Chile-based operator Ecocopter is working with metallurgical and electrical infrastructure company bbosch to optimise the cleaning of electrical insulators in Chile's electric power distribution network. The use of helicopters facilitates faster access to high and medium voltage electrical transmission lines, uses between 60-85 per cent less water and it is estimated that it is 500 per cent more effective than the traditional terrestrial method.
“For us it is a great milestone to incorporate this technology in Chile," says head of business development José Tomás Díaz. "We acquired a washing system with international and exclusive certification to install it on any helicopter in our AS350 fleet, in addition to training our crews with experts from Europe. With this, we aim to have a world-class technical and human capacity, in order to carry out a job of excellence in terms of productivity, efficiency and prevention of occupational risks, responding to the needs of our clients safely and in the expected times.”
Although already an established practice in Europe, Africa and North America, this is the first time that this technique has been deployed in Latin America, and the method will significantly improve the efficiency of cleaning 35,501 km of electrical lines over a distance of 3,100 km in Chile.
Once installed on the helicopter, the washing process is controlled by an operator who is positioned on the side of the helicopter. The system tank fills with demineralised water and the helicopter flies to the electrical lines. Once there, the aircraft is located on one side of the tower and the line is washed by means of a turret that shoots water under pressure on the insulator, eliminating the dirt and the residue accumulated by pollution, the passage of the time and the high levels of salinity that occur in the north of the country.
For operators like Ecocopter, this adaptability is extremely important. Díaz explains: "We offer an important range of services to our customers, which is why we need a helicopter that is versatile enough to perform each one of them with world-class performance. Our fleet of H125 is crucial for us because it constantly offers optimal results."
“The alliance with Ecocopter reinforces our vision of innovation and exploration of new business in order to be more competent with our customers. We are specialists in the industry, and we incorporate into our processes solutions that integrate quality, compliance and innovation to respond in a sustainable way to the needs of a connected, competitive and dynamic world. We will carry out the cleaning of high voltage line insulators with the highest electrical and aeronautical safety standards in the market,” adds bbosch manager of planning, development and new business Pablo Bosch Kreis.