The inspection of storage vessels in the oil and gas industry is a major challenge worldwide as the process is costly and dangerous. There can be as many as 14 vessels on an offshore platform without counting the vessels onshore. Each of these vessels is subject to degradation with time and must be regularly inspected. The conventional approach involves sending human operatives into these confined spaces.
As of end March 2018, Ross Robotics has completed an InnovateUK funded research programme in collaboration with the National Physical Laboratory (NPL), developing an autonomous robotic system which can deploy a range of sensors and operate inside storage vessels.
Because the robotic system is reconfigurable, it will be possible to make smaller and larger robots as required, depending on the vessel to be inspected. The aim is to replace human beings, to increase the frequency of inspections and to reduce the cost of inspections.
The NPL DIFCAM system, already successfully implemented in the Crossrail tunnels under London, has been adapted to a smaller, modular format for the robot platform. DIFCAM creates and compares imagery over time and can detect a range of defects and aid analysis. The combined system has been tested with success in a simplified benign environment as a precursor to real environment testing later in the year.
Robots Champion, the specialist website dedicated to robotic news and reviews, interviewed Ross Robotics founder Philip Norman. Read the article here
The Ross Robotics Scale 2.0 robot platform has been driven over the test lanes at the Culham RACE test facility near Oxford, UK. The test procedure characterizes reliability, speed over obstacles, trajectory control etc. using test lanes that have defined parameters.
Culham RACE is currently developing standardized testing procedures for robots, initially basing the methodology on the standardized test (NIST) procedures developed in the US. Ross Robotics is supporting this initiative and will be present at a Culham RACE Industry Day on November 8th.
Ross Robotics has been working with Chinese plastics manufacturer RPWORLD who have recently published a case study ‘From Concept to Reality’ documenting the development of the EXTRM SC2.0 robot platform.
Read Case Study here
Ross Robotics and National Physics Laboratory showcased the autonomous robot and inspection software side-by-side at NPL Headquarters in Teddington, ahead of plans to combine the two for commercial applications such as inspections in hazardous areas.
Read more about the collaboration between Ross Robotics and the National Physics Laboratory here.
Ross Robotics is working in collaboration with the UK’s National Physical Laboratory, based in Teddington, West London, and assisted by an InnovateUK funded Programme, to develop autonomous survey and inspection solutions for the oil & gas industry.
A Ross Robotics Scale 2.0 robot platform was shown at NPL’s Open Day, showcasing the forthcoming integration of NPL’s Difcam system, already used by Network Rail, with the robot. The Difcam system will be modularized by using the Ross Robotics connector technology.
The autonomous robotic survey system is initially being developed for the inspection and non-destructive testing of oil & gas pressure vessels with further scope for application in the nuclear industry.
Read about NPL here