Railroad Yard: The Use of Drones Brings Efficiency and Safety

About Vale


Railroad Yard: The Use of Drones Brings Efficiency and Safety

Aerial view of the railroad yard

Drones have many applications and can be important to safety, specially when it comes to monitoring. The use of this tool at the railroad yard in Tubarão (Espírito Santo) has brought productivity and safety for the employees involved in this activity.

The drone is used to map railroad cars loaded with ore to detect excess moisture in the load. Moisture affects the unloading operation of the rotary car dumper, resulting in additional costs for maintenance and cleaning, and it also reduces availability of the equipment.

For the supervisor of the Port Control Center, Sebastião Breda, the results obtained with the aid of the drones were excellent. “I have noticed that we avoid risks of accident while employees are accessing the railroad cars to assess their moisture conditions, and we also avoid unnecessary maneuvering of the rotary car dumpers, which leads to rework and losses that increase our costs”, he comments.

The use of drones has been increasing safety for the teams, focusing field inspection on the railroad cars that really need intervention. I believe that we can broaden the use of this technology for similar inspection activities, reducing even more the exposure to risks.

Railroad Cars Maintenance supervisor, Maurício Loureiro

After the use of the equipment, a relevant increase on productivity was observed. Before that, four employees were required to check the load conditions and it could take about four hours, in a railroad yard composed of 32 railroad tracks about one kilometer long each. Since the drone made the inspection activity easier, now it requires only one employee as the operator, and the full mapping of the railroad yard takes less than five minutes, which allows the decision-making process to be more agile.


Railroad Yard: The Use of Drones Brings Efficiency and Safety