Robotics in Rotterdam

01 October 2018

On 13 September I was lucky enough to attend EEMUA’s Inspection seminar held in Rotterdam. Asides from giving me the opportunity to envy the ease and affordability of the train service between Amsterdam Schiphol and Rotterdam, this also meant I could catch up on some of the latest innovations and issues in a key field for our members.

Rotterdam is the heart of the tank storage community, so it is no surprise that this industry was well represented in both presentations and attendees. However, checking structural integrity is a universal need in engineering, so methods for inspecting wind turbines were also discussed, as was a technique which could be used for detecting high temperature hydrogen attack – a key concern in refineries. The latter was presented by EddyFi Technologies, who also had a display at the event. Of course, techniques used to find flaws in composite blades can be used to find flaws in composite tanks. Cross overs in application are an essential part of engineering innovation, and something EEMUA was originally established to help foster. One of the things that came through very strongly was the interest shown in the real world examples given, and the practical applications. These were enthusiasts, showing their enthusiasm. Discussions over lunch, and after the official close of the event, remained animated.

A few times EEMUA’s role as the “voice of the user” was raised; is there scope for EEMUA to be involved in some of the issues involved in specifying inspection location and frequency? Coupled with some of the advances in robotics that were discussed, it opens the prospect of an intriguing future for inspection, where machines can take a greater part in gathering the data that humans need to verify fitness for service.

Any further steps remain, at the moment, a matter for science fiction. While humans still hold the duty of care, EEMUA will continue to provide routes for experiences and progress to be shared across industries and geographies, helping improve safety, efficiency, and compliance.

Stefan Kukula
Chief Executive