OGTC co-funds robotics projects
Britain’s Oil & Gas Technology Centre has invested £1.1 million ($1.5 million) in three robotics projects to improve pressure vessel inspection.
The projects were selected as part of its firstAsset Integrity ‘Call for Ideas,’ which launched in 2017. Pressure vessel inspection was identified by the industry as a crucial challenge to maximizing economic recovery from the UK continental shelf.
Non-intrusive inspection (NII) of pressure vessels can deliver significant cost and safety benefits. Sonomatic’s aim is to develop the next generation of robotic NII technology, with improved speed, agility and autonomy compared with existing systems. The robot, incorporating advanced inspection technologies, will help increase production uptime, reduce costs, and improve efficiency.
Under a second project, theOGTC is working with the University of Strathclyde to develop a new robot crawler equipped with 3D laser scanning and non-destructive testing technology. Existing crawlers are typically deployed only when there is clear line-of-sight for the operator. The university’s solution will construct a virtual, dynamic 3D representation of the inspection site meaning it can be operated safely from a remote location.
The OGTC is also supporting the University of Strathclyde in the use of swarms of small unmanned aerial vehicles, or drones, for visual inspection offshore. Drone swarms, which are being rapidly adopted by the military and for logistics activities, could deliver a safe, flexible and cost-effective alternative to human inspection.