Drones as aerial platforms
To perform inspections and maintenance work more safely and efficiently, it is becoming increasingly common for industrial companies to turn to robots. In Terneuzen, we are no exception, having gained a lot of experience in working with robots over the past few years, including a number of advanced drones.
Drones for better safety and efficiency
Robots are deployed to perform higher-risk works safely and efficiently. Peter Sparreboom, Global Technology Associate Elevated Work Access & sUAS Regional Focal Point EMEAI at Dow: "As an example, we did research when the flare installation was in operation, by using a drone we got valuable insight into the situation. In this way we could make much more targeted preparations for the repair which reduced to minimum the time that people had to carry out works at height. Also, this shortened the flare’s downtime, which meant enormous savings."
From signaling to solving
Peter: “We are now also developing drones that can do more than just visual inspections. For example, consider drones with thermal cameras, gas sensors, or a drone that can measure wall thickness or the layer thickness of a coating.” Drones have endless possibilities. Ultimately, the step from inspection to repair must also be made. This means that not only problems are noticed, but those problems can also be solved by a drone or another robot. Peter: “The developments you see in the field of preventing entry into confined spaces are also seen when working at heights. The less an employee has to work at a height, the more risks are avoided and that is what we want to achieve in the end.”
Center of Expertise
To accelerate innovation and use of robotics within Dow, the Center of Expertise for Robotics in Europe has been set up in Terneuzen. New developments in robotics are driven from this center and robotics support is provided to Dow sites in Europe. In Terneuzen, we have a large number of robots that we manage and loan to other sites. In addition, we have also built up a network of external partners in the field of robotics. This means that we can usually find a solution even for the most challenging issues.