Monday, July 22, 2024

IIT Guwahati startup develops robots to help clean petroleum tanks

Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Guwahati incubated startup Beta Tank Robotics (BetaTANK) on Wednesday announced two robotic solutions that can efficiently maintain and clean petroleum tanks eliminating manual labour for the hazardous task.

The robot to clean crude oil tank bottom sludge will sweep tank bottom sludge, and pump it to a receptacle outside the tank. These also have three very distinct USP over its contemporaries in the world.

Another robot to water wash and strip retail outlet petrol pump tanks will move inside the tank, raise their arms, spread their arms, and water-wash the tanks, including stripping the washings. This makes the gas freeing of these tanks easy, risk-free, and fairly quick.

According to Captain D. Chandrasekhar, founder of BetaTANK said, the robots are very compact and of low-height that enables them to pass under the heating coils that are found in many tanks.

The robot also has a pump that can use discharge pressure to move the thick sludge through long distances, which cannot be sucked out by a vacuum truck from outside.

“I planned to make this robot in 1995, when as a ship’s officer, I myself was inside the ship’s oil tanks, overseeing some tank operations. I believed a robotic solution was the way to work in such an environment. That dream could not be realised for almost 3 decades — until 2019,” he said in a statement.

BetaTANK has been incubated at IIT Guwahati’s Technology Incubation Centre (IITG-TIC) in the year 2019. It has been funded under the flagship programme — start-up India fund ‘Startup Nurturing, Enabling and Handholding (SNEH)” of OIL India Limited.

Robots have a huge application in the oil and natural gas industry particularly in situations where human entry poses significant risks. Major oil corporations encounter potential liabilities and reputational hazards when engaging in human entry into petroleum tanks.

“Tank oil cleaning falls under the category of dull, dirty and dangerous jobs, which now can be handed over to robots. Now the human operator needs only to monitor the cleaning operation from the outside without getting exposed to hazardous chemicals,” said Prof Uday Shanker Dixit, Department of Mechanical Engineering, IIT Guwahati, and Mentor of BetaTank.

“Although the products have been developed for the oil industry, with slight modifications the same technology can be adopted to cleaning of chemical tanks, sewage treatment plants, food processing tanks etc,” he said.

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