UK's first 'No Man Entry' robotic tank cleaning company
02 April 2019
Re-Gen Robotics, sister company of Re-Gen Waste, one of Europe’s most advanced materials recovery facilities, has launched what it describes as the first and only remotely controlled, ‘No Man Entry’ robotic tank cleaning company in the UK.
The company has invested £1.5M in two purpose-built, fully compliant, Ex Zone 0 rated machines; one designed to de-sludge, wash and clean large scale tanks and a second, lightweight and highly portable compact unit suitable for use on smaller sites and underground storage tanks and containers, including petrol forecourts, interceptors and process tanks.
The state of the art, automatic tank cleaning system will eradicate industry fatalities in the British Isles, eliminating human exposure to Confined Spaces and hugely decreasing all risk categories. There are 25 avoidable deaths within confined spaces in the UK and Ireland each year due to hazardous works, manual tank cleaning methods, which remains common practice.
Re-Gen Robotic’s closed loop cleaning system is fully compliant with existing safety legislation and can reduce cleaning time by up to 45 per cent, significantly decreasing downtime and loss of production whilst the facilities are not operational. The Ex-zone rated equipment is effective, reliable and provides predictable cleaning times, meaning the tank is brought back into operation quicker and reduces the need for additional tank capacity, permitry delays and additional support teams.
Fintan Duffy, MD of Re-Gen Robotics, said: “Traditionally, personnel entering into confined spaces to perform cleaning prior to inspections has been the only way to implement a detailed legislative inspection, de-sludge or clean for product change. There are inherent risks to entering a hazardous confined space and although safety regulations and standards are high, occasionally accidents occur, due to the likelihood of human error or failure of safety devices.
“Every year as many as 25 people in Ireland and the UK lose their lives working in confined spaces. Exposure to hazardous petrochemicals, heat stress and slips or falls are the main risks faced by workers who manually clean oil tanks. With Re-Gen Robotics, tanks can be automatically cleaned fast, in a predictable way, using technology that meets the highest safety standards in the industry.
“We place a high premium on workplace safety and with the introduction of our exclusive robotic system, we aim to be the market leader in safe, reliable, sustainable industrial cleaning.”
Health and safety legislation currently stipulates that ‘a person shall not carry out work in confined spaces if it is reasonably practical that it could be avoided’.
Mr Duffy said: “Companies cannot afford to be negligent where human life is concerned. As well as the obvious tragedy and impact on family when a life is lost, there is a negative impact to companies associated with loss of life through confined space working; there is damage to organisational reputation, company and shareholder value and the risk of corporate manslaughter charges to consider.
“At no time during the Re-Gen Robotics cleaning process will there be a need for human presence in the confined storage container. Our technical operator remains a safe distance away in the Zone 2 control unit, where they can monitor activity and progress through a series of ATEX cameras fixed to the equipment placed inside the tank being cleaned.
“There is no human exposure to sludge or waste materials during the cleaning process and once cleaning is complete, the robot safely washes itself down, exits the container via its ramp and is returned to the control unit.
“At Re-Gen Robotics what we have created is truly game changing conditions for the Tank Terminal Sector. The economic, environmental and safety benefits are extensive and the market is embracing our innovation,” Mr Duffy said.