Maintenance activities in hydropower plants boosted by aerial and underwater photography

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Mikko Arola ja Taisto Partanen säätävät kameraa vedenalaiseen kuvaukseenDeveloping technology offers new, and sometimes surprising, possibilities to improve industrial maintenance. Taisto Partanen and Mikko Arola work for Maintpartner, and take care of the operation and maintenance of two hydropower plants in the river Lieksanjoki, Finland, for the company Kemijoki Oy. They decided to investigate the possibility to use drones and underwater cameras at the hydropower plants. Now the drone and underwater photography is used during the maintenance reviews for checking the impact of erosion and other abrasion in the waterways as well as the buildings and equipment.

- Remote-controlled drones seemed to be a good alternative in assisting with the operation and maintenance activities at a hydropower plant. Therefore we suggested the customer that we’d try drone photography at one of the plants, says work planner Mikko Arola.

- There is no need any more to send employees to high places for inspections. With a drone that can be done quickly and safely. The quality of the photo is excellent and even the smallest details can be seen clearly, describes Ahola.

Apart from condition monitoring, the ice and water levels in the surrounding waterways are followed with help of drones.
- Drone photography is of help especially in the spring when the snow melts. We can evaluate the situation and be ready for diversion, says Arola.

At a hydropower dam, condition monitoring takes place mostly under water. Using an underwater camera instead of a diver saves some 5-6 hours, which is the time that it takes for a diver to arrive. Another advantage is that a camera fits in tight places and allows quick control of suspected problems.
- With a camera we can reach the object easily. We can also record sound, which helps to interpret the type of the fault.

Maintpartner and Kemijoki Oy started their cooperation at the river Lieksanjoki for almost a decade ago.
- Maintpartner’s staff is multi-talented and easily available, which we appreciate, as well as the clarity of their daily activities, says Sami Soudunsaari, Power Plant Manager at Kemijoki Oy.


Dronen kameraohjain

Photo: By connecting a smartphone to the handheld remote control unit you can see on-screen exactly what the drone is viewing.

Jää- ja vesitilanteen kehittymistä tarkkaillaan yläilmoista

Photo: The ice and water condition can be viewed from above.

Photo above: Mikko Arola and Taisto Partanen adjust the camera for underwater photography.

Videos in Youtube:
Inspecting a dam with an underwater camera
Drone checks the surroundings of a hydropower plant

Further information:

Taisto Partanen, Team Leader, Maintpartner Finland
+358 (0)400 813474, taisto.partanen [at]

Heikki Iitti, Service manager, Hydropower, Maintpartner Finland
+358 (0)40 869 1090, heikki.iitti [at]