Vopak has taken a step further towards developing smart tank terminals with the announcement that it is piloting the use of drones and robots for safer inspection and digital vessel clearance tool for faster, better and safer clearance process.
“With support from Singapore Economic Development Board, we have embarked on a digital and innovative transformation journey to make smart terminals a reality,” said Mr Tan Soo Koong, Managing Director of Vopak Terminals Singapore.
“In the period 2017-2019 Vopak is investing €100m in technology, IT and innovation, and a part of it is used to power four of our eight global digital projects in Singapore, driving the company’s competitiveness in serving the industry safely and opening up new opportunities for our people.”
The new initiatives tested include drone inspection, jetty inspection using an underwater remote operated vehicle (ROV), digital vessel clearance tool and robots for in-service tank inspection. Vopak’s initiatives will drive the digital transformation of the industry, leveraging on technology such as Industry Internet-of-Things, big data analytics, sensoring, mobile device and robotics to create a safer, sustainable and more productive workplace.
“Singapore is pleased to be a pilot location for a number of Vopak’s digital initiatives. Such investments will help catalyse the digital transformation of our energy & chemicals industry and strengthen the competitiveness of our local ecosystem,” said Mr Khalil A. Bakar, Deputy Director, Energy & Resources, Singapore Economic Development Board. “More importantly, it offers opportunities for workforce to be exposed to new innovative technologies that will increase their productivity and safety.”
Inspections are currently performed by people working inside confined space, which means that assets have to be shutdown to ensure the safety of the inspectors. The use of robots would avoid sending staff into confined spaces, minimise the exposure of personnel to potentially hazardous conditions, reduce downtime and waste water generation, and save resources. Likewise, diving remote operated vehicles can already be used to inspect jetties and pipelines, while drones are being tested for the internal inspection of tanks. While the tank is inspected it is still available to Vopak’s clients.
On vessel clearance, traditionally, the operators have to manually check against the vessel specifications, terminal infrastructure data and a list of globally recognised embargoed vessels. With Vopak’s digital vessel clearance tool, operators can tap on internal data-driven platforms to automatically clear vessels in just four clicks, and can provide customers with the latest information on when the terminal can accommodate incoming vessels. This service is now available at all of its four terminals in Singapore.
With the successful implementation of all the projects, Vopak can potentially reduce safety incidents, be more sustainable, improve service through better visibility on its supply chain and planning, and lower costs by improving terminal productivity.
Earlier this year, Vopak has tested the use of innovative sensors to monitor the health of product pumps and rolled out the use of ATEX proof mobile devices at the terminals to improve work processes at the terminal and become predictive.
For more information visit www.vopak.com
13th December 2018