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Daikin gives drones a whirl to slash plant inspection times

Remote-controlled cameras can reach high places and cut risk of heatstroke

A worker flies a drone at a Daikin Industries factory in Kusatsu, east of Kyoto. (Photo by Toshiki Sasazu)

OSAKA -- Daikin Industries plans to roll out drones in its factories this month that can cut the time needed for checks in hard-to-reach places by more than 80%, leveraging a technology that still sees little use among Japanese manufacturers.

At the company's Kusatsu plant located just east of Kyoto, the technology is already on display. On a recent day, an operator with a remote control, standing alongside a production line for air conditioners used in rooms, launched a drone into the air. The device, made by China's DJI, checked a container 8 meters off the ground that collects oil from manufacturing heat exchangers.

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