With more than 40 years of experience across a wide range of industries, WGA is committed to cutting-edge technology, without compromising on quality.
Digital Technology Manager, Andrew Brown is leading the charge when it comes to investigating emerging solutions. Partnering with Airworks and Trendspek he sees big opportunities now and in the future.
How does WGA usually inspect assets?
As a business, we are dedicated to finding the best solutions for our clients, and most of us won’t rest until we do just that. Our industrial group – mechanical, process, maritime and structural engineers – do a lot of inspections, and while we always look for the most efficient and effective ways to deliver on those projects, the fact is, the common methods of asset inspection are generally quite prehistoric.
Inspecting an asset usually involves having rope access technicians abseiling down large structures and engineers on site taking photos, reporting defects as they see them, then heading back to the office, downloading everything and writing up a report. For any company, there can be a real disconnect between when they are on-site in front of the asset, and when they write up the reports.
How did you discover Trendspek?
The growth in technology during my career so far has allowed me to expand into a role that didn’t exist in a lot of businesses in our industry, even two or three years ago.
I’m tasked with connecting our different consulting departments with new technology and integrating that into our workflows, to deliver the best solutions to our clients.
In 2022, WGA won a three-year contract to inspect 25+ cranes annually across ports in Brisbane and Sydney. Instead of taking crane assets offline for 3 days and undertaking inspections the traditional way, we wanted to build efficiencies from a time, engineering and safety perspective.
Opening the office in Brisbane in 2021, the localised team wanted to bring something unique to the project and in doing so, provide greater value for our clients.
With drone capability and modelling in-house, we first developed a proof of concept on a publicly accessible crane based in Adelaide. After pulling the data together, we realised our current software and technology, was not suitable for the level of detail required.
Passionate about solving problems and knowing there was a more fit-for-purpose solution, I reached out to an industry contact who introduced us to Trendspek.
Within 48 hours I had access to demo data sets and before even talking to the Trendspek team, I could see the software was agile, intuitive and accurate – I was really interested in learning more.
“I was so excited to use it – I’d ask anyone who walked past my desk to come and look at it – to see that level of detail.”
How did Trendspek change your process?
These cranes get inspected every year, and every one of them is taken offline for three days so our teams can crawl all over them – abseiling from the top or accessing them on ladders or platforms. It takes a large team to inspect one crane.
We have refined this process to a fairly efficient pace and workflow, but everything can always be further optimised!
Though it cut down capture time from three days to one, the driving factor behind our decision to use Trendspek was the safety of our people and the safety of the Client. If we could use a drone and capture more than we would traditionally, there was no need to have people working on ropes or at dangerous heights.
With one person using the drone and two on-site walking over parts like the machine house, which is restricted access, we reduced the number of people required, improved our efficiency and decreased the cost to our clients, who had operational cranes for a total of 50 additional days each year.
But that wasn’t even the big win – we now have a digital capture of the assets so we can go back and inspect any time, even if we missed that traditional three-day shutdown window. The detail on the screen means it’s just like being there, if not better.
What did you think of the user experience?
The Trendspek team were great to work with!
I conducted the first engineers’ training session myself – with no formal training from Trendspek – it was that intuitive.
Josh from Trendspek has also provided a refresher training session for the team, during which one of our own mechanical engineers noted that there were defects identified that ropes access wouldn’t have made visible.
By using drones and Trendspek, we are de-risking our business – we don’t have to send our hardware out or invest in our own software, and we don’t have to put our people at risk.
We’re now looking at new opportunities that Trendspek and high-quality drone capture might uncover for us.
Will you use Trendspek again?
I’m proud of our client and team for daring to be different – stepping away from the traditional methods and towards a new way of doing things. For more than 50 years, the Ports and Marine industry have utilised manual inspection methods – so it’s a big and brave move… and it has already paid off!
Our clients were captivated by the drone out on their site, but they were really impressed when they saw how clear the model is, the quality, and how easy Trendspek is to use, with no need to install the software.
We were also surprised at the cost. We had thought something like this would not be affordable, but as technology develops and becomes more commonly used, the prices decrease, and Trendspek came in a lot more cost-effective than we anticipated.
Next time we are asked to tender, I think our senior leaders will be asking a lot more questions about Trendspek upfront before we submit our response.
“Our vision at WGA is to introduce new technologies across the business to deliver effective solutions for our clients and help manage risk. I do believe that Trendspek will give us the leading edge”
We want to continue to invite bright young minds into our business, and to do that we need to expand the employee experience, and build their abilities and skillsets – we need to be at the forefront of technology – and Trendspek ticks that big box for us.
Click to read more on WGA’s digital capabilities.