SAN ANTONIO, TEXAS – Plant management at a major U.S. nuclear generating station recently made substantial progress toward fulfilling the Nuclear Energy Institute (NEI) NEI 09-14 industry-wide requirement for the inspection of water storage tanks. Plant officials authorized the deployment of an Inspector-series underwater robotic system developed and operated by the partnership of IHI Southwest Technologies, Inc. (IHI) and Newton Labs (Newton). The survey yielded the most comprehensive and accurate data currently available for a bottom inspection of a filled condensate tank.
IHI recently announced that it is now offering this in-tank robotic nondestructive examination (NDE) service industry-wide in order to help utilities meet the fast approaching deadline of NEI 09-14. The IHI and Newton robotic inspection system that was deployed in the condensate tank utilizes a combination of phased array, eddy current and laser scanning of a tank bottom to produce an extremely precise defect map of more than 90% of the bottom plates. Unlike the inconsistency of manual inspections, often resulting in operator-induced error, the concise and uniform methodology of the semi-autonomous robotic search pattern enables the sensors to locate and map defects in the tank bottom. Additionally, the robotic system delivers an effective visual structural inspection (VSI) of all floor plate welds, including the corner welds, by capturing high-resolution video images as well as laser scans of the welds.
The inputs from the machine vision navigation system and the laser scanning of the floor plate welds are combined to develop and record a precise, virtual map of defects to within +/- 1/8th of an inch of their location. The IHI -Newton inspection system assigns each floor plate a unique label and maps defects to the corner of the nearest plate. By using the resulting coordinates, plant engineers can return to the location of every mapped defect, within that +/- 1/8th inch accuracy, whether during the initial inspection or even years later, in order to establish trending or to make repairs.
“IHI Southwest is very proud of the ability of this robotic inspection system to produce data more precise than previous method to satisfy the requirements of NEI 09-14” says Carlos Barrera, IHI Southwest President. Mr. Barrera went on to say “This system produces such accurate detail and location that we are sure that the industry will find it useful for determining tank conditions”
About IHI Southwest Technologies, Inc.
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 us 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, robotics, laser scanning 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. Over its more than 20 year history, Newton Labs has deployed more than 30,000 machine vision, robotic, laser scanning and automation systems worldwide.