SPRINT Robotics successfully completed its first roadshow in North America. Over the course of two and a half weeks during July and August 2018, the SPRINT Robotics group travelled through Texas and Louisiana to visit a multitude of sites along the Gulf Coast. The roadshow targeted a wide variety of sites such as operational facilities, refineries, chemical processing plants and even corporate offices.

Twelve SPRINT Robotics participating companies joined in a caravan with one or two stops per day: Baker Hughes, A GE Company; Diakont; Ecoserv; Flyability; Inuktun; IRISNDT; MFE Rentals; MISTRAS Group; Quest IntegrityROSEN GroupSCILDSonomatic.

The demonstrating companies displayed a mix of drones, crawlers, piggs and industrial cleaning services which provided a good overview of existing solutions and technologies. The aim was to bring robotic solutions to the doorsteps of potential end users in the oil, gas and chemical industries and thereby exposing inspection, maintenance and turnaround staff to market-ready solutions which can improve the safety and efficiency of their daily activities. This was successfully achieved as people got to see, first-hand, the technologies that can improve their line of work. The events were well attended throughout and generated keen interest. The initial feedback indicated that being able to interact with a wide variety of these tools stimulated tangible ways of overcoming specific challenges they face. By improving the understanding of how these technologies can be applied, it has been made even clearer for potential operators how risks can be reduced, and costs could be saved.

In many cases, attendees discussed current pressing challenges that were going to be addressed during a next or upcoming turnaround or inspection job, which lead demonstrating companies to think constructively on how to overcome these issues. Not only was this valuable for the various operators, but this also gave demonstrators a chance to gain deeper insights from the industry, thereby highlighting pathways to improve their technologies further or widening the application according to specific needs.

The outcomes of these interactions also lead many attendees to recommended other sites where they feel the need for greater exposure to these technologies. The impact of the roadshow can therefore be felt beyond the stops on the tour by a greater acceptance of these technologies in the industry in general. The SPRINT Robotics group will aim to build on this momentum.

SPRINT Robotics has already planned for a similar roadshow in Europe in September with the aim of providing an identical platform for interaction between end users and technology and service providers. By organizing these roadshows, the SPRINT Robotics collaborative is boosting partnerships and facilitating conjoint steps towards increased safety and asset integrity globally.