The SPRINT Robotics Awards 2019 were announced last week at the SPRINT Robotics World Conference for Inspection and Maintenance Robotics in Rotterdam, the Netherlands. The awards recognized exceptional work in inspection and maintenance robots.
This year, the SPRINT Robotics Awards included three categories: Groundbreaking Collaborative Work Towards Acceptance of Inspection and Maintenance Robotics; Scaling of a Robotic Solution; and New Innovative Technology in Inspection, Maintenance, or Cleaning.
“It is a privilege to present the SPRINT Robotics Awards to the winners,” said Tjibbe Bouma, chairman of SPRINT Robotics. “These companies are trailblazers for accelerated global acceptance of robotics for inspection and maintenance. This will make inspection and maintenance safer, more productive, and more environmentally friendly.”
“SPRINT Robotics is very happy with the rapid progress and growing momentum that was evident at the conference,” he added. “This prize is an important recognition for the recipients, and I congratulate them on behalf of the SPRINT Robotics Collaborative.”
SPRINT Robotics Awards recognize collaboration
GE Inspection Robotics won first prize for Groundbreaking Collaborative Work Towards Acceptance of Inspection and Maintenance Robotics. Its Boiler Wall Cleaning and Inspection Robot (BWCI) is an automated robotic system for water wall cleaning and inspection, removing the need of sending human inside confined spaces. GE Inspection Robotics said its collaboration with BASF Antwerp focused on operational procedures and implementation, resulting in a final industrialized system that is in operational use at BASF.
“With the technology we develop, we are disrupting current inspection and maintenance practices,” said Ekki Zwicker, CEO of GE Inspection Robotics. “We rely on and we embrace collaboration with industrial partners, enabling [them] to deploy robotics. BASF has been an enabler for many years, and we appreciate the trust and exchange we get implementing robotic solutions.”
Other winners in this category were Nexxis, which partnered with Australia’s Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO). It took second place for the development of Magneto, a robotic platform designed to naturally climb and inspect complex industrial geometries.
The third-place prize went to IRISNDT, the first non-destructive testing (NDT) company to commercially test 3D localization on the GE Bike, in collaboration with GE Inspection Robotics.
Scaling a robotics solution winners
Dow Chemical Co. was first place winner of the SPRINT Robotics Award for Scaling of a Robotic Solution. While many companies pursue eliminating confined-space entries (CSEs), the company said it has pivoted to embrace zero CSEs.
Dow has accelerated its robotic deployments for inspection and maintenance activities across their global sites; their safety-first initiative has ignited the drive for robotic deployments, quickly enabling many sites with a comprehensive robotic toolbox of platforms and sensors.
“Our primary goal is increasing safety. By using robots, we bring back the number of confined-space entries, make working at high altitudes safer, and even diving under water is done by robots,” said Peter Voorhans, MEC TS global improvement leader at Dow. “It is not only safer, but working with robots is also more efficient and yields more consistent data that further improves maintenance work. 48.000 hours of confined space entry have been avoided by the use of robots.”
Second prize in the Scaling of a Robotic Solution was awarded to Total for its ATEX-type of ground robot, which was able to execute many operational tasks in both tele-operated and autonomous mode.
Innovative technology for inspection, maintenance, or cleaning
Nexxis was the first-place winner of the SPRINT Robotics Award for New Innovative Technology in Inspection, Maintenance, or Cleaning. Magneto, designed and developed by Nexxis, is the next generation of multi-limbed, climbing inspection robots that are able to exceed the mobility and versatility of operations from current inspection solutions. Magneto provides an autonomous and spatially aware robotic platform, using advanced sensors and cameras coupled with artificial intelligence.
“Nexxis has focused on a collaboration framework together with our partners CSIRO Data61 and NERA to ensure our robotics roadmap delivers the outcomes our customers are looking for,” said Jason De Silveira, director of Nexxis. “Magneto is focused on providing the dexterity needed to manipulate in order to become part of the autonomous intelligent working robot. Winning the award is validation that we are in fact on track in the technology space and very humbling.”
Other winners in this category included Diakont, which won second place for the Diakont Underwater Robotics Decontamination tool used in nuclear
RoNik Inspectioneering placed third with its RoNik UT drone, which can execute a number of different tasks for tank shell and roof plates.
The Robot Report is launching the Healthcare Robotics Engineering Forum, which will be on Dec. 9-10 in Santa Clara, Calif. The conference and expo will focus on improving the design, development, and manufacture of next-generation healthcare robots. Learn more about the Healthcare Robotics Engineering Forum, and registration is now open.
About the SPRINT Robotics Awards
The SPRINT Robotics Awards are awarded annually. This year, they were presented during the conference banquet at the SPRINT Robotics World Conference for Inspection and Maintenance Robotics. The winners were selected by a majority vote by the SPRINT Robotics Program Committee.
Launched in 2015, the SPRINT Robotics Collaborative is a global not-for-profit foundation, driven by asset owners and operators to promote the development, availability, application, and commercialization of robotics techniques in technical inspections and maintenance of capital-intensive infrastructure.
With industry progress and acceptance of inspection and maintenance robotics globally, the SPRINT Robotics Collaborative network continues to grow rapidly. Participants include energy companies, technology developers and suppliers, and service providers in the robotic inspection and maintenance field around the world.