Robotic Inspection of Pressure Vessels
Pressure vessels are considered safety critical infrastructure and are present across many industries such as oil and gas, nuclear, petrochemical etc. Assuring the safety of these ageing assets is increasingly important for these industries as there have been many fatal failures in the past.
Internal pressure vessel inspection has significant cost and health and safety risk associated with it and is required at specific intervals by industry codes/standards. In order to carry out internal inspection, the operator must; stop production, depressurise, store extracted fluid, vent etc. The total cost associated with these activities can easily exceed £1M within a few days depending on the production facility.
More importantly, these tasks are currently carried out by humans and the hazardous environments have led to many injuries/fatalities. It is not possible for humans to carry out inspection on these assets without breaking containment, the only way to do so, is via robotics and artificial intelligence.
CHIMERA is a semi-autonomous robotic platform for internal pressure vessel inspection, repair and maintenance. It will be deployed into the pressure vessel without breaking containment via an innovative bolt on headworks. It will be equipped with a sludge/sediment vacuum to clean the pressure vessel, an ultrasonic phased array inspection system and a slender arm for inspection and repair in confined spaces.
To successfully deliver this, a consortium of experts have been formed with capabilities in robotics, inspection, navigation, in situ repair, AI, civil nuclear and oil and gas. There are close ties between the consortium and the targeted industries, providing a direct route to market/exploitation. CHIMERA represents a clear technological innovation for the UK pressure vessel inspection market with a major growth opportunity for the SME supply chain in the consortium.