Dutch-based tank storage firm Vopak has selected Terra Inspectioneering, part of Japanese firm Terra Drone Corporation, to carry out drone-based confined space inspections.
The inspections will be carried out to EEMUA-159 and API-653 international standards, across 11 Vopak sites in Belgium and the Netherlands. Terra will use its proprietary, collision-proof Terra UT drone for non-entry visual testing, ultrasonic thickness testing, and deformation analysis, and produce a digitised, cloud-based report with 2D and 3D annotations.
The use of drones reduces the downtime of the terminal, thereby increasing productivity. It also means that staff will not be sent into confined spaces, which can be hazardous. Patrick van der Voort, Division President Europe & Africa at Vopak, says that the company has been piloting the use of drones and robotics for inspections, as part of efforts to completely eliminate confined space entry for workers and minimise risks.
Ron van Seeters, General Manager and Co-Founder of Terra Inspectioneering, says: ‘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% and keep the workers safe. 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.’