with the UK's Network Rail for the provision of unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV or 'drone') services. The survey measurement and consultancy firm was one of just four companies to be awarded the contract, which covers the inspection and surveying of railway infrastructure throughout the UK as well as overhead line equipment, structures, bridges and embankments. The award also includes condition inspections following adverse weather or incidents.
David Norris, technical director at Plowman Craven, said: "We’re very proud to have been awarded a place on the framework – it’s great recognition of the value of the services we provide to Network Rail and our expertise in surveying the UK’s rail network. We have already carried out a significant amount of work for clients and contractors using our state-of-the-art Vogel R3D system. Being a main framework holder will enable us to accelerate the provision of these services and help Network Rail solve some of the many challenges across its network.”
Plowman Craven’s Vogel R3D system has garnered a huge amount of interest across the sector, with the company’s CAA-permissions, equipment, highly trained staff and survey expertise enabling the provision of survey data that meets Network Rail’s Band 1 (sub-5mm) accuracy requirements. The framework award also coincides with a major upgrade to the Vogel R3D solution, with new camera systems providing even sharper imagery and more accurate 3D data.
Malcolm Donald, also a director at Plowman Craven who heads up the company’s Rail & Infrastructure division, added “We’re very proud of the fact that our Vogel R3D system has brought considerable programme and cost savings to our clients, as well as reducing the need for track access at some of the busiest locations on the network. We look forward to continuing to work with Network Rail to deliver a data capture process that is safer, quicker, more cost-effective and better able to facilitate forward planning.”
Network Rail operates more than 20,000 miles of track and 40,000 structures, all of which require continual inspection, monitoring, renewal and maintenance. The UAV framework will help to improve the efficiency of managing these assets and reduce the disruption to passengers by removing the need for track closures, as well as improving the safety of workers.
For more information, visit www.plowmancraven.co.uk/services/uav-rail-infrastructure/