Yokogawa collaborates to accelerate adoption of robotics for Inspection of facilities
ExRobotics B.V., a Netherlands-based developer of robotics technology for hazardous environments, and Yokogawa Electric Corporation, a global provider of industrial automation, control, and measurement technology, announce the signing of a licensing agreement that will enable Yokogawa to sell and deploy ExRobotics’ inspection robot hardware and software platforms worldwide.
ExRobotics was established in 2017 to commercialize robotics technology for use in the potentially explosive atmospheres found at oil and gas production and processing facilities, which are often in remote locations with harsh environments. Even on normally unmanned facilities, a human presence is generally still needed for regular inspection work, so deploying robots can have a significant positive impact on worker safety by minimizing worker field trips, which in turn reduces operating costs.
Equipment operating in these hazardous environments must have IECEx*1 Zone 1 certification, and the ExRobotics ExR-1 was the first commercially available robot of its kind to meet the stringent requirements. It can be equipped with a range of sensors and cameras, has 4G LTE wireless network capabilities, and can be monitored and operated from a laptop, tablet, or smartphone by an operator located in a safe control room anywhere in the world. The robot is certified at a module level, which allows for customized configurations. It also has optional modules for gas detection and autonomous navigation.
Under the agreement, Yokogawa will leverage its customer base and global sales and service network to introduce the ExR-1 and future ExRobotics products to offshore and onshore oil and gas production facilities where inspections by humans should be minimized, as well as large refineries and chemical plants.
Ian Peerless, operations director at ExRobotics, commented that, “Together with Yokogawa we are able to speed up the implementation of this new technology and create a safer working environment for operators whilst improving our customers’ financial performance.”
Hiroshi Tanoguchi, head of the Lifecycle Service Business Division at Yokogawa, added, “We see huge demand from customers for service solutions that can address the safety, environmental, and economic issues they are facing in the field. The technology approach of ExRobotics, a co-member of the SPRINT Robotics Collaborative*2, meshes perfectly with Yokogawa’s vision for a robotics services platform. We look forward to building on this initial agreement to explore opportunities for collaboration on advanced solutions in the future.”
*1 International Electrotechnical Commission System for Certification to Standards Relating to Equipment for Use in Explosive Atmospheres (IECEx System)
*2 An industry-driven initiative launched in 2015 to promote the development, availability, and application of robotics techniques in technical inspections and maintenance of capital-intensive infrastructure
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