San Antonio, Texas - IHI Southwest Technologies, Inc. and Newton Labs completed a robotic examination of an in-service condensate storage tank (CST) at a United States nuclear reactor during the plant's 2014 fall outage.
IHI engineers conducted the inspection of the tank floor by utilizing a combination of phased array ultra-sound, eddy current, laser scanning, and high resolution cameras, all mounted on an Inspector-series underwater robot designed, manufactured and operated by engineers from Newton Labs. In the past, sites would have had to utilize divers or empty the tanks and send in personnel to conduct sample area manual inspections.
The Inspector robotic system, developed by Newton, gathered the data requested by the site's engineering team needed to satisfy NEI 09-14 requirements. The robot was used to survey over 90% of the tank bottom by inspecting each of the 36 floor plate of the 54 ft. (16,5 m) diameter tank, as well as visually examining the welds of each floor plate, including where the 52 ft. (15.8 m) tank wall meets the floor.
"IHI Southwest is proud to work with the first utility to satisfy the NEI 09-14 requirement by the use of an underwater robotic solution", says Carlos Barrera, IHI Southwest President. "We are pleased our customer finds the data useful for analyzing structural integrity and this demonstrates to the industry an efficient, cost effective and cutting edge method of obtaining accurate information regarding the tank condition," Barrera concluded.
IHI and Newton have partnered to offer robotic advanced NDE service that meets the NEI 09-14 requirements of the Nuclear Energy Institute for the inspection of nuclear plant water storage.
The Inspector underwater robot is equipped to carry two NDE probes in addition to five on-board video cameras which provide 360 degrees, plus down-looking live video. A built-in down-pointed laser scanner with 0.01 in. (0,3 mm) resolution produces a detailed point cloud output that, when applied to 3D software, a measurable CAD model can be generated. The robot's precision navigation system enables the locations of defects found on any plate to be mapped, allowing the robot to later return to those locations with +/- 1/8th inch (0,3 mm) accuracy.
About IHI Southwest
San Antonio based IHI Southwest Technologies, Inc. is a wholly owned subsidiary of IHI Corporation of Japan. IHI was formed in June 1999 as a spin-off from the NDE Services Department of Southwest Research Institute (SwRI). IHI's staff consists of qualified and experienced engineering and examination personnel. All of IHI's examiners are trained, qualified, and certified in the appropriate methods and on the applicable equipment in accordance with IHI procedures and client specific guidelines. IHI maintains a full-time staff of NDE examiners, which allows them to maintain the level of quality and productivity vital to the success and cost-effectiveness of our programs at plants around the world.
About Newton Labs
Seattle based Newton Labs is a privately held manufacturer of machine vision, laser scanning, robotics, and optical automation with significant nuclear experience. Newton's products are designed to allow the quality, efficiency and cost effectiveness of computer technology to replace the human element in virtually every industry. Newton Labs has deployed more than 30,000 machine vision, robotic, laser scanning and automation systems worldwide.