UniSA to research safer hazardous substance storage inspection
A research project led by the University of South Australia (UniSA) has been awarded over $480,000 in the latest round of Australian Research Council (ARC) Linkage Project funding.
Dr Gun Lee, from UniSA’s Australian Research Centre for Interactive and Virtual Environments, will lead research to improve the inspection of metallic oil and chemical tanks using mixed reality technology.
The project will run over three years and see UniSA researchers collaborate extensively with industry stakeholders.
With ARC funding of $480,234, Dr Lee’s team will partner with asset integrity firm NDE Solutions to develop more efficient methods for monitoring the safety of storage for hazardous substances.
“Metallic pressure vessels, tanks and piping house some of the most dangerous chemicals, which erode the internal structure of the storage asset over time,” said Dr Lee. “Currently, NDE Solutions uses remote-controlled robots to scan the internal structure of metallic assets, and this data is then analysed and plotted onto 3D models exhibiting tank and vessel integrity.
“This project will develop technology giving local tank inspectors and remote engineers the ability to remotely collaborate through seeing virtual scans overlaid onto physical assets as robots inspect them.”
NDE Solutions Director Kimal Singh says there is a strong push in the resources sector to move as many personnel as possible from the field into safer, city-based working environments, and providing engineers with the ability to remotely assess the integrity of their assets will assist that transition.
“Having an augmented reality system where engineers can plug into a field-based technician’s helmet camera and make changes to their head-up display would be of significant value to the industry and a step forward in the modern industrial revolution,” said Singh.
“This will improve inspection efficiency and contribute to preventing critical failures through early identification, thus averting disasters with potential for loss of life and environmental impact.”
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