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Robotization in the Oil&Gas sector

The 4 industrial revolutionThe introduction of robotization and automation was a bit hit on the overall industrial picture at the end of the 70s. Considered as the third industrial revolution, it impacted production system through all the sectors.

Jointly with the development of automation, robots enabled a rise in efficiency and accuracy on the production lines.

 

Whereas automation had clear applications in both manufacturing and processing industries, robotization was left behind regarding the process industry.

Today, robotization is making a come back on the edge of the scene in the Oil and Gas world thanks to digital technologies. Not used as a direct production means, robots are about to change how maintenance is done.

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Robot OperatorWith the mission to intervene in hazardous area to avoid exposing human operator, these ATEX certified robots are meant to become plant operators whiling to execute critical operations.

The opportunity for robots to enter the process industry is paired with the development of  plant 3D digital twins. It lets robots have the capacity to localize and move around facilities.

Some End-Users are already working on a deeper implication of robots in their maintenance teams to replace part of the human crews.

Benefits of this approach can be multiple:

  • Automate frequent maintenance operations
  • Increase the quality of execution
  • Take actions beyond human capabilities
  • Execute operations in dangerous conditions
  • Reduce number of humans on offshore structure

To reduce even more operational cost, End-Users are also considering for the near futur (5 years horizons) the development of offshore platforms fully operated by robots during long periods, with only one human visit per year for critical operations.

Robots integration on site goes further than maintenance organization and will change many aspects of our sector.
In term of design for example, the impact is huge as facilities should not be conceived in the same way for humans or for robots. Where human operators would prefer stairs and equipments at shoulder heigths, robots will require ramps and equipment at wheels height.

The introduction of robots will for sure change the face of facilities and equipments but will also increase the productivity as well as the security of plant operations.

Today robot operators are almost ready for their duty, the question being how fast can engineering companies and manufacturers adapt their services to be robot-friendly.

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