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PETROBOT: Safety is a way of working

The PETROBOT project has reached the critical phase where all the robotic inspection solutions are being deployed for field testing.

Increased safety is the top objective of the PETROBOT project and ensuring the safety of the personnel during the field testing and project trials is essential. Consequently all members of the PETROBOT consortium that are part of the on-site field tests and trials underwent the necessary safety training at Shell’s Safety Centre Pernis. All the attendants completed the training successfully.

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MEC Technique for Challenging Tank Floor Inspection

The MEC (Magnetic Eddy Current) technique applied by the PETROBOT robotic inspection solutions has demonstrated superior defect detection capability in two successful tests performed for a major petroleum and petrochemical operator.

The first analysis focused on the simulated inspection of a tank floor plate installed on top of an existing floor with varying distances in between. The ability of the MEC technique to inspect reliably the “New” plate on top of the “Old” plate with varying distances to each other (no gap, 3mm and 5mm gap underneath) as well as the reliability of defect detection on either side of the top layer plate was tested. The target was to analyse the influence of the “Old” bottom plate below the “New” bottom plate on the inspection results as well as the capability of the MEC technique to detect flaws in a distanced second steel layer.

Results showed that the defect indications and magnetic field in the top layer plate are not affected by the direct contact or increased gap distance of the bottom plate. Defects on the upper and underside of the top plate layer can be confidently detected and analysed without the influence from the defects in the bottom plate unless they are of significant size. This is possible because the MEC technique operates its magnetic field strength of at the retentivity point of the hysteresis curve which requires lesser field strength. This is a major difference to the MFL (Magnetic flux leakage) technique operating at the saturation level of the hysteresis curve where the close or in contact neighbouring plate layer will affect the field strength absorption.

The second analysis focused on the ability of the MEC technique to defect corrosion on the underside of the tank floor alongside the weld near to the tank shell.

Corrosion formed on the underside of the tank floor, extending alongside the double fillet weld at the area approximately 75mm from the shell, is a critical tank integrity issue experienced by operators, particularly for their storage tanks in Asia. As a result, operators requires an inspection technique that has a higher accuracy with targeted depth sizing of at least ±10% whilst the tank is out of operation and that also has the ability to penetrate the GRP (Glass-fibre Reinforced Polyester) lining and provide details of the defect profile.

Corrosional Attack

Corrosion defect on underside of tank floor next to tank shell

The TÜV certified MEC-F15 Floorscanner was used to perform the tests on the sample with a side wall mock-up as shell simulation. Despite the 10mm clearance due to the obliqueness of the shell, pitting defects such as 20mm diameter RBH (round bottom holes) underneath the shell were well detected. The same defect detection results were produced with the addition of a 4mm thick plastic layer mimicking the GRP lining.

F15 on wall                                        F15 on wall 2

The picture on the left shows the setup of the MEC-F15 Floorscanner near a side wall mock-up, while the picure on the right illustrates the 10mm clearance between scanner and shell due to obliqueness of side wall.

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PETROBOT integration tests: visual inspection system on Pressure Vessel

Integration trials have successfully been performed with the SNAKE and DEKRA visual inspection system on a real pressure vessel. The trials were performed on the OC Robotics premises on a cut-open real pressure vessel.

The test phase started to check the integration of the main components. DEKRA checked the functionality of provided parts (NDT tools, primary camera, etc.) together with the robots. The possibility to handle the equipment or the lighting angles are examples of what have been successfully tested.

Integration tests were also performed with the FAST platform built by ALSTOM. This also resulted in some points that need to be taken care of to get the combined system to work properly. “So, we are in a state where tests are focused on functionality. The next testing step will be to focus on inspectability” said Joakim Strand, project leader of Working Package 1.

For all tests, both handleability and inspectability, it is a great advantage to have a real pressure vessel to test on. On test samples you can never simulate the real challenges as good as with a real asset. Tetting access into the vessel, reaching all areas, how to scan efficiently, lighting, etc. are examples of challenges which can be addressed by testing on an actual asset. Having the possibility to test on a real asset means that PETROBOT can be well prepared for the tests in “the field” that will take place during the the third quarter of 2015.

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Above is a picture of the inspection system mounted on the SNAKE tool wrist. In the centre is a high resolution camera and the extended light arms are enabling defect detection by different shadowing effects with raking light (light incident in an angle towards the surface and camera). All lights are individually controlled. The photo to the right shows the team monitoring the data received.

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The above picture is a snapshot from the video camera of a weld inside the pressure vessel.

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Above is a picture of a topographic view of surface irregularities in a weld. The topographic view is made by another tool implemented by DEKRA. It is the Gocator that enables measuring depths of pitting or as in this case irregularities in a weld. The colours indicates different “height” also visualised by the 3D view.

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PETROBOT testing underway

A substantial section of decommissioned pressure vessels arrived at OC Robotics in April 2015.  The vessel is used to test robotic deployment methods for the internal inspection of pressure vessels. This asset represents a significant step forward for the PETROBOT programme and it will enable hands on system development and sensor integration.

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PETROBOT Week

During the week of 13-17 April 2015, members of the PETROBOT consortium came together at the head offices of Quasset in Hilversum, The Netherlands, for “PETROBOT Week”. The purpose of PETROBOT Week was to share overall project progress, to discuss upcoming project activities and also to facilitate particular work package meetings.

 A series of intense project meetings were held throughout the week where many of the work packages met to discuss their relevant parts of the project. The week started with an Executive Board (EB) meeting on the Tuesday, followed by a Work Package 5 (WP5) meeting on the Wednesday. Two work package meetings took place on the Thursday, namely Work Package 6 (WP6) and Work Package 1 (WP1). Topics ranged from robot manufacturing statuses to business cases and dissemination activities. After the WP5 meeting on the Wednesday the PETROBOT team enjoyed a wonderful team dinner which was enjoyed by all.

PETROBOT Week

The Executive Board (EB) meeting during “PETROBOT Week”

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PETROBOT at euRobotics Forum 2015

The euRobotics Forum is an annual event that brings together researchers, engineers, managers and entrepreneurs from all over Europe to discuss robotics-related topics and content as well as topics that have an immediate impact on the roadmap for robotics in Europe.

Members of the PETROBOT consortium attended the 2015 euRobotics Forum which took place in Vienna, Austria. PETROBOT hosted a booth at the exhibition where it had some of its robotic equipment and technology on display. The event was attended by approximately 750 delegates.

The booth layout and banners were prepared and approved by the newly formed PETROBOT Editorial Board, which has one representative from each of the PETROBOT consortium members. The booth was manned by members from Quasset, A.Hak Industrial Services, DEKRA, OC Robotics and Alstom Inspection Robotics. Visitors and guests showed lots of interest in the PETROBOT project, acknowledging and sharing enthusiasm for the meaningful and practical objectives of the project.

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PETROBOT members on euRobotics Board

We are proud to announce that Mauricio Calva (Chevron), Andrew Graham (OC Robotics) and Prof. Stefano Stramigioli (PETROBOT Scientific Advisory Board) have been elected on the euRobotics Board at the 2015 euRobotics Forum in Vienna, Austria. Andrew Graham was appointed as the Treasurer of the Board and Stefano Stramigioli as the Vice President Research. PETROBOT would like to congratulate them and we wish them the best of luck with their newly obtained roles and responsibilities as euRobotics Board Members.

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PETROBOT Website Updated!

The PETROBOT website has been updated with new content. An Applications section has been added which provides general information on the assets that are of concern to PETROBOT, namely pressure vessels and aboveground storage tanks. Sections on general robotic inspection and current robotic inspection technology are also included. The Participants section has been expanded by providing information on the PETROBOT consortium, the various work packages, the executive board and the scientific advisory board. Go and have a look!

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PETROBOT’s 1st year EU Review

On November 19th, 2014, the first EU review of the PETROBOT project was held in Zurich, Switzerland at ASTOM Inspection Robotics.

The project was reviewed by a panel of experts from the oil and gas inspection and robotics industry. The team presented the work and results achieved during the first year of PETROBOT with each of the work packages presenting their work including the designs for the new robots, the NDT solutions being tested, technical specifications, and the work on regulations. The communication plan was delivered as well as an exciting video describing the PETROBOT project, which will be available soon on our website.

Building upon our 3 month technical review early this year, the reviewers were very happy and positive with our progress to date. We are looking forward to 2015.

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