Near the geographic center of Wisconsin is the City of Wisconsin Rapids, which lies within a region popular to the logging and papermaking industries since the 1890s. We had the opportunity, as a subcontractor, to fly the property of a leading North American producer of specialty and graphic papers, packaging, and pulp. Specifically, the Wisconsin Rapids mill employs 940 people and has a capacity to produce 540,000 tons of paper products per year. Encompassing over 1000 acres, the location contains a pulp mill, paper mill, sheeting operations, and a workforce dedicated to promoting a safe work environment, and a 100% commitment to sustainability and responsibly sourced fiber.
Managing a stockpile inventory can come with challenges and finding a solution for safe, accurate volume measurement and easy inventory management is highly desirable. When it comes to stockpile volume measurements, stockpiles generally do not conform to a perfect shape. A photogrammetric survey with a fine ground sampling distance (GSD, which indicates the actual distance each pixel represents) is better able to describe irregular stockpiles in detail. High-resolution photogrammetric results can create more precise stockpile models and better volume measurement accuracy in a fraction of the time it would take from interpolated ground measured points.
Bring In The Drones
You need accurate data to run a successful business operation, and you shouldn’t have to send your survey team into the field for hours to scramble across stockpiles on a dangerous job site. Drones can eliminate many of the challenges companies face with traditional survey solutions. Paired with powerful photogrammetry software, drones can help lower your data collection costs, increase accuracy, save you time, and keep your team out of harm’s way.
On a warm and sunny late September day, we flew the mill's 145 acre stockyard, which is mostly comprised of log and wood pulp stockpiles. At a height of 325 feet (above ground), we flew safely over the smoke stacks and stockyard while the drone snapped the required high-resolution orthophotos. It took just one battery swap to fly the entire stockyard, and the mission went off without a hitch. As a result, we ended up with 582 photos, at a resolution of 1.5 inches per pixel, and with sufficient overlap to support high accuracy stockpile reporting.
Up and away...
Orthophoto (below) showing pulp and log stockpiles.
(References: Verso Corporation and Geographic Techniques LLC)