This paper reports on a project to develop a semi-autonomous snake robot, designed for entry into high pressure combustible gas systems. The project is funded by Innovate UK and is a collaboration between Process Vision and the University of Reading.
Recent advances in robotics are making many inspection and maintenance tasks possible. The objective of the project is to provide a proof of concept prototype that can increase plant availability, by reducing the need for inspection shutdowns. As well as improving safety by reducing confined space working and reduce shutdown durations, as online diagnostics will help shutdown planning and logistics.
If internal inspections could be performed without the need to shut down this would:
Reduce downtime and increase efficiency in production
Provide a safety benefit by reducing confined space working
Provide an environmental benefit by reducing the gas sent to flare to de-pressurise
Reduce fixed costs
Allow fewer man hours in inspection tasks
Remove the need for purge gas – nitrogen or air
Reduce the number of procedures required
Reduce the amount of paperwork
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