Gazprom Neft has successfully tested unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs or “drones”) for stocktaking and inventorisation at company facilities in Noyabrsk (Yamalo-Nenets Autonomous Okrug) — using which has allowed the process of obtaining product information in warehouses to be automated. The drones collect data as they fly between goods racks, through contactless “reading” of digital code attached to goods, using RFID-tags — miniature devices attached to products allowing them to be identified against a warehouse database.
Testing this project has confirmed the possibility of drones being used in stocktaking for bulk goods — with data from drone surveys being consolidated into a 3D-model, from which volumes of resources, and the space taken up in storing them, are calculated.
Testing outcomes have demonstrated scope for using new technologies to further increase speed and accuracy in stocktaking in closed and open warehousing. Using drones, the time taken to recalculate one pallet of goods has been cut from 10 minutes to one—two seconds. Using drones has also made it possible to optimise routine operations and eliminate the use of materials-handling machinery in stocktaking.
Going forward, Gazprom Neft plans to develop its use of RFID technology in conjunction with drones and other digital tools to ensure full control over materials handling at all stages — from factory dispatch to warehouse intake and onward transportation.
“Drone-based solutions are actively used by global oil companies at every stage of a product’s value chain. The outcome of this R&D project confirms the effectiveness of technology in optimising warehouse stock-taking processes. The next step — to be taken in the near future — will be deploying and rolling-out this solution at all of our company’s warehousing facilities.”Mikhail Korolkov Head, Digital Technology Centre, Gazprom Neft
“We can confirm our hypothesis that the accuracy of the results obtained using drones increases efficiency in the stocktaking process. During testing it became clear that using drones makes it possible not just to take stock of packaged freight, but also to undertake aerial photography to estimate volumes of bulk goods. Going forward, we plan to work out all current limitations and new hypotheses and, thereafter — roll out this solution in other locations in which the company operates.”Ekaterina Cheban Head of Innovation Development Programmes, Procurement Support, Gazprom Neft