05/04/2022 – Technology / Drones / Terra Inspectioneering / VTTI / Netherlands / Sank storage / Energy

Terra Inspectioneering’s UT drones aid leading Dutch tank storage firm VTTI
Terra Inspectioneering’s UT drones aid leading Dutch tank storage firm VTTI

Terra Inspectioneering is providing drone-based confined space inspection services to Netherlands-based VTTI – one of the world’s leading storage providers for energy and other essential products like chemicals.

Terra Inspectioneering – a group company of Japan-based Terra Drone Corporation – has completed a series of confined space inspections using the latest drone technology at ETT, the Dutch-based terminal of multinational tank storage company VTTI.

Within this inspection, Terra Inspectioneering provided non-entry visual testing, ultrasonic thickness measurement including the rafters, and deformation analysis services to VTTI using the proprietary collision-proof Terra UT drone. The drone inspection services will be offered for the tanks owned and operated by VTTI.

Traditionally, tank inspections are performed by sending staff into confined spaces. This method not only reduces the productivity of the terminal because of longer downtime; it also exposes inspectors to potentially hazardous conditions.

When time and accuracy are key

Ralph van Dijk, Maintenance engineer of ETT/VTTI, described the challenge that his firm has hitherto faced: “At other storage terminals, a tank is often empty, which makes it easier to take another tank out of service. You then move the contents from one storage tank to another. But we don't have that luxury: If a tank has to be taken out of service for inspection, we are always limiting the customer's need,” he points out. “They know that too, but they still seem to like this terminal, because we are always full. It is therefore very important for us to take storage tanks out of service for as short a time as possible.”

In light of this, Van Dijk highlighted the time saved by using Terra Inspectioneering as “a great advantage”. “In addition, I can verify the data from the drones. The drones film and take photographs. The software can also make 3D models,” he informed. “In contrast to the photos that rope access workers often take, the photo and video images from the drones are fantastic."

Van Dijk added the reason why VTTI chose Terra Inspectioneering: “The problem with fuel oil storage tanks is that it is a heated product. The tank has PUF insulation, which you would prefer not to remove. But the heated fuel oil causes condensation to form on the inside, which increases the risk of corrosion. We had been struggling with this problem for a number of years. We had people measure the roof structure and walls with rope access, but that takes two weeks. You can also use crawlers, but this requires the walls to be properly cleaned and you have to make holes in the roof to prevent the equipment from falling, so it has to be secured. And yet the inspection by Terra Inspectioneering is completed within two days. That's why I welcomed them with open arms."

He added that: “Terra Inspectioneering designs the drones themselves, and also makes them with 3D-printers, and Terra can measure the entire profile – not only tank wall, but also roof structures.”

Creating a safer, sustainable, more productive workplace

Terra Inspectioneering supports VTTI’s mission to create a safer, sustainable, and more productive workplace and believes that its drones can catalyze the digital transformation of the energy and chemicals industry.

“Drones are the safest and most reliable tools to conduct complex inspections in confined and GPS-occluded spaces. They reduce the time taken for inspection by up to 60 per cent, and keep the workers safe,” advised Terra Inspectioneering’s Co-owner and Commercial Director, Marien van den Hoek. “Especially in the current Covid-19 pandemic environment, using drones for inspections can help to minimise the number of workers on the site, allowing organisations to meet government-mandated social distancing guidelines.”

For further information, contact:

Terra Inspectioneering B.V.

Tel: +31 (0)85 3010095, +31 6 44557462

Email: info@terra-inspectioneering.com

Website: www.terra-inspectioneering.com

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