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Vopak pilots drones and robots for tank inspection in Singapore

Published by , Editorial Assistant
Tanks and Terminals,

Dutch tank storage company Vopak is piloting the use of drones and robots for safer inspection, as well as a digital vessel clearance tool.

The new initiatives tested include drone inspection, jetty inspection using an underwater remote operated vehicle (ROV), digital vessel clearance tool and robots for in-service tank inspection.

Robots and drones for tank inspection
Inspections are currently performed by people working inside confined space, which means that assets have to be shutdown to ensure the safety of the inspectors. The use of robots would avoid sending staff into confined spaces, minimise the exposure of personnel to potentially hazardous conditions, reduce downtime and waste water generation, and save resources. Likewise, diving ROVs can already be used to inspect jetties and pipelines, while drones are being tested for the internal inspection of tanks.

Digital vessel clearance tool
On vessel clearance, traditionally, the operators have to manually check against the vessel specifications, terminal infrastructure data and a list of globally recognised embargoed vessels. With a digital vessel clearance tool, operators can tap on internal data-driven platforms to automatically clear vessels in four clicks, and can provide customers with the latest information on when the terminal can accommodate incoming vessels. This service is now available at all of Vopak’s four terminals in Singapore.

With the successful implementation of all the projects, Vopak can potentially reduce safety incidents, be more sustainable, improve service through better visibility on its supply chain and planning, and lower costs by improving terminal productivity.

Earlier this year, Vopak has tested the use of sensors to monitor the health of product pumps and rolled out the use of ATEX proof mobile devices at the terminals to improve work processes at the terminal and become predictive.

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