MSD: Rooftop Inspections using 4k and Thermal Imaging


MSD is a pharmaceutical manufacturer, particularly notable for creation and distribution of COVID-19 vaccinations. MSD’s innovation centre is in Milton Keynes and covers a site area of nearly 5,000 square meters. Management and security of the facility is of course paramount to the successful and continued operation of the business.

Drone in a Box Use Case

MSD approached Herotech8 to understand how an Autonomous Drone Station could support and improve the management of the facility, particularly focusing on site security and building maintenance.

The security team have been able to dramatically reduce the time taken to complete full site surveillance, whilst also managing to notably increase the frequency of those patrols. As such visibility on all areas of the site is now far easier to maintain and manage, keeping individuals and assets more secure more of the time.

On top of the security functions of the system, the facility management function of the business is using the drone station to regularly conduct inspections on building condition, rooftop integrity, and pipeline assessments. By removing the need for manual inspections, the risks and costs involved have been completely removed. The ability to conduct these inspections far more quickly and regularly also means that potential issues can be addressed far sooner or even prevented altogether, saving huge costs on building management. One particular benefit that MSD have identified is within the quality and integrity assessment of their pipelines on site. Historically this was an incredibly labour and time intensive process, however by utilising the thermal imaging camera on their drone, they can easily detect defects and weaknesses in the pipe systems purely via thermal leakage. Through this element of the system usage alone, the cost savings have more than covered the implementation costs of the system in the first place.

Wider Applications

MSD have demonstrated dramatic cost savings across their site operations and as such are looking at the potential to roll out autonomous drone stations across more of their sites. They are also keen to explore further applications on the sites, such as stock and inventory management inside the warehouse facility, using the drones to inspect materials being held, saving time, and improving accuracy.

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