EngD student, 2016 intake
Sponsoring company: Silverwing/Eddyfi Technologies
Background: Undergraduate MEng in Mechanical Engineering with Financial Management at Strathclyde University.
The aim of this EngD is to develop robotic solutions to enhance the accessibility, safety and speed of NDE in the petrochemicals industry. New standalone robots or multiple synchronous robots will be investigated with the intention that the technology developed will be ready for field deployment by end users.
Robotic solutions for NDE applications in the petrochemicals industry are driven by the need for increased safety and financial gain. The main drivers for Robotic Inspection are:
– Personal: Reducing exposure of people to hazardous environments and confined spaces
– Asset: Thorough inspection of hard to access locations on assets to ensure structural integrity.
– Improvement in efficiency: Maximise uptime, minimise downtime
– Increased profitability: Reduction in overall inspection cost
– Government regulations: Increased pressure from governments to have thorough inspections
– Aging Assets: Extending the life of assets to increase profitability
Robot systems allow for operators to remain outside confined spaces, such as inside pressure vessels or storage tanks. This provides significant HSE improvements as the robots reduce or eliminate the need for people to enter hazardous areas.
Online inspection of above ground storage tanks avoids the need for the tanks to be cleaned and also avoids human entry into the confined space. Keeping the tank in full operation for the inspection reduces revenue lost from downtime and negates the need to prepare the tank for offline inspection.
With increasing HSE regulations, as well as cost cutting and a production increasing mind-set due to the low oil price, investment in robotic NDE solutions is seen as one way to combat these challenges. The possible economic advantages for end users and operators makes robotics an attractive solution.