With over 65 years of expertise in the Philippine building materials industry, Republic Cement has transformed the nation’s economy by manufacturing high-quality cement. Since its founding in 1955, the organization has thrived through continuous innovation and willingness to invest in new technology. Manufacturing Performance Engineer John Ngo works directly with plant managers to research and implement these enhancements. Being in a role that places heavy emphasis on metric-based reporting, efficiency, and accurate communication eventually led John and the Republic Cement team to DroneDeploy in 2016. Let’s take a look at how the cement manufacturer increased plant productivity and reporting accuracy with drone software.
Assessing Stockpile Measurements & Verifying Structural Integrity with Drone Data
Prior to using drone technology, Republic Cement experienced challenges related to consistency in reporting due to variances in methods of measurement between its sites. In reaching out to DroneDeploy, Republic hoped to improve the accuracy of stockpile measurements, material inventory, and overall efficiency. But Republic Cement didn’t initially find DroneDeploy while trying to solve these issues - it was a different initiative that put drone software on their radar.
In 2016, Republic Cement hired DroneDeploy to conduct a structural inspection. Impressed by the output and photographs that DroneDeploy was able to provide, Republic’s leadership team decided to begin testing an employee’s drone equipped with DroneDeploy software and to measure it against their existing methods of stockpile reporting. With precise, consistent results, DroneDeploy was selected as the drone technology of choice.
DroneDeploy was able to provide us exactly what we needed when it came to volume measurements and allowed us to set a consistent standard across all our sites."
John Ngo, Manufacturing Performance Engineer, Republic Cement
Validating Work & Reducing Survey Time with Drone Technology
Republic Cement was flying with DroneDeploy weekly but has had to decrease this frequency to a monthly basis due to changes brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic. While the frequency has decreased, the results are still undeniable; the organization has seen a significant decrease in stockpile survey time and human resources required to complete these tasks. Previously, surveys took more than a day’s work (eight hours of survey time, with four hours of analysis); the entire process now takes less than three hours. This has also led to a much more efficient use of workers’ time, requiring only one pilot versus four individuals for manual measurements.
Since reporting is no longer subjective, materials loss has also been minimized. The drones equipped with DroneDeploy software validate how much cement is being produced, with an accurate measurement of the materials used. In using DroneDeploy, the process has also become safer, with workers able to measure stockpiles from a safe distance.
Looking Ahead at Drone Use in the Future
In the short term, Republic Cement is looking forward to using drones for other purposes, including measuring heat signals and conducting indoor inspections, among others. Overall, creating a transparent system of record and worker accountability by digitizing assets and the inspection workflow is what the organization will continue to prioritize.