Smart Tooling is a European project for Interreg Flanders-The Netherlands. With this project, several partners have worked together to develop robotic technologies to enable inspections on chemical plants. Robotic inspections will replace human inspections so that stricter safety and environmental regulations can be satisfied. Robots can additionally decrease inspection costs and lead to higher quality inspection data, because drones can reach places humans can’t.
Safety is extremely important when working on chemical installations. The smallest mistake can have the most extreme consequences, like explosions or the leakage of poisonous substances into the environment. Therefore, this project, supported by Interreg Flanders-The Netherlands, brings together partners with expertise in robotics and (chemical) inspection, including service providers and several middle to small businesses.
Avular’s role in the project was to supply a very safe drone. To do so, we increased the safety of our existing Vertex drone. We developed software to closely monitor parameters in the robot model, when the drone is flying. This information is directly made available to the control software to adjust the flight plan, based on local information. Additionally, we have increased the wind resistance of the drone, to better adapt it to extreme outdoor conditions. To increase quality of inspection data, Avular developed more accurate 3D path-flying controllers. With these controllers, inspection can be performed on complex installations and create data of the same inspection location time and time again.
Our project partner Airobot has developed collision prevention, geo-fencing technologies and a system to plan safe inspection flights. We have installed those systems on our Vertex drone and have integrated it with our improved software. This enables the drone to plan and execute complex inspection missions, while avoiding collisions. Geofencing prevents the drone from leaving the inspection site. This project has finished in 2020.
Subsidy program: Interreg Vlaanderen-Nederland