A robot that will allow tanks to be inspected while they are still in service is being developed by Phillips 66, the owner of the Jet brand.
Working with Square Robot, a Boston-based start-up, the two companies are developing an autonomous robot that would have the capability to inspect petroleum storage tank floors while product remains in the tank.
The untethered robot is being designed and will be certified for use in a wide range of petroleum products. The robot is expected to enter service in mid-2018.
Above ground storage tanks are routinely removed from service to be drained, opened and cleaned at great expense in order to evaluate tank bottoms. The new robot is being developed to automatically survey and map obstacles within a tank while the tank remains in static service, creating a specific route map allowing maximum coverage of the tank floor. Using the non-destructive testing (NDT) data gathered, a certified inspector will produce a floor thickness map allowing for a more accurate prediction of a tank floor’s remaining life.
“Our collaboration with Phillips 66 provides access to a significant team of experts in NDT inspection, safety, procedures and operations,” said Eric Levitt, Square Robot co-founder. “As a start-up, we would not have access to these tremendous resources outside of our core business of developing autonomous robots for confined spaces.”
“Ensuring the integrity of our equipment is one of our top priorities and we are always looking for innovative new technologies to help us achieve this,” said Todd Denton, general manager, Midstream Operations, Phillips 66. “Our collaboration with Square Robot presents a unique opportunity to develop technology that will enable us to maintain our equipment and minimise disruption to our customers.”