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Intake Gate Inspection with an ROV

Brendan Cook   |   August 24, 2017

Remotely Operated Vehicles performing an intake gate inspection allows plant managers and 3rd party inspection companies to quickly respond to situations.

As a power producer, it’s important to keep the dam functioning at top performance. As the second largest producer of energy for the world2, it is the hydro dam's responsibility to provide consistent power when it is most important to the grid. This is a complex job though when accounting for rainfall and many other factors – it’s important that the dam operates as functioned each time a change needs to be made.

This is not always the case. Far too often, gates do not close properly or a trash rack becomes clogged, blocking the flow of water. That is why utilities trust to have a Deep Trekker ROV on staff for immediate monitoring of what is happening in their plant.

Underwater Drone Intake Gate Inspection

The Deep Trekker ROV is an immediate deployment tool to have at the ready, so there is no waiting to simply understand what is going on! From case to inspection, the setup time in under 30 seconds.

This tool is not only used by the producers themselves, but also the service companies that come in to perform inspections and maintenance. Having an inspection ROV greatly reduces cost and time to complete the inspection, and provides a value-add for the client to document an area requiring maintenance before and after work is completed.

So what sort of things would be done with an ROV at a hydro plant?

Time and time again, we hear our customers say they use the ROV to take a look at their gates.

intake gate inspection diagram


Intake or control gates bring in the water from the reservoir to the penstock. As a utility trying to isolate the penstock and the gate won’t close or open all the way, this will affect the efficiency of the dam. An ROV is immediately deployed to see if there is something in the way of the gate closing or preventing the winch system for moving the gate.




Not only for the intake gates, the turbine wicket gates are also inspected by the DTG2 ROV. The turbine wicket gates control the flow of water passing through the turbine, and therefore the amount of power that is being produced.

Not sure why a turbine isn’t working at peak performance? With the turbine off, a quick check will provide additional information that you need to assess and make a plan of attack. Because of the small size of the Deep Trekker ROV, and the patented pitching system to move straight up and down, the vehicle can fit into very confined areas.

Let us help find the right ROV for your inspection projects and applications

Contact Industry Specialist

Making Inspections Easy

Intake gate inspection has traditionally been difficult to perform or a guessing game of what is actually happening. With the introduction of the Deep Trekker ROV, utilities and service providers alike are gaining insight into their aging infrastructure and dams.

Don't forget, an intake gate is just one portion of the dam, but their effectiveness is vital to efficient energy production. The reservoir, dam wall, penstock, screen, trash rack, turbine, outfall, and more are also areas where the Deep Trekker ROVs and pipe crawlers are currently being used for ongoing inspection and maintenance.

Each hydroelectric dam is unique, contact us today to discuss your next inspection >



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