Developing new robotic solutions for CUI inspection on non-magnetic piping systems

Corrosion under insulation (CUI) can cause significant operational, economic and safety challenges. There is a strong drive in the oil and gas industry to replace traditional CUI inspections with new robotic tools that can traverse piping racks and access susceptible areas to CUI. Quasset is managing and executing a multi-year program on behalf of several major oil & gas companies to improve detection and mitigation of CUI supported by robotic technologies.

In 2017 and 2018, technology trials were executed at the Quasset Test Facility (QTF) to assess the capabilities of robotics for the inspection of CUI on a pressure vessel. Promising results from these trials drove the formation of the 2019 CUI Robotic Inspection development program.

Quasset, on behalf of the project sponsors, is requesting proposals for an Industry Challenge, which focuses on demonstrable robotic solutions that can access susceptible locations for CUI on non-magnetic piping systems and can reduce the maintenance cost and safety risks associated with piping system maintenance. Shortlisted participants will receive funding to demonstrate their solution, with the winning solution provider will receive a reward of €25.000, and the opportunity to further their solution and its application through the next phases of the multi-year CUI development program.

 

Project Sponsors

  • Phillips 66
  • Royal Dutch Shell
  • Woodside Energy

Industry Challenge Request for Proposal

Seeking adaptable and demonstrable robotic solutions that can be used for the inspection of Corrosion Under Insulation (CUI) on non-magnetic piping systems.

 

Request for Proposal Description

On behalf of the program sponsors, Quasset is seeking proposals to find demonstrable robotic technologies that can be used for the inspection of CUI on non-magnetic piping systems. The focus is on existing and new robotic tools that can traverse piping racks and access susceptible areas to CUI.

The proposed solution should meet the following requirements:

  • Ability to move and get into position on non-magnetic piping, adaptable to different pipe sizes, locations and geometries (see Piping Attributes section)
  • Can traverse and move around (simple) obstacles (see Piping Attributes section)
  • Ideally achieve 100% coverage area on the piping system, with direct access to only 5% of the piping’s surface area
  • Preferably avoids the need for scaffolding
  • Portable solutions that can be rapidly set-up and dismantled and is compliant with offshore and onshore Health, Safety and Environment (HSE) requirements
  • Novel solutions – any contribution that brings up closer to the goal (e.g. drones, crawling, walking)
  • TRL 4+ preferably near or close to market solutions; although novel prototype solutions will also be evaluated

Full or partial solutions are welcome from all industries and scientific areas.

Background

In the petrochemical industry, a large number of critical assets such as vessels, piping and tanks are insulated with non-magnetic materials that are undulating, curved and often irregular and therefore place the asset at risk of CUI. CUI is a form of corrosion that occurs due to moisture build-up on the external surface of an insulated equipment. Often, due to the presence of the insulation material, identifying CUI can be challenging until it is too late, leading to extended shutdowns, expensive emergency repairs, or a loss of containment.

In particular, the highest incidents of piping-related maintenance and failure is caused by CUI, as per industry statistics. Current inspection tools available have limitations in their ability to detect corrosion accurately, their ability to access susceptible locations, or require the removal of the insulation material. Additionally, there is a strong drive in the industry to replace traditional CUI inspection, which are manual, labour-intensive, expensive and result in large downtimes. This industry challenges focuses on demonstrable robotic solutions that can access susceptible locations for CUI on non-magnetic piping systems and can reduce the maintenance cost and safety risks associated with piping system maintenance.

Participants that have been shortlisted for the Industry Challenge will be invited to the Quasset Test Facility (QTF) to demonstrate their technology. As an independent facility, QTF provides third-party assessments of technology for robotic and inspection systems. From start-ups to leading oil and gas companies, service providers have the opportunity to work in consultation with QTF’s specialist robotics staff. QTF is an initiative of Quasset, a privately-owned Dutch company which provides modern asset management solutions for managing capital-intensive infrastructure. Through the company’s own innovation initiatives and domain knowledge, Quasset is uniquely positioned to support the innovation process of robotics from concepts to solutions.

 

Test Piping attributes

  • Piping Diameter: 12”, 14” and 16” NPS vertical and horizontal sections
  • Cladding material may be Aluminium, Stainless Steel or Galvanised Steel
  • Features that could be included but are not limited to:
    • 90° elbows and tees
    • Pipe reducers
    • Pipe supports
    • Headers
    • Welded connections
    • Nozzles
    • Small bore fittings
    • Flange sets
    • Trenches

Submission Guidelines

  • Proposal Submission:
    Participants must submit their proposal via the form below by 01 December 2019

    • Submission requirements:
      • Include a short abstract (between 250-500 words) describing your teams’ expertise, capabilities, technology and an overview of your proposed solution
      • Non-Confidential description of technology & method
        • Working principle(s)
        • Technology maturity & Technology Readiness Level (lab-scale tested, pilot scale tested, suitable for practical use)
        • Estimated requirements for possible participation in the demonstration trial including timing and budget
        • Short overview of team behind the proposal and expertise in this or related fields
      • Any information provided in the proposal is deemed to be non-confidential
      • Any supporting data (videos, reports, etc. can be submitted upon request)
      • If unable to submit via the form, please email innovation@quasset.com with the subject title: “CUI INDUSTRY CHALLENGE PROPOSAL – (Company/Organisation Name)” along with the information requested above
  • Screening & Evaluation:
    The proposal will be reviewed and assessed by a multi-disciplinary team of experts against the key success criteria. Potential participants may be asked to prepare a 15-minute pitch to the SC
  • Participants Announcement:
    The shortlisted participants will be selected for the demonstration round and will be asked to prepare a demonstration program with a task risk analysis, safety plans and operations procedures
  • Participants Demonstration:
    Shortlisted participants will be invited to Quasset Test Facility to demonstrate their technology. There will be a fixed budget provided to the shortlisted participants that can be used for the demonstrations, any modifications required, and any out-of-pocket costs. The robotic solutions will be evaluated against key success criteria

Timeline

Proposal Submission Deadline: 01 December 2019

Screening & Evaluation: December 2019/January 2020

Participants Announcement: 06 January 2020

Participants Demonstration: mid/end February 2020

Review Process

The review of all proposal submissions will be conducted by Quasset B.V, in consultancy with the program sponsors. Quasset reserves the sole and absolute right and discretion to select the shortlisted proposals and the winner. The proposal evaluation and winner selection will be made by an internal Quasset team and the project sponsors.

Winning Solution

Shortlisted participants will receive funding to demonstrate their solution, with the winning solution provider will get a reward of €25.000, and the opportunity to further their solution and its application through the next phases of the multi-year CUI development program. Second and third place winners will also receive a financial reward. Additionally, the solutions may be deployed on a client site, where the providers can see their solutions in action and gain valuable information from the deployment.

For further information, please contact: innovation@quasset.com

Terms & Conditions

Download the Terms and Conditions

Submission Form