In-Service API Inspection: North Carolina Electric

Case Study: Robotic In-Service API Inspection


North Carolina Electrical Management Cooperative (NCEMC) currently reached out to Manta Robotics to help inspect two large diesels above ground storage tanks (AST’s) that were fast approaching their API-653 inspection deadline.


The large AST’s are critical to operation at this facility and taking the AST’s out-of-service for an extended amount of time was not an option for NCEMC. With limited time to complete their API inspection, no secondary fuel storage area, and no option of taking their tanks out-of-service, NCEMC reached out to Manta Robotics to help solve the issue.

NCEMC’s Shawn Fowler explains: ‘The main challenges we encountered when deciding on what type of tank inspection we were going to perform were the logistics of the project. The unwanted costs associated with burning the fuel for generation load, the costs associated with the transfer of fuel, and the secondary storage that would be needed.’

Fowler adds: ‘Our primary concern with transferring the fuel would have been the risk of personal contact and spillage, along with air permit issues. Our current air permit limits the amount of VOC emissions we’re allowed to release into the atmosphere, if we were to burn the fuel it would have reduced our allowable run time significantly.’


Manta Robotics specializes in the development of robotics for use in above ground petrochemical storage Tanks. By utilizing several different types of technology, we are capable of performing API 653 inspections while the AST remained fully operational and completely in-service.

Using robotics for internal inspections helps save tank owners and operators both time & money while meeting and exceeding API requirements. By deploying ROV’s, operators experience zero downtime, putting them back in control of their day-to-day operations.

Manta’s ROVs have undergone extensive third party testing and have successfully been issued Class I Div. I Group D certifications on multiple ROV’s.


For this particular project, both the internal and external inspections were performed simultaneously while the tanks remained in-service. The entire project was completed in less than 5 days with zero downtime experienced by the operator.

Performing a robotic tank bottom inspection significantly reduced the complexity and time that a traditional tank inspection would have taken. The logistical problems affiliated with draining the tanks and cleaning them were eliminated with this type of inspection. The tanks remained fully operational and completely in-service and the facilities ability to operate was never compromised.







Enjoy a quick video of the work done at NCEMC: