Premium Inspection & Testing (PIT) conducted a first-of-its-kind internal coke drum inspection at an oil refinery using a Flyability’s Elios 2 and manned rope access.
Inspection experts from PIT were recently asked to conduct an internal inspection of a coke drum at an oil refinery in Texas, US, without using scaffolding.
Scaffolding is typically constructed for inspectors to stand on so that they can see the areas they are inspecting up close. Because scaffolding is expensive and time-consuming to put up and take down, personnel at the refinery were hoping to avoid using it.
Inspectors from PIT proposed using a method that had never been tried before for this kind of inspection: a combination of drone technology and manned rope access within the coke drum.
“Premium has years of experience performing inspections via rope access, having clocked a total of 2.2 million safe hours on ropes with zero accidents,” said Danny Landry, Premium’s VP of Business Development & Marketing. “We also have deep experience using drones to collect visual data for inspections, so we were excited to agree to take on the job without building scaffolding.”
The Flyability’s Elios 2 has a unique cage design that was created specifically for inspections in confined spaces.
For the coker inspection, the PIT team used the Elios 2 to collect visual data inside the coker, which was used to make sure it was clean and safe for the ropes team to enter. The drone’s visual data was also processed by automated crack detection algorithms, helping to pinpoint possible defects within the coker that the ropes team could investigate further.
Next, the ropes team set up and entered the coker, executing a variety of inspection tests that could only be performed in person, including a phased array test and a liquid penetrant test.