Improving stockpile measurement efficiency, labor safety, man hours, & revenue savings
Drone technology: an industry tech so ubiquitous many have come to associate drones with construction by default. Drone tech has been attributed with reducing labor, saving time, increasing money, and adding value, but real life examples are often less likely given. Sister companies Whitaker Contracting and Madison Materials, however, have put exact numbers to the time, money, and labor saved via the Whitaker Drone Stockpile Cost Savings report published by Kespry.
Whitaker Contracting and Madison Materials agreed to incorporate the software company’s automated drone system into their procedures and processes. The report was thereby composed as part of a construction tech case study instrumented by Kespry to quantify the real-world impact of drone tech in the industry. The results Whitaker Contracting found are as follows:
- A 22% reduction in cost
- Stockpile inspection increased by as much as 2X the rate it was being performed
- Time spent on stockpile inspections decreased 4X
- Worker safety on a project increased dramatically
- Inventory increased from being performed three or four times a year to being performed monthly
Kespry’s case study on drone tech in a real-life construction environment has so far proven efficiency in cost savings, time, labor, and more. The construction company also saw an increase in accurate measurements and readings. Typically, the company surveyed stockpiles of topsoil stripping with the most up-to-date survey equipment on the market.
In one instance, the company’s quantity for topsoil stripping measured 4,449 cubic yards. It took them 35 minutes to work this number out. Using drone tech, they received a quantity of 4,469 cubic yards. It took the drone just two minutes to make those measurements. That’s a difference of 20 yards and almost a half hours’ time saved. The accuracy of the data plus the saved man hours/labor speaks to the efficiency of technology and its place in the field.
The case study also set out to prove its simplicity, with many construction companies adverse to the difficulty of new technology. For Whitaker Contracting, deploying the drone on the field was simple. First, one must establish a geofence according to their parameters and program the area in which they want the drone to capture footage.
The drone is then fed information such as how high it can fly and how sharp the imagery captured needs to be, which controls the quantity of photos taken. The drone calculates its own flight path based upon the geofence parameters set up and other external variables to optimize its course. Once a landing area is secured, the drone is allowed to take flight and flies itself before landing itself, too. The end result is a stream of information sent directly to the users’ preferred device of choice, where the full flight is documented and all associated imagery is downloaded from the drone.
Overall, Whitaker Contracting saw an impressive reduction in costs, increased the rate of their stockpile inspection, and saved time. Among those benefits, they also noted how integral drone tech is to worker safety on the field. Prior to drone tech, the company could log endless hours over the course of three to four days walking construction sites, manually inspecting 500 pieces of equipment per day, climbing up and down stockpiles, figuring out how to separate rocks from cliff faces, and battling outside elements. With the introduction of drone tech, the responsibility of accomplishing those tasks is delegated to the drones, which, as Whitaker Contracting says, is a huge alleviation to the physical demands of the job.
Technology is meant to aid whatever industry it is being utilized in. The case of construction is no different. Being able to efficiently and accurately take care of volumetrics, link customers to projects in real-time and allow them to see the data and history of a project, and generally make the construction site a more connected, integrated, and tangible thing is something many construction companies are finding beneficial.