Gas Terminal Tank Clean

Re-Gen Robotics was recently commissioned to clean two 15m tanks at a gas terminal, which refines and purifies gas from a gas field in the west coast of Ireland.

The first tank scheduled to be cleaned contained methanol and the second tank contained condensate, a low-density mixture of hydrocarbon liquids present, as gaseous components in raw natural gas.

The tanks were resin lined and contained a large amount of internal furniture including aluminium legs, skim arms and floating pontoons. The entry manholes were raised slightly higher that standard tanks and there was a great deal of piping situated on the ground around the tanks’ exteriors.

Upon initial inspection, it was noted that a portable raised platform would be required to allow the robot to pass freely over the exterior pipework, to meet the manhole entry ramp. The platform was supplied by the client and was also used for the second tank clean.

 

The inspection also verified that the height of the tank was considerably lower than most tanks and therefore it would be necessary to restrict the height of the telescopic camera bracket. Arrangements were immediately put in place to fit rubber stoppers around the ATEX camera and restrict the height of the camera bracket with a length of chain.

The ADR tanker was stationed 10m from the tanks and the robotic equipment was craned into position. Scaffolding equipment was not required as Re-Gen Robotics supplied the crane system, to lift the robot into position. Full magnetic tracks were fitted to the robot, to maintain the integrity of the resin lined floor.

At no time during the entire cleaning process was there a requirement for human presence in the confined space. The operator remained in the Zone 1 control unit where they could monitor activity through a series of ATEX cameras and gas monitoring equipment fixed to the robot.

The unique features of the large robot made it ideal for cleaning the storage tanks. A combination of specially designed 3,500 PSI jetting water nozzles, powered by a high-pressure low flow pump, played a vital part in the cleaning process.

The sludge was then extracted by the ADR certified jet/vac tanker with 4,800 C/ m3 per hour vacuum capacity. Using a fully contained waste removal and a 360-degree cleaning process, the waste material was transported off site using an ADR tanker and safely treated in an authorised, licensed facility.

The entire tank cleaning operation was recorded on CCTV from the ATEX cameras and was made available to the client upon completion of the works. All files are date and time stamped to ensure the process is traceable for auditing purposes.

On completion of each vessel cleaning, a record of gas detection readings produced by the onboard gas monitoring equipment, was provided. Final readings were confirmed, the tanks were handed back to the client and the robots were demobilised.

Conclusion

By engaging Re-Gen Robotics’ highly qualified team, who meticulously planned the project, the tanks were cleaned faster than anticipated (reducing tank shutdown duration by half).

Re-Gen Robotics has maintained an exceptional work record throughout all of their tank cleaning contracts, to date all jobs tendered have been accepted and completed to budget, with zero customer complaints.

The speed and efficiency of the tank cleans exceeded the clients’ expectations, by finishing ahead of schedule and by significantly reducing the amount of tank downtime.

Notably, the client did not have to deal with the challenge of having to implement and regulate social distancing, to limit the spread of the Coronavirus. Since Re-Gen Robotics requires only two crew members to complete an entire cleaning operation, one to control the robot and the other to operate the tanker, human to human contact was zero. The robots could carry on as normal, allowing a return to operations, ahead of schedule.

The company has set a new bar in safety processes and is receiving excellent client feedback on service, quality and delivery. Their robotic technology is evolving prominence and capabilities at an incredible rate. Since this tank clean, it has innovated new adaptions, to expand its solutions further.

The innovations developed, demonstrate a clear commitment to improving their service offering, based on existing and evolving customer needs. These include; An offset suction head to clean under water suction pipes around the external diameter of tanks. The offset suction head is a low-profile tool, to access under pipes and has the ability to remove waste from below floor level as well as the ability to operate offset on the left, right and straight-ahead positions. This tool alone has decreased tank cleaning time by 10-12%.

A 360-degree full coverage washing head, which has the capability to wash the walls and the roof of tanks and affords faster turnaround times by 10% on floating roof tanks, where roof washing is included in the scope of works on tank cleans.

An intelligent onboard truck telemetry system to track waste, providing the opportunity to collect telemetry data that can then be aggregated and analysed in order to optimise the process. The combination unit provides real time information on all key parameters and is accessible to clients. They can evaluate information including; Waste generation, hours worked per day, water consumption on each project, down to the jetting pressures recorded for the duration of a tank clean.

Increased ATEX lighting for in-depth inspections, designed for the most extreme environments, enhanced ATEX lighting allows for much easier and therefore quicker inspection at ground level and for areas with difficult access.

Given that tank inspections can now be carried out via their CCTV system, this now means that the Terminal operator can further reduce their CSE time and also eliminate the need for spading tanks which is a further saving on mechanical works during the tank outage.

Re-Gen Robotics is providing a realistic and proven alternative to ‘man entry’ tank cleaning, making it SAFER, CLEANER and MORE EFFICENT than ever to carry out maintenance in confined space conditions.

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