Tank Inspection Services

How do robotic inspections for aboveground storage tanks work?

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Aboveground storage tanks are the most common resources in the petroleum, paper production, and electricity sectors, and they form the backbone of facility operations. 

However, operators may find it challenging to follow STI SP001 or API 653 recommendations due to the magnitude, scope, and complexity of inspections. Here, API inspection companies play a crucial role in maintaining the efficiency of the tank facilities.

The recent incorporation of robotic drones into NDT procedures, on the other hand, offers operators a complete inspection program utilizing the most up-to-date ultrasonic testing equipment. Compared to visual, handed, or drone inspection procedures, rapid ultrasonic gridding (RUG) and rapid automated ultrasonic testing (R-AUT) provide unrivaled safety, asset coverage, and data capture.

Facility operators place a high focus on safety. For inspection personnel, confined space entry (CSE) and high operations requiring structure and cables are all possible dangers. Using a drone to explore tank bottoms, fixed ceilings, and shells, on the other hand, minimizes the need to put people in danger while also saving money on scaffolding and other safety precautions.

Non-CSE inspections are becoming the industry standard, according to industry executives. Robots and drones for CSE, higher work, and commercial cleaning are one way to attain their aim. 

When it comes to CSE circumstances like examining tank floors, robotic systems are ready to take on the challenge. Without the need for a person to enter the tank, robots fitted with up to 96 acoustic probes may gather thousands of data per ft2 to discover pits, oxidation, and normal wear on the floor.

Without an NDT approach that properly monitors the entire asset, understanding the overall state of AST may be difficult and time-consuming. Robots utilizing RUG or R-AUT, on the other hand, may cover vast regions in a relatively short time required by traditional approaches. Robots using RUG technology can go up to 60 feet per minute (18.3 meters per minute) and produce over 5,000 feet squared (467 square meters) every 12-hour shift. R-AUT inspections detect areas of concern at a manufacturing pace of up to 600 ft2 (56 m2) every shift. Robots can readily cover approximately 100 percent of assets in one or two stints at these speeds.

Robotic inspections yield 1,000 times more data than previous inspection methods and safety and coverage. Using software platforms, the data is frequently shown as 2D or 3D C-scan heat maps. Inspectors and managers can use the measurements and associated pictures to identify the AST’s oxidation process or other damage processes. This data may also be used to calculate corrosion rates using fitness-for-service estimates.

RUG works well for making deterioration patterns of tank shells and roofs. Each sensor may capture up to 250 readings per foot with as little as a quarter-inch sensor spacing. Then, using R-AUT, localized problem areas can be further evaluated. R-AUT generates tenfold more data than RUG – over 94,000 measurements per ft2 – to identify damage processes where it is most required.

Above all, and especially for above-ground holding tanks, robotic examinations and API inspection services can be employed to comply with industry standards like API 653. Qualified API 653 inspectors on staff at a full-service robotics firm will check the asset using robots and other techniques as needed, then prepare a complete report to meet inspection standards.

Aboveground storage tanks are controlled at the federal, state, and municipal levels to avoid oil spillage and other dangerous breaches and failures. Given the volume and sophistication of AST examinations, robots equipped with the most advanced UT technology provide a safe, dependable, and efficient replacement to traditional approaches. Furthermore, the data collected gives operators the confidence and capacity to comprehend tank wear trends and deterioration, allowing them to allocate funds for tank maintenance better.…

Tank Inspection Services

How are Aboveground Storage Tanks maintained under SPCC Requirements?

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Aboveground Storage Tanks or ASTs are used across industries. The ubiquitous presence of storage tanks can be seen in transportation, distribution, and refining, manufacturing, fuel & gas industries. Most enterprises use the above storage tanks to store oil and fuel. Facilities using ASTs for fuel & gas must be managed according to the state and federal regulations if they fulfill specific criteria. According to the Federal Oil Pollution Prevention regulation, the facility owner or operation should prepare and implement an SPCC plan. The tanks should undergo thorough STI tank inspection, which certified tank inspectors should conduct.

So, what types of facilities must comply with the SPCC Rule?

•Facilities with an aboveground oil storage capacity of 1,320 gallons and more or an underground oil storage capacity of 42,000 gallons are required to have an SPCC plan.

•Facilities that may be reasonably required to discharge oil to the water bodies or shorelines in large quantities that may cause harm to the biodiversity of the area.

•Non-transportation-related storage tanks.

Suppose you own or operate a facility with a large capacity above ground or underground tanks. In that case, you are required to conduct tank integrity tests and inspections regularly or as per your SPCC plan. Tank integrity testing is also required whenever a tank is repaired or added to the facility. These tests and assessments should be in accordance with the industry standards. 

Why are Aboveground Storage Tank Inspections needed?

ASTs inspection is required by the federal government. Failing to comply with the industry inspection standard can attract EPA fines that are costly.

However, besides preventing disciplinary actions against a facility, regular inspection of ASTs offers many benefits.

Often, facilities have to comply with state and local tank inspection regulations to use and maintain aboveground and underground storage tanks. Some of these authorities are;

•The state, county, or municipal health and EPA have rules for the tank inspection requirements.

•Municipal Fire Departments that follow NFPA 30 and 30A code also govern the tank inspection requirements.

•Building codes like IBC and IFC also require facility owners to conduct tank integrity testing.

Apart from keeping a facility in compliance with various state and federal authorities, regular inspection of aboveground storage tanks ensures that the tanks are functioning optimally.

Even a minor dent or corrosion can lead to cataclysmic results like an oil spill, explosion, rupture, and contamination. Containing the leakage and cleaning the environment are time-consuming and cost-intensive processes. Thus, it’s best to take preventive measures to ensure there is no leakage or contamination in the tank. Regular AST inspections also help a facility comply with the STI code.

The Steel Tank Institute (STI) and American Petroleum Institute (API) have developed several guidelines for the facility owners and operators who use ASTs. Besides this, there are several ready resources like the API standard 653, STI SP001 standard that address various aspects of inspecting and maintaining shop-built tanks, and field erected tanks, etc.…