Transmission and Substation Digital Asset Management Solution for SSEN

Case Study

Transmission and Substation Digital Asset Management Solution for SSEN

As part of our framework with Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks (SSEN), Cyberhawk provides inspection and digital asset management solutions for the SSEN transmission overhead line and substation network in Scotland.  

In addition to our highly skilled pilots and detailed engineering knowledge, Cyberhawk was selected by SSEN because of our pioneering asset management software, iHawk. This began life in 2012 as a cloud-based visual asset management solution, focused on tranmission lines.

Over the last six years, iHawk has been significantly developed to encompass additional functionality such as the generation and execution of maintenance work orders, assisting in the management of electricity, safety, quality and continuity regulations (ESQCR) and the asset management of substations. The software has also been further developed and can now be used with tablets in the field, as well as from a desk. 

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The scope 

SSEN high-voltage transmission network (132kV – 400kV) includes more than 11,000 towers and 120 substation sites. Within SSEN, Cyberhawk’s services include:  

Detailed UAV tower inspections each year  

Provision of ruggedized tablet computers, with software for SSEN lines persons to complete the following: 

  • Ground or climbing condition inspections  
  • ESQCR inspections  
  • Repair and maintenance work orders  

Provision of ruggedized tablet computers, with software for SSEN fitters to complete the following at substations: 

  • Asset specific condition inspections  
  • ESQCR inspections 
  • Site security inspection 
  • Oil risk inspections 
  • Repair and maintenance work orders  

Provision of a cloud based visual asset management system, iHawk, which: 

  • Hosts all new inspection information from UAVs, lines persons and fitters  
  • Hosts legacy inspection information from historic sources such as spreadsheets and helicopter patrols 
  • Allows inspection information to be queried, and the generation of repair and maintenance works orders 
  • Hosts ESQCR data allowing identification of high risk sites 
  • Provides ability to find the tower location using distance to fault information 
  • Provides analytic network data

UAV tower inspection 

Our inspection solution involves a two-man team, consisting of a pilot and an industry-qualified engineer, mobilizing on-site to capture the visual data required using a UAV. Whilst the pilot is flying, the engineer views what the UAV sees on a separate screen in real-time, to ensure the required data is being captured. 

The benefits of using UAVs for transmission inspection include: 

  • Significant cost reductions, thanks to the speed of inspection and reduced downtime 
  • Reduced safety risks, by removing the need to work at height, near live lines or in generally hazardous areas 
  • The ability to quickly gain a huge volume of highly detailed imagery  
  • Engineers reporting to an agreed defect standard, meaning one centralized, consistent approach 

Powerline Inspections

Data capture in the field 

Not all inspections on SSEN networks are completed by UAVs. Every year, SSEN lines persons also complete condition assessments on towers by ground patrols and climbing inspections, and ESQCR inspections. At SSEN substations, fitters also complete condition assessments, site risk inspections and ESQCR inspections. 

To ensure these inspections are completed to a high standard and data is captured consistently with photographic evidence to show each defect, Cyberhawk developed iHawk, software to be used on ruggedized tablets in the field by SSEN’s lines persons and fitters.  

The software is intuitive, easy to use and has been created specifically to deal with outdoor condition inspections in the field.  

All data is captured in the same format, hosted on the iHawk cloud viewer and used to generate repair and maintenance work orders. These work orders are in turn sent to tablet computers in the field for completion. Once SSEN lines persons have executed the work, images are taken of the repaired component and uploaded back into iHawk for manager approval, maintaining an up-to-date asset condition database. This technology creates ‘one source of truth’, meaning that lines persons in the field are seeing exactly the same data as an asset manager back in an office. 

iHawk in action 

The key advantage of iHawk is its ability to convert a huge volume of data into powerful and easy to navigate management information, for improved decision-making and decision justification.  

Displaying the data on iHawk also gives an at-a-glance view of the asset portfolio, using a map-based interface to highlight location, and colour coded reporting matrix to highlight defect status. This helps simplify the asset management process, allowing managers to focus on operational work. 

Additionally, the data captured using iHawk and iSim (our software development specifically for substation asset management) will be integrated into a new asset management system being deployed with in SSEN.   

Ian Gray, Head of Transmission Operations and Maintenance at SSEN said: “SSEN has been working with Cyberhawk since 2009, and our confidence in the team’s ability continues to grow. Not only are the experienced pilots able to safely and efficiently capture an extremely intricate level of detail, but the addition of iHawk means we have fit-for-purpose, intuitive asset management software. We regularly refer to the data contained in iHawk to make decisions and develop maintenance schedules.”

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Check out the gallery below to see a few examples of iHawk in action.

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