Engineers sought as Cyberhawk soars

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A WEST Lothian firm whose unmanned helicopters allow engineers to peer into the inner workings of oil installations has launched a recruitment drive and “rapid response service” after securing further funding.

Cyberhawk Innovations, which is based in Livingston, has developed a drone which uses cameras and thermal imaging to inspect tall or inaccessible structures without shutting them down.

The firm has completed its first contracts in the Middle East after work on petrochemical facilities in Germany and the UK. Plans have been drafted to open satellite offices in “growth markets”, while a dozen or so “pilots” and engineers will be taken on over the summer to meet demand. It is rolling out an emergency hotline that will allow the company to dispatch experts to carry out urgent inspections of structures such as bridges and gas flare stacks.

A Cyberhawk helicopter was also used to assist in training sessions for the Scotland rugby squad, flying overhead to record a “player’s view” of the action that could then be analysed by coaches.

Founded less than four years ago, Cyberhawk has taken on a further round of investment, having become part of Scottish Equity Partners’ £95 million Environmental Energies Fund.

Managing director Malcolm Connolly said: “The demand for our services has grown rapidly since we developed the technology and gathered the skilled personnel to be able to offer industrial sites the ability to inspect their assets while they are live and so prevent shutdowns and the resultant financial loss.

“We are now starting to export our services as we continue to find opportunities in the Middle East and in continental European markets.”

The firm said it had completed two major inspection contracts in Oman, at a liquefied natural gas plant and a chemical facility.

Connolly said the firm was launching its emergency hotline following requests from “several key clients”. “New legislation has brought into sharp focus the need for companies to demonstrate that they can provide a measurable response to an incident at their facility,” he said.

Elaine Hovey, international trade manager at Scottish Development International, which supported the company, said: “Scotland has a reputation for engineering excellence and for inventiveness – Cyberhawk is a perfect illustration of how we can commercialise both of these strengths.”