6 Benefits of Drones for Aggregate Companies

Aggregate companies are looking for innovative ways to increase productivity, control costs and increase production at their quarries. One way they are doing this is with the power of drones. Drones are now being seen as a powerful tools for businesses rather than just as a toy. No longer are drones only being used for travel photography or capturing adventure videos. They are helping farmers detect issues with their crops, assisting insurance companies with inspecting roofs, and allowing aggregate companies to better manage their inventory.

At Botlink, an automated flight and mapping software, we’re working with companies, like yours, to provide access to inventory information, helping you save time, money and help increase your bottom line.

Keep reading to learn more about the benefits of drones for aggregate companies such as saving time, lowering costs, improving accuracy and safety, and increasing your revenue. 


 
 Save Time
 

1. Save Time

Fly an entire site in under an hour and upload images
to get volume measurements.

Today, traditional methods for measuring stockpiles can take days, if not weeks. It sometimes can take days for the data to be processed and calculated, and you may not even be able to easily share the results with your clients or colleagues. However, with the power of drones, you are able to fly an entire pit in under an hour. Plus, have the data and imagery processed the same day, and easily share it with colleagues and clients. That's less time from boots on the ground to acquiring the data than most traditional methods.

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Botlink’s apps - Botlink Capture and Botlink InSites, allows passwords to be enabled on your important files and folders, so your information is secure and only seen by those that it should be.

In addition to less surveying and processing time, drones give you the ability to fly more than one site each day. Complete one job, upload your work, and move onto the next one. Leaving you with folders of different sites to review and analyze at the end of each day, rather than just one. Drone also give you the possibility to fly your sites more than once each week. Something that is difficult to do with traditional methods such as on foot or paying for an airplane to fly your site. Companies are now able to receive data on inventory piles faster than ever, and move forward with their decisions all in the same day. The frequency and timing of measurements becomes completely up to you.


 
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2. Lower Costs

Save fuel costs and labor costs associated with outdated processes.

With heavy-duty machinery costing companies sometimes upwards $500,000 per unit, there is no wonder that aggregate companies are looking for ways to cut costs. Drones are able to lower costs for aggregate companies in a number of different ways. First, drones reduce the need to buy  some of the expensive machinery. Now, we understand you are still going to need certain equipment to be able to do your job, but the need for expensive surveying and volume measurement tools can be reduced or eliminated. Second, drones are able to reduce costs associated with internal labor and fuel. Employees can spend less time surveying and climbing piles, and instead spend more time doing other tasks that are more important. That means less driving from pile to pile to survey, and your trucks can be assigned more effectively to move materials. Rather than sending too many trucks or making multiple trips, saving you fuel and labor costs..

Additionally, drones have a faster data capturing and processing time than traditional methods. Which means that you can spend less time gathering and waiting for your data, and more time making faster decisions. Ultimately, creating less down time for you and more time focused on the tasks that will provide a real return. Lastly, you can reduce costs of waste and excess materials that you may experience by charging customers for the correct amount of materials.. No more estimating.


 
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3. Improve Accuracy

Volume measurements using drone data is proven to be more accurate than belt scale and bucket scale tactics used today.

When utilizing traditional methods for pile measurement, it can be difficult to obtain a holistic view of your piles. You may be able to walk the pile and gather information from multiple areas, however, you are unable to see the top of most piles without climbing on top of them (which is very unsafe. See next section below). Luckily, a drone can provide you with new perspectives from all angles. Capturing the top of a pile provides added information that is critical when calculating final measurements and volumes, and making sure you are accurate.

 After flying your drone, upload to Botlink InSites and gain volumes of several pits all at once. Make linear measurements, add comments, and share your accurate information with colleagues and clients. 

After flying your drone, upload to Botlink InSites and gain volumes of several pits all at once. Make linear measurements, add comments, and share your accurate information with colleagues and clients. 

Botlink's software compiles the data captured by your drone and prepares a number of useful maps. These maps such as; survey, terrain, and 3D allow you to make linear measurements and calculate pile volumes all on your tablet or computer.

Maps and models provide aggregate companies with the benefit of improving their planning and operations, creating detailed inventory reports, compliance with MSHA, and calculating volume measurements. Visually see your work site and monitor the changes that are happening to your inventory over a period of time.


 
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4. Improve Safety

Keep your employees out of harm’s way by keeping them off your stockpiles.

Everyone in the aggregate industry knows just how important safety is. Luckily, drones are providing new ways for pits to be safer than they have ever been before. With a drone, employees are able to remain off unstable stockpiles, away from heavy traffic areas, and out of any other hazardous areas. You can simply designate a take-off and landing space that is off-site and out of harm's way. With an autonomous flight app such as Botlink's, you can set the drone's course from the comfort of your truck, office, or even at home. When you get to the pit, with a simple tap of a button, your drone will fly the set course and return to the designated landing spot with your data and imagery stored and ready for upload.

 Our Pilot, Will, always practices safety first when he is out flying aggregate pits with our customers. He remains out of harm's way while collecting all of the data and imagery they need.

Our Pilot, Will, always practices safety first when he is out flying aggregate pits with our customers. He remains out of harm's way while collecting all of the data and imagery they need.


 
 

5. Increase Revenue

More accurate inventory levels will maximize your P&L performance.

With the power of drones, you can easily eliminate the need for inventory adjustments. Gather accurate data each time you fly your drone, whether that be once a week, twice a week, or even just once a month. No more estimating stockpile amounts, checking them over, and then having to make adjustments or corrections. Drones will ease your measuring process, and keep your finances in order. You can sleep peacefully knowing that your financials match your inventory piles. Overall, accurate measurements allow for less waste, better management of inventory levels, and the proper amounts of materials distributed to clients, providing you with the best P&L performance possible.

 Gain accurate measurements with drones that reduce waste, manage your inventory levels, and ultimately help you maximize your P&L performance.  Photo via unsplash.

Gain accurate measurements with drones that reduce waste, manage your inventory levels, and ultimately help you maximize your P&L performance. Photo via unsplash.


 
 

6. Collect Data On-Demand

With Botlink, you own your drone and you can fly your yard as often as you need.

As you've read, drones can provide several great benefits to your company. With Botlink, our specialists are here to help you choose the best drone for your job. Botlink is compatible with several DJI™ and MAVLink drones. We don’t require you to use one specific drone, allowing for each aggregate company to have an individualized experience that best suits their needs. Plus, with Botlink, you own your drone. That’s right, no renting or leasing a drone for a period of time. You own it, you control it. Don’t worry though, Botlink’s Customer Success Team will be there if you need anything. Owning your drone allows you to fly your site as often as you would want. Whenever it is convenient for you, you can go out and fly. Capture your images and data, and Botlink will process everything, giving you maps and data back within hours. The information will be right at your fingertips.

Botlink is a great service at an affordable price. Their service team has helped to customize the platform to our company’s needs, and have been helpful through the entire process and quick to answer any questions.
— Cameron Moll, Production Engineer, Aggregate Industries

Are you interested in gaining these benefits for your company? Speak with one of our specialists to learn how you can enjoy these benefits, ask them any other questions you may have, or request a software demo!