A successful project at the Ingula pumped storage scheme in the Little Drakensberg escarpment in KwaZulu-Natal has resulted in leading rope access expert Skyriders Access Specialists (Pty) Ltd. clinching a similar project at the Drakensberg and Ingula pumped storage schemes, as well as the Gariep hydro power station on the banks of the Orange River near Norvalspont in the Eastern Cape.
Periodic inspection of the various schemes by specialised structural, civil or mechanical teams has required Skyriders to deploy some of its highest qualified and most experienced technicians to provide the necessary assistance and access, comments Marketing Manager Mike Zinn.
“A challenge presented by these pumped storage schemes is that we have to take the Mine Health & Safety Act into consideration, which provides for additional regulations and provisions that we need to comply with. It is quite a strict process, but we have been well-guided by the client’s own safety team in this regard,” explains Zinn.
While this represents one of the most challenging industrial environments that Skyriders has been involved with to date, the contract is a significant extension of the inspection, repair and access work that the company has carried out for electricity utility Eskom over the years at the bulk of its coal fired power-station fleet.
Zinn reveals that Skyriders is keen to introduce the possibility if using its Elios SkyEye drone system to carry out inspection work at these pumped storage schemes, which will not only mean less time taken, but reduce the risk for all personnel involved as well. “We are currently arranging for a demonstration of our drone service as the first step in the approval process in order to be able to deploy this technology in such an environment,” concludes Zinn.