ADVERTISEMENT
4 /5 FREE ARTICLES LEFT THIS MONTH Remaining
Chemistry matters. Join us to get the news you need.

If you have an ACS member number, please enter it here so we can link this account to your membership. (optional)

ACS values your privacy. By submitting your information, you are gaining access to C&EN and subscribing to our weekly newsletter. We use the information you provide to make your reading experience better, and we will never sell your data to third party members.

ENJOY UNLIMITED ACCES TO C&EN

Instrumentation

Robots, climbing ones, come to the chemical plant

Start-up Invert Robotics raises money for safety-inspecting robot

by Michael McCoy
May 2, 2019 | APPEARED IN VOLUME 97, ISSUE 18

09718-buscon2-robot-gif.gif
Credit: Nouryon
Invert Robotics' robot crawls the inside of chemical plant vessels to inspect for integrity. For more, visit https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LaI5XC7VNHQ.

The start-up Invert Robotics has raised $8.8 million from investors to advance development of robots that can help chemical and other industrial companies inspect dangerous places in their plants.

The New Zealand-based firm says its robots are the first specifically designed to inspect for safety and integrity in nonmagnetic hazardous environments. Equipped with a camera and other tools, they crawl the sides of vessels on suction-cup-covered treads.

09718-buscon2-robot.jpg
Credit: Invert Robotics

Invert was a winner of last year’s Imagine Chemistry start-up contest sponsored by the specialty chemical maker Nouryon. Marco Waas, a Nouryon research, development, and innovation director, says his firm tested the robot at its salt facility in Hengelo, the Netherlands. The results were encouraging, though the robot struggled with complex geometry, Waas says.

Chemical makers also use flying drones to aid in plant and site inspections. At Dow, for example, Johnathon Casillas is the leader of a team of six drone pilots.

Waas sees robots and drones as complementary. Robots offer high image quality and can carry other equipment, but they have trouble on curved, rough, or dirty surfaces. Drones are more agile, but they are weak on video quality, can’t carry much, and are limited by battery life, he notes.

X

Article:

This article has been sent to the following recipient:

Leave A Comment

*Required to comment