Guidelines for the Application of Robotics for In-service Inspection of Aboveground Storage Tanks

Guidelines for the Application of Robotics for In-service Inspection of Aboveground Storage Tanks

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Aboveground storage tanks have been utilized for decades and several design codes and construction specifications have been accepted and are available.


Currently, most of the internal inspections for Aboveground Storage Tanks (AGST) are still carried out by human inspectors entering the tank as described in codes. This implies that tanks must be taken out of operation, resulting not only in substantial lost revenue and shutdown costs but also causing health and safety risks for all staff entering the tank, most notably maintenance personnel. The high costs of taking a tank out of service attract opportunity maintenance that is often sub-optimal with respect to timing. There is a global trend to reduce human entries inside tanks, and in the near future eliminate human entry in tanks altogether.

Deployment of robotics for in-service inspection and cleaning of storage tanks is still a challenge in the oil, gas and petrochemical industries. Not only with respect to safety, but also in the acceptance of inspection results by relevant authorities in the industry.

This guideline aims to facilitate an accelerated yet responsible adoption of in-service robotic inspection for storage tanks. SPRINT Robotics, as part of the SPRINT Robotics Roadmap, has developed this guideline to set minimum operational quality standards and promote uniformity in the operational procedures carried out by different organizations.

This document specifies the advised operational and reporting requirements for robotic inspection tools to be used for mapping of metal loss and the detection of other anomalies during the inspection of steel tank bottom plates in Aboveground Storage Tanks (AGST). The tools may be autonomous and self-contained or may be controlled from outside the tank via a tether or umbilical.

Special thanks to the Action Group Storage Tanks members who made their comments and documents available for the Guidelines for the Application of Robotics for In-service Inspection of Aboveground Storage Tanks. The Action Group Storage Tanks members are listed in Appendix 9 of the document.

This document is free for SPRINT Robotics (Associate) Participants using your discount code, which can be obtained from your SPRINT Robotics contact person in your organization. 

Download Terms & Conditions:

By downloading this document this will constitute an agreement containing also that you accept the following:

  1. This document has been reviewed and approved by the SPRINT Robotics Collaborative. It is stated however, that neither SPRINT Robotics Collaborative (“SPRINT Robotics”) nor the members of the SPRINT Robotics Action Group Storage Tanks nor the companies and/or participants of or belonging to SPRINT Robotics (hereinafter: ”SPRINT”) they represent can be held responsible for the fitness for purpose, completeness, accuracy and/or application of this guideline.
  1. This document is intended to serve as a generic robotic in-service inspection guideline and thereby cannot and will not cover all tank designs or tank operator-specific issues. SPRINT Robotics and other users of this guideline are therefore free to add or change requirements based on their specific aboveground storage tank situation.
  1. © 2019 by The SPRINT Robotics Collaborative, The Netherlands. All rights reserved. This guideline or any portion thereof may not be reproduced or stored in any retrieval system or transmitted in any form or by any means (electronic, reprographic, recording or otherwise) without the express written permission of the copyright owner, except for brief quotations which shall be properly referenced to this document.
  1. Although the utmost care has been taken with this guideline, errors and omissions cannot be excluded and SPRINT Robotics makes no representations or warranties of any kind, express or implied about the completeness, accuracy, reliability, suitability, purpose, availability and/or application with respect to the information in the guideline for any purpose. Any reliance you place on such material is therefore strictly at your own risk. SPRINT Robotics, therefore, accepts no liability, not even for direct or indirect damage, occurring due to or in relation with the use of the content of this guideline. To this guideline and the disclaimers, Dutch law is applicable.