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The robotized field operator

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The scenario shows how robotics technology could take a step further and move into oil and gas facilities to improve health, safety, and the environment (HSE) and increase productivity. The world's energy consumption is growing, and although alternative energy sources are currently expanding, there remains a high demand for oil and gas. Onshore robots will have to tolerate sand storms, direct sunlight, rain and humidity, extreme temperatures, and exposure to different poisonous gases such as H^sub 2^S. Such specifications are not usually required for reliable robot operations in conventional manufacturing process plants.

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									The robotized field operator
                            Trends suggest there will be new solutions to
                            build on existing infrastructure and to develop
                            new oil and gas fields


                            T
By Arne Ulrik                    he aim, in almost all industries, is to have     Camera mounted on robots
Bindingsbo,                      a high level of automation to increase pro-      An orange robot moves around the process site,
Charlotte Skourup,               ductivity and efficiency.                         performs a combination of routine inspections,
and John Pretlove              Industrial robots, which have been one im-         and replaces a safety valve. This robot works
                            portant technology enabler in achieving this          along side two others.
                            aim, perform repetitive, heavy, dirty, and dan-          A human operator located hundreds of miles
 For an extended
 version, go to
 www.isa.org/
                     @      gerous tasks.
                               Within the oil and gas industry, robots have
                                                                                  away in the process control center supervises all
                                                                                  three. The human supervisor has defined and
 intech/20091002.           worked in very specific niche applications             initiated the maintenance tasks in response to
                            where the main driver has been safety, but this       a condition-based monitoring report generated
                            trend is now changing.                                by the automation system. With overall respon-
                               Oil and gas companies have started to explore      sibility for safety, the operator instructs the au-
                            broader applications where robots may also            tomation system to reschedule the subtasks.
                            have a positive impact on productivity and ef-           Using the 3-D camera mounted on one of the
                            ficiency. One such application is the remote op-       robots, the operator inspects the machinery
                            eration of oil and gas fields, particularly those in   and identifies further components that require
                            hazardous environments.                               removal and replacement.
                                                                                     Although this scene is set sometime in the fu-
                                                                                  ture, it is not far from reality. Some aspects of
                                                                                  it are already happening in space and deep be-
                                                                                  neath the oceans, where humans cannot easily
                                                                                  perform tasks. The scenario shows how robotics
                                                                                  technology could take a step further and move
                                                                                  into oil and gas facilities to improve health,
                                                                                  safety, and the environment (HSE) and increas
								
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