Whether they carry pipes, people, or produce, tunnels are a vital part of infrastructure across several sectors; now digital tunnel inspection is transforming how they are maintained. Numerous tunnels stretch across vast distances and form important parts of supply chains and domestic life, and as such their construction and upkeep are highly imperative.
Now inspectors are choosing to employ mobile devices and paperless inspection solutions to carry out safety inspection, pre-start test checks and general compliance audit. For any form of tunnel inspection, the message from the industry is clear – a powerful tool that is both versatile and future-proof is needed; digital inspection solutions might just be the answer. Taking advantage of features such as the device camera to take pictures and scan barcodes/RFID, or speech-to-text services to record information much quicker, mobile devices have a whole host of functions. For tunnel inspectors an important part of carrying out any form of review or examination is being able to demonstrate compliance in line with certain industry regulations or standards, as well as being able to see a historical track record of performance. Being able to do this allows field personnel to see the return on investment, the progression of tunnel performance and whether there have been any historical safety issues that should be considered during any future inspection.
Whilst tunnel inspections have long been undertaken using pen and paper inspection methods, the invention of intrinsically safe mobile devices has revolutionised the inspection industry. Already used in the mining and oil and gas fields, both considered hazardous environments from an intrinsic safety point of view, the inspection via mobile device can now transform tunnel inspection. With intrinsically safe mobile devices, inspectors can take a paperless inspection solution into the action during the dustiest of construction phases, or even a damp section with a rugged and waterproof device. It’s also obvious to point out the benefit of mobile devices not needing another lighting solution to carry out the inspection and fill in the checklist, as is the ability to use things such as the device flashlight at the same time as the inspection solution. With reference material in the form of pdfs, manuals and or previous inspection reports being attached to each checklist, the inspector can be sure to have all the necessary information needed at the time of inspection available to them.