How Painters Are Using Drones in the Field Today

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Roberto Lopez, project manager for Lyons Painting & Design, uses the EJIMaverickPro drone to capture images of production and before and after shots of clients’ homes.

Drones are slowly taking off in the painting industry, but painters may just be scratching the tip of the iceberg when it comes to getting the full usefulness from this tool. In an informal APC Magazine Facebook poll that asked if painters used drones to survey/capture a jobsite, 9% of survey respondents reported they are putting drones to work in this way.

It’s a trend sweeping the construction industry at large; construction has become the fastest growing commercial adopter of drones, according to data from DroneDeploy.

Roberto Lopez, project manager for Lyons Painting & Design, started making use of a EJIMaverickPro drone on jobsites this past summer. “I played with it at home before I brought it to work and made sure I could handle it,” Lopez shares.

Lopez admits he’s still getting the hang of building drone time into his schedule—not to mention the operational learning curve—but his goal has been to get these photos into the client’s hand at closeout. Those pictures are also working their way to the company website and Facebook page to serve as unique marketing collateral to entice future clients.

“Right now we’re doing live action pictures, and after we complete the project I’ll usually show up and take some pictures,” Lopez explains. “We like to get out there while the guys are still in action to catch them on ladders or on boom lifts prepping. We’ll do an action shot while we’re doing production and a close-out shot.”

DroneDeploy notes that tracking job progress is one of the leading uses of drones throughout the construction industry. Aerial images captured by drones can be an asset when communicating to a client about special challenges or in showing the full scope of a project.

But this is just the beginning. As technology becomes more sophisticated, other potential uses for drones may include:

  • Inspections and safety. Painting contractors could use drones to inspect high and hard-to-reach areas and identify risks on site from afar. The idea is that keeping workers out of dangerous locations will minimize the risk of falls, electrocution, and other hazards of the job. Of course, painters whose inspections turn up that a difficult-to-reach location needs a repaint still need to get to that site—for now. That’s where the next area of research comes into play.
  • Painting. While drone technology isn’t going to put you out of a job just yet, innovation leader Disney recently published a report on its PaintCopter, a DJI Matrice 100 modified with an arm and a spray gun. To extend operational time, the drone is powered and supplied paint externally via connected lines. The research focuses on using the copter to paint on 3D surfaces, avoiding the need for scaffolding and ladders. While its craftsmanship may need some improvement, the PaintCopter is a creative example of the future of painting. Several other companies have similar painting drones under development.  

Are you using a drone on your painting job? Let APC know! Send a high-res project photo and a brief description of how you’re putting drones to use to editorial@paintmag.com for a chance to be included in a future issue of APC Magazine.

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drones, UAV, EJIMaverickPro, Lyons Painting & Design, inspections

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