Fintan Duffy, Managing Director of Re-Gen Robotics, discusses how his robots are playing an increasingly greater role, in the transformation of safety in the oil tank cleaning industry.
One thing we can be certain about in these unpredictable times, is that change is inevitable. As entire sectors came to a virtual halt in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, our state-of-the-art, Ex Zone 0 rated, ‘100% no man entry’ tank cleaning robots carried on as normal.
The pandemic provided us with the opportunity to demonstrate how we can replace confined space crews, by turning hazardous tasks over to reliable, remotely operated robots. Our service requires only two crew members to complete the entire cleaning operation, one to control the robot and the other to operate the tanker. Person to person contact is zero therefore social restrictions and health and safety compliance was preserved.
Over the last ten months we have worked with several of the oil majors, who have now adopted our robots as their first and only preference for tank cleaning. They are fully committed to enhancing safety and productivity in their operations and when it comes to tank maintenance, these industry leaders are procuring our service, to sit at the core of their safety strategy.
By sending our revolutionary robots into hazardous confined spaces, they are not only eliminating the dangers and liabilities associated with confined space entry but are also saving time, money and reducing operational downtime for their tanks.
Using Re-Gen Robotics tank cleaning solutions has very clear advantages for tank terminals; there are fixed costs, reduced paperwork and permits, and no requirement for capital outlay, standby rescue teams or inhouse robot operators.
We are at a point now, where we have the potential to transform the safety of our sector, for good. The health and safety of personnel is our number one concern and it should be for the industry, as a whole.
Personnel who carry out manual tank cleaning are exposed to physically and psychologically demanding shifts and increasing work demands and constraints, over and above those experienced by your average worker. The amount of man hours spent onsite on these activities, directly influences the number of reported incidents and injuries.
We understand there is a fear that manned CSE tank cleaning jobs will become susceptible to robotics and no doubt there was the same reaction when computers were invented, or steam engines were introduced.
The labour market shifts, people reskill and upskill as new needs emerge and what is so exciting for us, is that we can actually create many more jobs, than those being replaced. Overall, the demand for no man entry cleaning is growing rapidly, but we still need experienced personnel to control the robots. Essentially, we are creating better paying jobs and conditions, as a result of our technological advances.
And while Oil & Gas companies look to gain greater operational efficiencies and drive productivity, they also have to think about regulatory and social acceptance considerations. Safety will always be their first business driver and the health and safety of personnel engaged in tank cleaning, will always be paramount.
Accordingly, using robotic equipment to carry out works in hazardous confined spaces is the most logical and safe way to clean tanks. The number of man hours onsite is more than halved and the requirement for rescue teams outside the tank is completely removed.
With every tank clean, we’ve put our claims to the test and proven beyond doubt, that not only has our technology transformed safety withing our industry, but we are also adding value to our clients’ bottom line. The higher level of output, better quality of service and zero possibility of accidents, all make it feasible to embrace the use of robotics technology in hazardous environments.
Read the latest issue of the OGV Energy magazine HERE.