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Case Study: Invert Robotics – UT Testing

Orange and black NDT equipment

NDT of any kind generally comes with challenges, and UT testing is no different. The most difficult assets on which to carry out maintenance and repair are typically those within hazardous industries and those with closed container assets.

Historical testing solutions present significant issues that present human risk during the procedure as well as difficulty in gathering accurate data. Innovation experts, Invert Robotics, has worked tirelessly to develop advanced solutions to overcome such issues. Their knack of combining cutting-edge tech with stalwart testing equipment to solve complex – and often unique – requirements is revolutionising the market.

The following discusses how such technology for UT measurements sees us leaping into a new era of testing capabilities.  

The Challenges

UT measurements are a staple of NDT testing. In-depth understanding of the weaknesses of an asset structure allows accurate maintenance planning. It also dramatically reduces the risk of unplanned downtime. 

But obtaining accurate inspection information is often fraught with difficulties. Typical issues include:

  • Shutting down the asset for both preparation and the task itself
  • Emptying the asset to make it safe for human entry
  • The need for human entry into an enclosed space
  • The need for humans to work at height
  • Highly skilled inspectors to carry out the task
  • Extended shutdown periods
  • All the associated costs that go with the above

Over the past decade, many efforts have been made to design adequate solutions. Crawler robots have been lauded as the way forward. However, until recently, these haven’t been advanced enough to truly cope with the many challenges. These include the navigation of crowded internal spaces, corroded surfaces, different types of asset structure and the ability to get close enough to enough to gain the level of spot measurements needed for a thorough inspection.

But that’s all changed now, thanks to a dedicated progressive engineering company…

The Solution

Invert Robotics novel solution comes in the shape of a customisable robotic crawler that can easily navigate a wide range of assets. This advanced buggy is equipped with encoder wheels at the front and has been integrated with Olympus state-of-the-art UT equipment. It comes in different models, including magnetic, vacuum and hybrid options.

Small enough to enter even the tightest of spaces, the robot is easy to remotely navigate and can be driven over both magnetic and non-magnetic surfaces. Its manoeuvrability allows it to climb over or around obstacles and it can even traverse highly corroded or encrusted surfaces.

Real World Examples & Advantages Gained

The crawler is performing well in many different real-world situations. 

  • The first example is that of a sulfuric acid tank coated with carbon steel. For this the hybrid robot was deployed because this crawler uses both vacuum and magnets to adhere to surfaces. This meant it had no issues driving over the exterior of the tank to take multiple UT measurements to assess the wall thickness.
  • The hybrid version also came into its own for a crowded carbon-steel slurry tank. The old inspection method required human entry into the vessel. Invert Robotics were able to avoid this entirely, instead deploying the hybrid robot to navigate the agitator and baffles that ran from top to bottom within the asset. Even the poor internal surface of the walls proved a breeze for the robot, with 60 good quality spot measurements made while manoeuvring the robot from a safe remote location.
  • Another success story was for a European energy and waste company that needed to test two carbon steel gas absorbers. With extensive surface corrosion from the regularly sprayed chalk powder used during operation, it was questioned whether the crawler would have trouble adhering to the sides. Once again, the robot came into its own, easily climbing the walls and obtaining sixteen B scans on the assets.
  • The final example is that of a non-ferrous tank, for which Invert Robotics used the vacuum V1800 to gain measurements along the bottom and interior of this stainless-steel asset.

Such robotic engineering is proving invaluable to the area of NDT testing. Removing the human risk using by robots is simplifying these essential tasks beyond belief. With massively reduced downtime, dramatically less risk, plus the reliability of machine-led data gathering, the future of these tasks really is best carried out robotically.

At present, these still need to be controlled by human hand. But we’re not that far from the day when technical autonomy will be able to carry out these routine jobs without our intervention. 

At Nexxis, we’re committed to bringing the latest proven technology to our customers to improve accuracy, reduce costs and ultimately increase the bottom line. UT testing with Invert Robotics advanced crawler is just one example of where we’re leading the way in our unique “solutions-led” marketing model.

Contact us to find out more about our range of robots or any of our other inspection products, or request a quote online.

If you find this post useful then check out “How Robots Are Powering UT Measurements in Hard to Reach Places” and “Robotic Tech & UT Testing for Accuracy and Reduced Risk

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