HEMAV carries out an exhaustive inspection of one of the most important industrial heritages in Catalonia, the three chimneys of Besós

28/02/2018

The works have been carried out thanks to an innovative indoor inspection technique with the latest generation drones, which have obtained excellent results 

in terms of durability and quality.

The historic thermal power station of San Adrià is a construction located at the mouth of the Besós River, which was put into operation in 1913. During the Spanish Civil War, the plant played a really important role as it supplied electricity to the entire city of Barcelona, which led to its subsequent bombardment and destruction. During the 1970s, a new thermal power plant was built with three chimneys of 200 m each and more than 22,000 m², which was in operation until a new less polluting plant was installed. Today, the complex of the three chimneys has been declared to be of Local Cultural Interst due, in large part, to the particular design of its construction and it is expected to be put to new uses for the town.

FHECOR s a structural engineering company that took over the tower’s conservation and reuse project, owned by ENDESA. The project consists of the formulation of a methodology allowing to obtain precise information to determine a maintenance strategy for the durability of the structure. When the planning began, they soon realised that the building’s characteristics required special resources to meet the objectives set, and this is how the company HEMAV Technology, S.L became part of the project  providing the innovation and specific technology that the project required, as the company has extensive experience in the inspection of large structures.

This technology consists of an innovative RPAS platform capable of carrying out indoor inspections by approaching the most interesting points of interest, without entering into conflict with possible obstacles such as walls, beams or pillars. In addition, thanks to an innovative lighting system, the drone is able to orient itself through light points, so that it can easily inspect the important points of the structure in difficult to reach areas such as ducts, chimneys or towers.

According to Fernando Rodríguez García, Director of the Knowledge Management Department at FHECOR, “from the beginning of the project we realised that innovative systems such as drone inspection were necessary, which has allowed us to tackle the project in record time”. But speed is not the only advantage of using this type of technology:”The quality of the inspection is vital. You can’t get a proper diagnosis if you don’t have accurate information that allows you to develop effective strategies”, adds Rodriguez. The fact is that the use of drone technology during inspection processes increases safety and entails far fewer occupational risks, as operators do not have to carry out works at height; moreover, the use of this type of technologies in the digital location of points considerably reduces production costs.

Once this data is located, HEMAV delivers a report consisting of a map and the exact measurement of the damages to the interior concrete structure such as oxidation of metallic elements, structural damage, delamination of the structure, detachments, etc. After determining these damages, FHECOR can identify the causes of these potential damages and thus extend the useful life of the structure in the future, helping ENDESA to define subsequent strategies for the repair, maintenance and conservation this symbol of the city. y