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Reduced Risk, Remarkable Results: How Danella is Using Drones

Danella is no stranger to the benefits of airborne drones. For several years now, our Pennsylvania Construction division has used drones in pre-construction inspections to identify potential jobsite hazards and obstacles. As a result, inspections have become more efficient and more exhaustive.

But drones’ benefits don’t stop at imaging. In recent months, Danella successfully capitalized on another drone capability: Transport. The result is a win-win for a national telecommunications client, their customers, and our Danella team.

A familiar request – and a creative response

In summer of 2021, a telecommunications client asked Danella for a plan to replace fiber optic cabling extending from the Pennsylvania side of the Delaware River to the New York side – a distance greater than 600 feet. Up to this point, Danella completed such jobs using CO2-powered string shooters, bows and arrows, or boats. But those approaches have drawbacks.

“Shooters and bows and arrows have strong potential for failure and for injury to workers, and boats are cost prohibitive,” explains Danella Line Services Company Area Manager Andrew DeFlavis.

He had an idea.

“Having used drone technology in the past to complete inspections and structural analysis of communications facilities, I knew its transport capabilities. If we used a drone for transport in this scenario, we could potentially complete the project in less time while reducing risk of employee injury.”

The plan took off – literally. On September 8th, 2021, with client approval, Danella attached lightweight fishing line to the base of a DJI Mavic 2 Zoom drone. Lifting off from Pennsylvania, the drone flew the fishing line across the river, allowing Danella to pull mule string back and establish a pull line for traveling the fiber safely and securely across the mighty Delaware – all in a matter of minutes.

 

“Normally this job takes at least six hours to complete. Using the drone, it was done in under an hour,” DeFlavis says.

 

Drones: Here for good

 

Danella plans to use drones in more transport scenarios in 2022, and we’ll continue to look for opportunities to improve safety, efficiency, and results via drone technology moving forward.

Looking to tap Danella for an inspection or installation that enlists drones? Contact us at 610-828-6200 and ask for Andrew DeFlavis or Bob Brust.