One such superhero in the technological world that is determined to save people from risking their lives by working in confined spaces like storage tanks, clarifiers, trenches, sumps, and ponds is Ecorobotics, a company renowned for developing robotic systems engineered for cleaning hazardous enclosed areas and removal of bulk materials. “Besides preventing human entry into tanks, our robotic cleaning systems are engineered to provide efficient cleaning operations that increase production rate and reduced asset turnaround time,” states Rob Driskell, COO of Ecorobotics.
Typically, in the hydrocarbon and chemical processing marketplaces, the work in confined space poses a significant risk to workers. The conventional method of tank cleaning exposes workers to hazardous chemicals and workplace temperatures that can be above 120F. Despite industry implementing several safety standards and regulations, injuries and fatalities still occur.
Well, not anymore. “Our robotic cleaning systems entirely replace the need for human crews and can operate in a multitude of highly-risky conditions and environments,” points out Michael Arcediano, VP Operations, Ecorobotics. The company’s ultimate objective is to keep human crews out of danger and perform the cleaning tasks efficiently and quickly while reducing environmental impact.
Our robotic cleaning systems are engineered to provide efficient cleaning operations and reduce asset turnaround time with no confined space entry
Ecorobotics utilizes a visual programming language (VPL) to control the robots during cleaning process. The robots are equipped with washing and vacuuming attachments and articulated robotic arms that can deliver high-volumes of water or other cleaning fluids as necessary. They can enter vessel manways effortlessly, and have the capability to perform tasks much more efficiently and in less time when compared to conventional human labor. The robots also utilize a Class 1 Division 1 lighting and camera system to enhance visual capabilities inside the containment. The advantages don’t end here. Conventionally, the manual procedures use a huge quantity of water to dilute the sludge for handling and removal.
Ecorobotics also has an operations training and R&D center, which trains robotic operators by simulating real-life storage tank conditions to perform the bulk removal and cleaning tasks safely and efficiently.
As a part of their client engagement, the company’s operational and sales team inspects and evaluates the opportunity based on size, volume, location, environmental requirement, safety requirements, and more. Subsequently, they look at the options that are robotically centered and deliver effective and efficient robotic systems to either clean or remove materials.
The power of the company’s robotic cleaning systems can be well-illustrated using a case scenario where a large chemical plant sought help from Ecorobotics for bulk removal in a spill tank. Prior to this, the chemical company used a conventional removal method for this project, which took 67 days and removed 150 bbl/day and consumed 670 hours of confined space entry. However, by using Ecorobotics’ systems, the project took just 11 days and removed 918 bbl/day with no confined space entry.
Building on its penchant for innovation, Ecorobotics has several plans pinned on the drawing board to strengthen the future of automation in the confined space cleaning arena. In conclusion, Driskell says, “We will continue to be on the cutting edge of robotic development and application, with a focus on safety, efficiency, and environmental protection.”