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Smart Solutions Autonomous Mobile Robots for Plant Inspection and Maintenance Have Arrived

From Ahlam Rais*

With chemical and chemical processing industries aiming to forge ahead in their automation and digitalization drive to develop their respective ‘Factory of the future’ or ‘Smart factory’, one thing is certain – it can’t be done without the use of robots at least for the time being. The concept of robots is not new but they have been transformed time and again to meet the challenges of today’s industrial plants especially with regard to plant inspection as well as maintenance and it won’t be wrong to term this phase as the ‘return and rise of robots.’

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The Germany-based specialty chemical firm Evonik has adopted robots to make data collection easier for its plant workers.
The Germany-based specialty chemical firm Evonik has adopted robots to make data collection easier for its plant workers.
(Source: Energy Robotics)

Robots are largely adopted by the automotive industry as they occupy a share of almost 30 % of the total supply, according to a 2018 report by the International Federation of Robotics however, with digitalization picking up pace across chemical and chemical processing industries, leading companies are now looking to incorporate robots into their operations. One recent example is a four-legged robot that was demonstrated at a chemical plant in Singapore. Known as ‘Rover-X’, the robot was jointly developed by the Home Team Science and Technology Agency (HTX) and has the ability to detect gas leakages if any.

Today, robots are being widely being used to carry out specific tasks more accurately, efficiently and quickly across plants and infrastructure assets for the core purpose of plant inspection and maintenance routines which is considered to be of utmost importance or sacred in this demanding sector.