Property Inspection – Acquiring Data in 70% Less Time with Phase One iXM-100 camera

AM/NS Calvert Steel Mill uses a Phase One Industrial iXM 100MP medium format imagery to meet new regulatory commercial grade requirements on data collected for asset inspection. Additional benefits were realized when the project was completed with a 70% time saving.

Asset Inspection of AM/NS Calvert Steel Mill Using High Resolution UAV Imagery.

Regularly inspected structures ensure smooth consistent working of this mill. Serving the North American market since 2010 and purchased by ArcelorMittal and Nippon Steel Corporation in 2014, the 2,373-acre Carbon Steel Mill in Calvert, AL has the capacity to produce 5.3 million tons of flat rolled carbon steel products annually. To determine the condition of all assets including roofs, drains and AC units, requires constant data and image collection.

In 2019 an upgrade to the grade of the data collected on these assets was implemented. To ensure this increased regulatory Commercial Grade data requirement was met, the mill needed to invest in a higher resolution image capture solution. The Phase One Industrial iXM-100 was chosen to meet their exact needs; a medium format aerial camera with a 1.1 kg payload, compatible with their existing DJI M600 Pro UAV and robust enough for this type of industrial project, whilst at the same time providing consistent and reliable high-resolution data.

AM-CS Calvert Drain Inspection Detail 80mm
Inspection of drainage taken with iXM 100MP camera and 80mm RSM lens. AM/NS Calvert 2020 ©

"With our Phase One system we have increased coverage by over 60% in the same amount of flight time as we did with previous sensors, increased the quality of data by 400% and the camera has already paid for itself at least twice this year for all our inspection and mapping missions.
The results and the performance of Phase One Industrial products have more-than met our expectations"

Chris Mathews

Area Manager, IT Operations & sUAS Site Services , AM/NS Calvert

Quick Facts

58% Increase in data accuracy

Increase in accuracy from 0.9 GSD to 0.38 GSD at flight height of 300 feet

70% Time Saving - 60 hours reduced to 17 hours

2,373 acres: 63% increase in coverage with the medium-format solution


iXM 100MP with interchangeable 35mm and 80mm AF lenses for close up and distant imagery

AM/NS Calvert is recognized as one of the most advanced steel finishing facilities in the world and is highly complementary to ArcelorMittal’s existing portfolio of world-class assets . AMNS Calvert 2020 ©

Steel Mill Asset Inspection

AM/NS Calvert is a 50/50 joint venture between ArcelorMittal and Nippon Steel Corp. (NSC). A Carbon Steel Mill in Calvert, AL.

Recognized as one of the most advanced steel finishing facilities in the world, the facility includes a river terminal, hot strip mill, cold rolling mill, three hot dip galvanizing lines, rail yard and supporting infrastructure. With the capacity to produce 5.3 million tons of flat rolled carbon steel products annually, serving the North American market since 2010, mapping and inspection of the assets are of upmost importance.

The facility serves the automotive, construction, pipe and tube, service center, and appliance/ HVAC industries with an impressive portfolio of steel grades for high-value applications including hot rolled bands, hot rolled pickled and oiled, cold rolled, and advanced coated products and employs over 1,500 people.

Inspection of the property's roof taken with iXM 100MP camera and 80mm RSM lens. AM/NS Calvert 2020 ©

Commercial Grade Data Requirements Increased

Mapping the existing site of the Steel Mill along with some new project areas is an ongoing project in Calvert. Asset inspection to record the physical level and condition of structures, roofs, and utility assets is necessary to keep the mill running safely and efficiently. In 2019, requirements to collect Commercial Grade hardware and regulatory grade data was increased, meaning that a higher resolution data collection solution was needed.

UAV technology was already in use to collect this data prior to the required increase grade data. The obvious upgrade in technology called for medium-format imagery. Initial challenges were to find a medium-format camera with a low enough payload for integration with an existing DJI M600 Pro and existing in-house software, but the camera needed to be robust enough for Industrial work. AM/NS were looking for predictable and consistent delivery of high-resolution quality data.

Key features that drew them to the Phase One Industrial cameras were the simplicity and flexibility in set-up and the in-flight control. In addition to the ease of post processing of the data. With excellent post-sales support, the data collection team were able to upgrade the project to the increased grade data needed very quickly and smoothly. Using the system at a minimum 3 – 4 days a week since it was acquired.

A Phase One iXM 100MP Camera and interchangeable 35mm RSM and 80mm RSM lenses were purchased as the camera delivers the high quality needed for the asset inspection and also easily integrates with the DJI M600 Pro drone. AM/NS Calvert 2020 ©

Increased Coverage and Safety Margins

By utilizing the iXM 100 Camera with the 35mm RSM lens AM/NS Calvert have been able to cover more area in less time with much better resolution for mapping. Similarly, having the ability to use the same camera with the 80mm RSM lens they have been able to take images from a greater distance than previously, increasing the safety margin and at the same time also increasing area coverage by over 60%.

“Both configurations yield clear actionable data both from the clarity of the images and their ability to process and provide much more accurate point cloud data.” commented Mathews. “The results and the performance of Phase One Industrial products have more-than met our expectations!!!”

The upgrade in data collection solution has enabled a larger area (63% increase) to be covered per flight with the iXM 100, providing greater resolution for mapping all detail in the same amount of time. Structural inspections have been conducted in less than a quarter of the time it took using their previous traditional methods.

The increased level of detail from the 100MP camera allows an engineer or maintenance technician to now be able to quickly and easily evaluate the condition of a particular structure or asset with the same, and in most cases better, level of confidence as with traditional visual inspections in much less time and in a much safer environment.

Phase One Solution

Phase One Industrial iXM-100 medium format camera

Phase One iXM-100 Camera
- 100 MP Aerial Photographs
- 11,608 pixels cross-track coverage
- CMOS (effective at 6400 ISO)
- High noise resistance (effective at low light)

Phase One Industrial RSM 80 mm lens

80mm RSM Lens

- 80mm
- f/5.6 - f/22
- 1/2500sec

Phase One Industrial RSM 35 mm lens

35mm RSM Lens

- 35mm
- f/5.6 - f/22
- 1/2500sec

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