Helping field workers stay efficient is a major priority for Volue. We ask Bodil Hansen from Norgesnett how the power company that serves 100,000 customers in Norway uses the Field Inspector application.
May 13, 2022
“We use it for repairs as well as inspections. It’s very intuitive for our field workers,” says Bodil Hansen from Norgesnett about Volue's Field Inspector.
Helping field workers stay efficient and accurately use the modern and user-friendly application is a major priority for Volue.
The Field Inspector application is part of Volue’s Power Grid product family and is used to support fieldwork with NETBAS – a solution that for more than 30 years has been the market leader in network information systems.
Bodil Hansen works as a project engineer at Norgesnett, where she has the main responsibility for network sub-stations. Norgesnett was formed through a merger of Askøy Nett, Follo Nett and Fredrikstad Nett and, via the area licence, is responsible for the power grid in the municipalities of Askøy, Fredrikstad, Hvaler, Nesodden, Asker, Enebakk and Nordre Follo in Norway. The company serves around 100,000 customers in total.
Hansen says that, over the past couple of years, the company has used Field Inspector for inspecting network sub-stations. She is delighted with the solution and believes it simplifies and streamlines the work of the field workers.
“In addition to inspecting network sub-stations, we also use it for annual line inspections on high-voltage and low-voltage lines,” says Hansen.
Through the Field Inspector tool, Norgesnett gains a good overview of e.g. whether there are poles that need to be replaced, or whether there are other repairs that need to be made in the grid. This is all based on what the field workers have entered.
“We also use Field Inspector when routing other utility lines alongside power lines, e.g. when telecom companies are to use our poles for routing fibre-optic cables. When we receive applications for such joint routing, we have to go out and check whether the poles are suitable to suspend other lines in addition to the power lines from them.”
Hansen says that they have created their own list of checkpoints for use on joint routing so that the installers in the field can carry out checks against this list.
Storing all your information in a single system makes it easy and efficient to document everything that has to be documented.
“Field Inspector has become an essential and important tool for us,” says Hansen.
Through checklists in Field Inspector, Norgesnett gains a full overview of all the work that has been done and anything that may need to be followed up. The field workers record various observations, such as condition, and whether anything needs to be repaired – and, if so, how quickly.
“We use it for repairs as well as inspections. To obtain observational data about the power grid and to repair faults in it. For observations that involve large quantities of potential work, such as poles that are in poor condition, we have framework agreements with contractors who carry out the repairs.”
When the field workers carry out inspections, photos are also taken that are uploaded to Field Inspector, e.g. of high-voltage assets, low-voltage panels and transformers. To simplify matters and ensure uniformity, descriptions have been entered of the type of photos that are required. In this way, Norgesnett can be sure of obtaining good documentation of everything that is relevant.
“Every time we go to inspect a network sub-station, we take and upload photos of it so that we can follow developments.”
Due to the size of the screen, tablets are the preferred working tool of most installers. But it is quite possible to use Field Inspector on an ordinary mobile phone as well.
Of course, all new technological solutions require training. Hansen says that the vast majority of field workers learn Field Inspector very quickly. She has herself conducted training in the tool for contractor companies they work with and finds that the users soon pick it up.
“The strengths of Field Inspector are that you can use it from many different devices and it is very intuitive to use. Because it is easy to learn, we also find that those who use the system in the field make very few mistakes.”
One advantage of the solution is that everything is collected in one place – in NETBAS.
“It only takes a few minutes from registering something in the field to it being available in NETBAS. In the past, in the worst-case scenario, it could have taken several years before all data had been entered into the system. Now it happens right away. The system provides us with a very good overview, and you can see which tasks have been started, finished, or not yet been started.”
Hansen also thinks an important feature is that management of Field Inspector is easy, e.g. when you need to add or remove users.
“Field Inspector allows us to monitor our progress in the project from the office. It has proven to be a useful tool for us, particularly on large projects,” says Hansen.
In addition to the Field Inspector solution used for keeping track of planned work on the power grid, Volue also provides a related solution: Network Collector. This makes it easy for installers in the field to register changes in low-voltage assets. The software is designed so that registration becomes a streamlined part of the installation job, allowing the field workers to document e.g. that a job has been done – with photos.