Phillips 66, an energy manufacturing and logistics company, and Square Robot, Inc. are advancing into the unmanned robotics inspection market through the joint development of an autonomous robot that would have the capability to inspect petroleum product storage tank floors while product remains in the tank. The untethered robot is being designed and will be certified for use in a wide range of petroleum products. The robot is expected to enter service in mid-2018.
Aboveground storage tanks are routinely removed from service to be drained, opened and cleaned at great expense in order to evaluate tank bottoms. The new robot is being developed to automatically survey and map obstacles within a tank — while the tank remains in static service — creating a specific route map allowing maximum coverage of the tank floor. Using the non-destructive testing (NDT) data gathered, a certified inspector will produce a floor thickness map allowing for a more accurate prediction of a tank floor’s remaining life.
“Our collaboration with Phillips 66 provides access to a significant team of experts in NDT inspection, safety, procedures and operations,” said Eric Levitt, Square Robot co-founder. “As a start-up, we would not have access to these tremendous resources outside of our core business of developing autonomous robots for confined spaces.”
“Ensuring the integrity of our equipment is one of our top priorities and we are always looking for innovative new technologies to help us achieve this,” said Todd Denton, general manager, Midstream Operations, Phillips 66. “Our collaboration with Square Robot presents a unique opportunity to develop technology that will enable us to maintain our equipment and minimize disruption to our customers.”
About Square Robot, Inc.
Square Robot was started by three Subsea Robotics professionals in May 2016, specifically to address the growing need for swimming autonomous robots for Oil and Gas applications. Aside from terrestrial tanks, the same autonomous hovering technology will have broad ranging applications for subsea infrastructure inspection. The rapidly growing Boston based start-up has recently completed a first round of fundraising and currently employs 12 engineers. The company intends to launch a tank floor inspection service business in Houston during the summer of 2018.
About Phillips 66
Phillips 66 is a diversified energy manufacturing and logistics company. With a portfolio of Midstream, Chemicals, Refining, and Marketing and Specialties businesses, the company processes, transports, stores and markets fuels and products globally. Phillips 66 Partners, the company’s master limited partnership, is an integral asset in the portfolio. Headquartered in Houston, the company has 14,600 employees committed to safety and operating excellence. Phillips 66 had $52 billion of assets as of June 30, 2017.