Anatomy of a Robotic Tank Inspection

Anatomy of a Robotic Tank Inspection

What is a Robotic Tank Inspection?

A Robotic Tank Inspection is a tank floor inspection performed using a remotely operated vehicle.  The advantage is the tank can remain full and in service during the inspection.  In a traditional API-653 floor inspection the tank is drained, cleaned, and degassed.  This requires the tank to be taken out of service for 3 to 4 weeks.  A robotic tank inspection can be performed at any time and has little impact on the facility or its operations.

Before the Inspection

Manta Robotics will contract an API-653 inspector to oversee the entire inspection.  The inspector will also perform the external portion of an API-653 inspection.  If the customer already has an API-653 inspector or would like to contract their own inspector for the job that is always an option.  Once an inspector is selected and briefed on the inspection the job can then start.

Deployment of the Robot

Robot deployment consists of placing the control trailer near the tank to be scanned. From there the cabling is deployed (approximately 600ft). The robot is then connected to the control systems and tested for proper operation and calibration. After calibration, the robot is purged to remove any oxygen from the system. Once completed the robot and cabling are hoisted to the top of the tank. Tanks with sloped or domed roofs require some roof-top scaffolding to perform the inspection safely.

Robot Deployment Sketch

A winch system is then used to lower the robot part of the way into the tank. At that point the robot is slowly rotated to give the API-653 inspector an opportunity to visually inspect the condition of the tank walls and roof. Once the inspector is satisfied with the visual inspection the robot is lowered to the tank floor and the floor inspection begins.

The floor inspection is managed by a certified Level 2 UT inspector. This ensures the data collected is of a good quality and accurately reflects the tank floor condition. Floor scanning is done in 10ft sections. A target location is selected to be scanned, then the tank floor is scanned in a straight line for 10ft. This is repeated until the API inspector and customer are satisfied that enough data is collected to get an accurate snapshot of the condition of the tank floor. The floor scanning can take anywhere from 2 to 4 days dependent upon the size of the tank.

External Inspection

The external portion of the API-653 inspection is performed the same way as any other API-653 inspection. The external inspection is performed at the same time as the robotic tank floor inspection is occurring.


Large amounts of data are collected during an inspection. The ultrasonic data is reviewed live by the certified UT inspector during the inspection, then later on the data is processed into a report which is then reviewed by the API-653 inspector and incorporated into the full API-653 inspection report. This process usually takes between 2 to 4 weeks.

How do I find out more?

Contact us on our contact page.