Case study

Explosion-proof inspection robot step toward autonomous platform

Industry: Power generation, Energy (Oil & Gas / Nuclear), Engineering

ISSUE

The current initial response to plant malfunction inevitably depends upon human workers even if it involves risk to life

Unexpected incidents at oil and gas plants can result in fired, explosions and other serious accidents. Assessing these issues and the mounting pressure to appropriately and quickly respond requires the implementation of non-routine tasks, meaning that personnel need to perform actions at the site of the problem. This creates a safety risk if there is a gas leak.

In a Normally Unmanned Installation (NUI), relying on humans to restart the system after shutdown could cause costly delays

When an emergency or abnormality arises at an NUI (Normally Unmanned Installation), operations can be shut down remotely from the central processing platform. To restart operations, however, human workers need to be dispatched to the site. Transporting workers to an NUI is very costly, and extreme weather or other factors can prevent helicopters or boats accessing facilities, resulting in delays resuming operations and expensive downtime losses.

central processing platform

Realizing fully automated plant operation requires the use of various types of robots, yet current industrial use is limited

Many oil and gas companies envision a future of completely unmanned operations. While robotic technologies are seeing increasing use in underwater and aerial applications, elsewhere, their role is limited to equipment inspection. The development of integrated, autonomous systems is imperative.

SOLUTION

KEY POINTS TO THE SOLUTION

  • EX ROVR is able to perform routine inspections as well as mounting an initial response to anomalies in place of personnel.
  • Six-axis manipulator for accurate automated and remote operation
  • Diverse fleet provides comprehensive coverage of assets, supporting the creation of a fully automated platform

EX ROVR is able to perform routine inspections as well as intensifying an initial response to incidents in place of personnel

The explosion-proof EX ROVR is certified for use in ZONE 1 areas. The EX ROVR also offers superior mobility, enabling it to explore every inch of a production plant, as well as advanced manipulative capabilities that allow it to operate machinery and perform various other tasks on site. The EX ROVR leverages its anti-explosive design to enable safer site surveillance, thereby helping reduce personnel numbers and enhance safety, even in environments where flammable gases may be present.

6 main features of EX ROVR

Six-axis manipulator for accurate, automated and remote operation

In day-to-day operation, the EX ROVR’s six axis robotic arm improves the accessibility of equipment in high or confined locations. In emergencies, the arm can operate switches and valves using a gripper. Mitsubishi Heavy Industries has also developed a user-friendly interface so that these tasks can be performed accurately from a remote location. In the event of a shutdown at an NUI, the EX ROVR can be deployed, thereby enabling operations to be restarted quickly without the need to send personnel to the site, and greatly reducing downtime.

6-axis manipulator equipped on EX ROVR

Diverse fleet provides comprehensive coverage of assets, supporting the creation of a fully automated platform

Unmanned systems that perform inspections and respond to urgent incidents in place of human workers will be essential if we are to achieve the completely autonomous future articulated by many in the oil and gas industry. In addition to the EX ROVR, MHI also offers unmanned aerial, undersea, and surface vehicles that boast excellent range and high wind resistance, as well as the CoasTitan coastal surveillance and security system that bring together all three. MHI also offers other robots that cover a range of terrestrial, marine and aerial applications, as well as the technology to create systems for integrating and autonomously controlling them. These technologies can work with you to create completely autonomous plants, in which fleets of diverse robots autonomously perform inspections and other tasks, appropriate to site conditions.

Explosion-proof inspection robot "EX ROVR"

EXPECTED OUTCOME

  • EX ROVR enables the outcomes of patrols, and action taken in response to any abnormalities detected, to be speedily reported to related authorities, day or night.
  • EX ROVR facilitates the formation of an initial response team able to respond to challenging malfunctions and calamities.

Explosion-proof inspection robot "EX ROVR"
Monitoring Center

  • EX ROVR is able to make an assessment of the situation in response to instructions received from a safe, distant location, enabling the creation of an efficient and safe maintenance environment that eliminates concerns about time or location.
  • In the future, operators will be able to maximize the value of their plant assets by leveraging MHI’s land-based, marine, and aerial unmanned robotic technologies, sensing technologies, analysis and assessment technologies, and applications.