Robotics: Collaboration Pushes Boundaries of Offshore Cleaning and Inspection

Image courtesy Woodside
Image courtesy Woodside

Woodside collaborated with industry to create a state-of-the-art offshore caisson cleaning and inspection tool (CCAIT system), designed to enable safe and cost-effective remote inspection of offshore platforms.

The unique system was designed, developed and deployed in less than 12 months via a collaboration led by Woodside Energy (Woodside) and incorporating Perth-based expertise from Nexxis, Monadelphous, WOMA, and Fugro.

The CCAIT system incorporates a human-sized robot, designed to inspect the inside of caissons - vertical carbon steel pipes up to 70m long and up to 1.2m wide. These structures are used on offshore platforms to house critical equipment such as firewater and seawater lift pumps.
In response to possible COVID-related supply chain risks, a local solution was sought, inspiring the collaboration.

The CCAIT system is remotely controlled from the platform, lowered inside the caisson via a tether and winch . Wheels are then extended to centralize the tool within the caisson, and probe arms extend to enable ultrasound inspection. A series of high-definition cameras stream video back to the technicians, with the data used by the asset team to define the forward plan.

“The CCAIT system removes the costs of mobilising tools from international locations, including the cost of delay in fractured supply chains," said Daniel Kalms, EVP, Woodside. "These can represent up to 50% of the total cost of an inspection campaign."

“It was incredible to see the team, including Woodside graduate robotics engineers, write software to dramatically improve the performance and usability of the tool. The project team was made up of people from local companies who came together and designed, procured, fabricated, tested, and validated a robotic solution during the height of a pandemic in under a year,” he said.

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