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Robotic solutions to catalyst unloading from petrochemical vessels

Published by , Editorial Assistant
Hydrocarbon Engineering,

Around 10 000 hours are spent unloading catalysts per year, and in 2016, there were 12 fatalities in one incident. Eliminating the need for human entry into an inert atmosphere, a robot has been invented that can remove these catalysts, the Catalyst Removal Amphirol (CAROL).

Developed in 2017, this innovative solution completed its first in-plant job in 2018. In 2019, CAROL goes commercial thanks to a partnership with USA DeBusk – a mechanical and industrial cleaning services provider specialising in serving the downstream energy sector.

“This is a fantastic push forward in the development of CAROL,” said Roy Brown, Director of Emerging Technology, Advisian Digital. “We are thrilled to be working with USA DeBusk because it is just as excited as we are about the opportunities with CAROL. This partnership also means that we are on this journey together to drive new standards and efficiencies and create a safer environment in the refining industry.”

There has been significant interest in CAROL in the US from major global companies. Representatives from these and Worley recently attended an in-house demo in Houston where CAROL was used to fill a 35 ft3 super sack with quarter inch ceramic balls in eight minutes.

“CAROL has the ability to reduce current downtime created during shift change and employee rotation, because the robot requires no breaks so can work around the clock. We also see some applications where CAROL can be used simultaneously during a gravity dump or enter the reactor while it is still at elevated temperatures to decrease catalyst removal time and standby.”

CAROL successfully performed its first US in-plant trial in Mississippi last year.

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Downstream news Downstream petrochemical news