Robotic Tank Inspection is changing the way Above-ground Storage Tanks (AST’s) are inspected. You are no longer required to drain, clean, degas, and take the tank out of service. With robotic tank inspection the API-653 inspections can be performed in just a few days while the AST remains in service.
Traditional API-653 inspections require the emptying, cleaning, and degassing of the AST. This process often takes weeks to accomplish. First, emptying the tank creates a difficult logistical problem for many tank owners. Finding a place for the fuel during the inspection process can be costly. Cutting an access into the tank and re-welding the patch back into place also complicates the process. Cutting and welding on or near a confined space is referred to as “hot work” and brings with it many dangers. The cleaning process is next, producing waste products that include sludge, VOCs and CO2. The VOCs and CO2 get released into the atmosphere and represent an environmental impact. All of these factors combine to make performing a traditional API-653 inspection more costly than it needs to be.
This is where robotic inspection systems come into play. Robotic inspection systems have emerged to make API-653 floor inspections more convenient and reduce the costs. Using robotics, the tank owner can completely avoid all of the downtime and environmental factors. The tank remains in service, the fuel stays in the tank, and there is very little environmental impact. All the headaches of a traditional inspection disappear. The inspection is performed safely and in a matter of days, not weeks.
Manta Robotics is dedicated to performing robotic tank inspections safely. That is why we have set ourselves apart in the robotic tank inspection market by pursuing NFPA Certifications for our robotic equipment. Our robots are designed to be placed in combustible fuels and are certified by Intertek Testing Services for this purpose. You require your hand-held radios to be intrinsically safe, so why would you put un-certified robotic equipment into your tank? We recommend you request documentation of any claimed certifications of robot safety. What you put into your tank is just as important as what happens around your tank.
Robotic Tank Inspection is definitely changing the way tanks are inspected. It removes most of the logistical headaches surrounding traditional API-653 inspections. The tank gets inspected in days, not weeks, almost all of the environmental impact is mitigated, and the safety of the inspection is improved by not putting personnel into a confined space. All of these factors add up to a much simpler life for tank owners and operators.
Robotic tank inspection is here to stay and promises to simplify inspections for years to come.