Robotic inspections strengthen critical infrastructure across Europe

By Keefe Borden13 October 2022

Siemens Energy and Gecko Robotics have already completed inspections in the UK on power generation assets. Shown here, Siemens is providing long-term service and maintenance for the 152 SWT-2.3-93 wind turbines at the Clyde wind farm in Scotland, one of Europe’s largest wind energy projects. (Photo: Siemens Energy.)

Gecko Robotics announced a three-year collaboration with Siemens Energy’s European Field Service organization to market and perform advanced ultrasonic robotic inspections services across Europe.

These advanced robotic inspections are designed to strengthen critical infrastructure and transform how installed equipment is inspected and maintained. Together, the two companies will develop new technologies and services to better serve customers across several industries, including pulp & paper, power generation (conventional and renewable) and oil & gas.

“Over the past year, we’ve worked closely with experts from Siemens Energy to understand the value and impact that the collaboration of our companies can create for the European energy market,” noted Ryan Herman, Gecko’s Managing Director, Europe. “It’s become clear that by coming together to serve these customers we can unlock new data insights and help achieve reliability and efficiency not previously possible.”

Siemens Energy’s European Field Service organization and Gecko Robotics have already completed inspections across Europe in Poland (pulp/paper), Belgium (waste to energy), the Netherlands (food processing) and the UK (power generation). In support of the collaboration, Siemens Energy has established a new Product Competence Center in the Netherlands, with expansion plans underway, the companies announced.

“The collaboration between Gecko Robotics and Siemens Energy brings the best of both worlds together to deliver end-to-end value for our customers. With one of the industry’s largest installed fleets of rotating equipment, Siemens Energy will provide unparalleled customer access to bring proven robotics technology to its wide customer base,” said Herman Smit, manager robotic inspections at Siemens Energy. “The robotic inspection system will not only ensure safe and reliable operations of customer assets but also provide rich multi-modal data to make condition-based maintenance of static equipment much more feasible.”

Gecko Robotics’ robots are remote-controlled and equipped with ultrasonic transducers, localization sensors, lasers and HD cameras. They climb vertically and horizontally, adhering magnetically to an extensive range of equipment types to scan for changes in thickness, cracks, corrosion, blistering and other forms of degradation. The robots also include localization technology to pinpoint exact locations on an asset, allowing for truly accurate inspections that enable inspectors to examine corrosion trends over time, predict when failures will occur and estimate when repairs will be necessary, the companies said.

Data captured by Gecko’s robots and its software platform can then produce a validated report within 24 hours, allowing inspectors to quickly assess and make informed decisions about ongoing maintenance or repairs. This process and quick turnaround also enable inspectors to reduce asset downtime and lost production, while ensuring critical repairs are conducted with high confidence.

By aligning with Siemens Energy’s European Field Service organization, Gecko gains a local presence across Europe, access to local technical talent and the opportunity to work with customers in the region. Siemens Energy will be responsible for hiring and training local technicians and customer service personnel across Europe, allowing Gecko Robotics to efficiently deliver state-of-the-art technology, while adhering to all local safety and labor regulations.

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