Philip Dietzold attended iTanks at Rotterdam's submarine dry-dock. Focused on innovation, new ideas, start-ups and breaking technologies this event targeted at industrial tank installations. Many wonderful new products; Emerson's cable-less tank instrumentation, RoNik's internal tank inspection drone and software, robots for cleaning tanks, refractive optic fiber gratings with lasers for measurements, TNO Innovation looking for someone to commercialize some of their ideas, brainstorm work sessions offering networking opportunities, robot welders and much more. Even a presentation containing a spider diagram I put together for Odfjell's progress with PGS29 compliancy!
Itanks reconfirmed belief and enthusiasm for new things; things in their very infancy. There were a lots of camera prototypes. Vopak and others showing tank terminal logistics and management ideas. TNO talking about the terminal of the future - though politely avoiding true out-of-the-box approaches such as totally sea-based installations.
Drone approaches are very much in the lift. Nowadays with 4k cameras it is easy to provide an extra dimension to pure video. A focus on asset inspection and integrity will lead to almost 24x7 assurances. It is already more than possible to fit thermal imaging/flare camera's to a drone. These approaches are already open-art and readily available on the market for anyone to exploit.
Correspondingly any start-up will find it difficult to present uniqueness and cut out a market wedge. Competition will be fierce and only experience and reputation will give advantage.
RoNik's approach did best here for internal tank inspections where operation in flammable environments/intrinsic safety is an edge. The market is moving forward very fast and in a year you will see rapid maturing. Given this it early adoption provides an edge over "wait and see" .
Emerson's wire-less tank instrumentation display was impressive. The gain through adoption saves millions in CAPEX and OPEX let alone these devices having all the SIL levels. Cable-less technology linked in with Fieldbus-type transmission have been around a long time now so more than time enough for broader uptake.