The five partners taking part in this project is perfectly balanced consortium with respect to engineering and commercial experience. Our consortium spans three different European countries (UK, Turkey, and Poland), and includes three industrial members, namely InnoTecUK, Technic-Control, and Integrity NDT. The five partners bring together strong expertise in robotics (InnoTecUK), control systems (LSBIC), NDT instruments and service providing (Technic-Control, Integrity NDT) and ultrasonics (TWI). The rest of this section provides a brief portfolio of each partner and their roles in the project.
Organisation Name: Innovative Technology and Science Limited
InnoTecUK is a dynamic and progressive technology and research company with diversified expertise in the fields of automation, non-invasive sensors development and instrumentation design and packaging.
InnoTecUK with a workforce of 44 staff, is focusing on delivering client-led solutions to maximise life-cycle production asset values. Innovation of novel mechatronics systems to overcome complex sensing, measurement, control, automation, and inspection challenges is their intellectual passion. Their client base is diverse, encompassing aerospace, chemical, food processing, maritime, renewable, power generation, nuclear and oil and gas sectors.
Consistently delivering value and technical excellence under challenging operating conditions is the key to their success. Bespoke solutions, tailored to client requirements, supported by advanced platform technologies are the essence of this.
Among numerous successful automation products in the NDT sector, InnoTecUK have delivered a fully automated robotic system for weld inspection in FPSO tanks.
InnoTecUK has a fully stocked Laboratory at their facility in Cambridge with computers, simulation work stations, 3D CAD software (SolidWorks), Labview, embedded controllers, sensors, ADC/DAC, Oscilloscope, communication switches, power supplies, small machinery tools, mechanical and electrical tools, mechanical, electronic and electrical components, etc. InnoTecUK’s technical staff has extensive prior experience working in lab and on site environments.
The role of InnoTecUK in the project will be coordinating the project, based on their extensive experience in EU funded project management. Having brought to market numerous robotic products in the NDT field, InnoTecUK will undertake TankRob’s hardware and mechanical design optimisation as well as the certification of the system according to the specified international standards. Upon the action’s completion, InnoTecUK will further coordinate TankRob’s manufacturing and upgrade in close collaboration with Technic-Control.
Organisation Name: Technic-Control Sp. z o.o.
Technic-Control is one of the leading NDT service providers in central Europe. With over 20 years of experience in their domain, Technic-Control are delivering NDT services with the following methods: RT (including digital CR and digitisation of radiographs), UT, UT-PA, MT, PT, VT, PMI, FT, LT of structures and products at the fabrication and operation stages. They employ highly skilled personnel holding personal competence certificates at Level 2 and 3 according to EN 473 standard (PN-EN ISO 9712:2012).
Techni-Control has 16 employees working for the company.
Based on their background, Technic-Control plays a role on overseeing TankRob’s validation in operational environment. Their position in the NDT market makes them ideal to undertake the dissemination and pre-commercial application activities which is the reason why they are appointed leaders of the associated work packages. Technic-Control constitute a crucial link in TankRob’s value chain. Leveraging their vast client network, they will be responsible for commercialising the system and oversee its distribution in the European region.
Organisation Name: TWI ltd
TWI, established in Cambridge UK in 1946 and with several facilities across the globe, is one of Europe’s foremost independent research and technology organisations, employing 740 scientists, technologists, administrative and support staff world-wide (540 in the UK and Europe) and with annual (2014) group turnover of £80million (€94million).
TWI works across all industry sectors with expertise in key aspects of materials, materials joining, structural integrity, static and dynamic testing and non-destructive testing (NDT) and non-destructive evaluation (NDE) and has representation on over 100 standards committees. The majority of TWI’s activities (65%) are contract research, funded by industry and built around the development of advanced technologies. TWI is also an active participant in collaborative research programmes in Europe and the UK.
TWI has been involved in over 90 European framework projects, many of which have been in the field of NDT and condition monitoring involving ultrasonic testing and eddy current testing. Projects of this type are normally targeted at the aerospace, automotive, oil & gas and energy related industries. TWI has been consortium/project or technical project leader on at least half the number of occasions from framework 5 and onwards through to H2020.
TWI’s NDT activities focus on bespoke and technically challenging inspection solutions. One example of this is the first commercial guided wave pipe inspection system, Teletest, which is available through TWI’s subsidiary Plant Integrity Ltd., and is now in its fourth generation. Through Plant Integrity Ltd, TWI has manufacturing, assembly and production capabilities in the NDT and electronics areas.
TWI therefore has the ideal credentials to deliver a successful project, on time and within budget with a higher than normal chance of product exploitation at the end of the project and particularly where the project developments are highly relevant to their industrial membership that is currently around 3000 organizations in over 60 countries.
Below is a list of all sectors of TWI’s Industrial Member companies. TWI helps such companies by undertaking project work, training and providing advice and consultancy in joining, engineering and allied technologies.
- Engineering and Fabrication
- Equipment Consumables and Materials
- Electronics and Sensors
- Oil and Gas
Added to this, TWI’s dedicated team of industry specialists add value to almost every conceivable industry sector – from offshore oil and gas, civil engineering and nuclear power, to electronics, advanced aircraft (both civilian and military), medical equipment and solar power. Because it serves such a broad client base TWI understand and appreciate that different industries have different needs. Therefore, TWI’s research programme is market driven.
TWI has a rich and well-publicised history of innovation and invention dating back to the time of the British Welding Research Association in the 1940s. Memorable highlights from the past include the CTOD method for measuring fracture toughness, the Wells wide plate test, types of high powered CO2 laser, and many innovations in the use of laser, friction, arc, adhesive bonding and other technologies related to welding, joining, coating and testing.
As well as undertaking research and project work on behalf of its Members, TWI also produces a number of products and software packages:
- TeleTest Focus + long-range guided wave detection system for pipes and tubular structures
- TeleTest Permamount fixed guided wave monitoring device
- PolyTest system for plastic pipe inspection
- Railect phased array inspection system for rail welds
- RiskWISE 5 – RBI code-compliant plant inspection and maintenance software
- CrackWISE – fatigue and fracture assessment software in accordance with BS 7910
- IntegriWISE – fitness for service software compliant with industry standards
Current inventions being actively exploited at TWI include friction stir welding (FSW – a revolutionary solid state joining technique), surfi-sculpt (a power beam material modification technique), vitolane (a unique platform technology for the creation of bespoke materials) and novel methods for welding using reduced pressure high power electron beam (HPEB) technologies.
TWI is actively exploiting 5 distinct inventions and has over 180 granted patents in its portfolio. TWI has granted over 250 licences world-wide. Income from licensing exceeded £2.3m in 2014.
TWI is the global leader in NDT technique research. Their deep expertise in the field of ultrasonics (both UT and LRUT) will be extremely valuable in optimising the flaw detection algorithms in order to finalize TankRob’s commercial version. They will also contribute greatly towards the system’s validation and demonstration by applying the any modifications needed to maximise accuracy in operational environment. Finally, TWI will have a very important role in dissemination activities thanks to their direct access to potential customers through their extensive network of members.
Upon TankRob’s launch, TWI will facilitate prompt market take-up by providing access to their network of members which include some of the largest Oil & Gas companies in Europe (see clients/partners section) as well as numerous NDT providers. Their role in the TankRob value chain, apart from bringing in the UT technology, involves providing training services on TankRob operation.
Organisation Name: London South Bank University (Innovation Centre)
The London South Bank Innovation Centre (LSBIC) has been established recently in Granta Park, Great Abington, Cambridge, UK by London South Bank University (LSBU) to research and develop automation for non-destructive testing. The aim is to take award winning robot prototypes developed by the university towards commercialisation by locating the centre in an industrial environment.
The university’s Centre for Automated and Robotic NDT together with a team of 21 research staff has developed 16 robots for industrial inspection tasks by participating in collaborative research with UK and European R&D and end-user partners. The impact of this work has been high. It has won eleven awards for best papers and industrial innovation in the field of robotics (awarded by the Emerald international journal “Industrial Robot” and the international conference on “Climbing and Walking Robots and their Support Technologies”. These wall-climbing, swimming and mobile robots have addressed the problems of performing inspection:
- In oil and petrochemical storage tanks to detect corrosion and pitting on the floors and walls of the tanks while submerged in liquids
- In nuclear plant to test welds on pipes in the primary circuit and in nozzles on pressure vessels while submerged in water
- On aircraft fuselage and wings to detect corrosion and cracks along rivet lines
- Inside floating production oil storage tanks in ships to test welds while submerged in oil
- On the hulls of ships to test welds during manufacture in dry docks
- On large steel plates to detect defects such as cracks and inclusions in the plate after manufacture
- On wind turbine blades with a climbing robot
- On aircraft turbine blades with a portable 7 DOF scanning arm
- On large buildings while operating on brick, concrete and glass surfaces
This research was selected in 2010 by the Royal Society for its 350th anniversary summer science exhibition at the Royal Festival Hall to showcase mobile wall climbing robots with an exhibit titled “Robot Detectives: Sherlock Holmes meets Spiderman”. It was selected again by the Royal Academy of Engineering as an interactive display in its zone at the Big Bang event, ICC ExCel Centre in March 2011.
LSBIC will be responsible for the motion control algorithms of TankRob. The algorithms will be optimised and fine-tuned to be fully aligned with the mechanical design of the commercial version as well as to adapt to potential technical difficulties appearing during the validation and demonstration of TankRob in operational environment.
LSBIC will also contribute to the dissemination activities of TankRob, especially the scientific and technological ones exploiting the existing communication channels of the London South Bank University.
Organisation Name: Integrity NDT Muhendislik SAN. TIC. VE LTD. STI
Integrity NDT Mühendislik, certified to ISO 9001:2008, has become a key service provider and approved supplier to the likes of GDF Suez, TUPRAŞ (Turkish Petroleum Refineries), SABIC Refineries (KSA), Ipragaz LPG and PETKIM Refinery, delivering cost effective inspection management, advanced inspection application and asset management and software solutions, combined with over 35 years of experienced engineers in planning and carrying out all aspects of NDT in fabrication, power, and process plant worldwide.
Integrity NDT has 27 resident staff based in Ankara, Turkey. Qualified staff have a suite of independent inspection qualifications conforming to ISO 9712 standards Levels II and III in all major NDT methods including Eddy Current, Magnetic Particle Inspection, Liquid Penetrant Inspection, Radiography, Ultrasonic Inspection, Weld Inspection and Metallurgical Inspection. Additionally Integrity NDT Mühendislik specialise in Automated Ultrasonic Testing including Phased Array (PAUT) and Time of Flight Diffraction (TOFD) inspections and developing, verifying and certifying inspection solution applications.
Integrity NDT Mühendislik also provides commercial inspection management software tools; Clients in the Power Generation, Oil & Gas and Petrochemical industries utilize Integrity NDT Mühendislik inspection systems. These systems are also applied in-house to contracts run by Integrity NDT Mühendislik, ensuring accurate QA/QC reporting and efficient project management. Their vast experience in commercialising in-house developed products such as Quartz software and I-scan UT scanners (presented in the figure below) will be extremely valuable in ensuring prompt and successful market take-up for TankRob.
Based on their strong expertise in ultrasound NDT service providing, Integrity NDT will lead TankRob’s validation and demonstration in operational environment by overseeing its operation in an in-service oil tank and assessing its performance. Moreover, they will greatly contribute to the product’s commercialization leveraging the experience they have accumulated by successfully commercializing in house developed UT scanners.
Integrity NDT have a central role with respect to TankRob’s marketing plan. Their strategic position in Turkey will be leveraged in order to penetrate the Asian and Middle-Eastern region within the first year after TankRob’s launch. Integrity NDT already have an extensive client and partner network in this regions including large companies like HUBCO HubPower (Pakistan). This guarantees smooth distribution network establishment progress and prompt market take-up.