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Con Ed Testing Drone in East Village Steam Plant, Company Says

 Con Edison is testing a drone that will be able to inspect boiler towers.
Con Edison is testing a drone that will be able to inspect boiler towers.
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Con Edison

MANHATTAN — Con Edison is getting a drone.

The utility company is testing a boiler-inspecting drone in a 10-story East Village steam tower, Con Ed said in a statement on Monday.

The 3-pound, carbon fiber spherical drone can fly into a boiler unit and allow inspectors to check parts including the burners. 

Each boiler in the East Village electricity plant produces 1.2 million pounds of steam per hour, according to the company and helps service 3.4 million customers.

“Inspecting our boilers requires workers to build up to 10-story scaffolding and go through confined-space training,” said Margarett Jolly, director of Research and Development, in a statement. “Using innovations in technology, we can speed up the process while still upholding and perhaps improving quality and safety.”

The drone, which has a 10-minute flight time, uses video and thermal technology to help technicians analyze data in real time.

Steam plants help provide electricity for structures including the Empire State Building, Grand Central Terminal and the World Trade Center.