Is it Certified?
Does your robotic tank inspection solution have an NFPA certification?
Safety around, on, and especially in above-ground storage tanks (ASTs) is important. We wear clothing designed to prevent build up of static electricity. Cell phones are banned from use around ASTs that contain flammable liquids. Radios must be intrinsically safe. All these safety measures are designed to prevent ignition of the contents of ASTs. So why would anyone let an inspection company place a piece of equipment in a tank without making sure they actually have an NFPA certification?
Built to be Certified
At Manta Robotics we decided early on that we would build and deploy robots in a safe and efficient manner. This meant we absolutely had to design the equipment to operate safely in flammable liquids. In order to achieve this goal we pursued NFPA Certification. Our robots are designed with certification in mind. We chose the “purged and pressurized” method as it is the most technically feasible method allowed by the NFPA. The paints, metals, and construction materials were all chosen to prevent build up of static electricity or sparks from metal on metal contact. In addition, electrical connectors are not allowed inside the tank. We made difficult design decisions to meet this electrical requirement. These measures take away two of the elements required for combustion: oxygen and an ignition source. The third element obviously being the fuel in the AST. All of these measures are verified by an independent third party as part of our certification. This third party, Intertek Testing Services, has tested and ensured that our equipment meets all the requirements for safely putting our equipment in liquid fuel tanks.
What does this mean?
It means that if you don’t have the piece of paper in your hands that proves that the robotic inspection equipment a vendor is using is NFPA Certified, then you should be asking to see this information. Don’t make compromises with the safety of your ASTs.