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How one Canadian company reduced the time required to clean a tank from three months to three weeks

Canada-based Radical Robotics is an explosion-proof robotics company, specialising in tank cleaning using a combination of automated robotic tools and revolutionary software.

Its equipment is used for the likes of ConocoPhillips, Suncor, Imperial Oil, Enbridge, Syncrude, Meg Energy, Syncrude, CNRL CO-OP, CNRL, Cenovus, Shell, Connacher Oil and Gas and Pembina Pipeline to name a few.

Radical Robotics provides a range of tools, from its flagship high-pressure robotic cannons to its Radical Software VantageSuite, which guides customers from the initial planning phases of a job right through to completion.

The company also offers a range of new innovative products such as a new circulating management tank for solids removal during the seep process, its explosion proof 4 inch injectable robotic camera and its new high pressure robotic vessel cleaning system.

All its products are exclusively
distributed via Precise Tank Cleaning Tools. ‘Precise was formed specifically to distribute our products as we needed to ensure a distribution network we could trust,’ explains Dustin Kos, CEO of
Radical Robotics.

Although the products are mainly distributed across North America, Precise has recently added a marketing representative in Malta to begin focussing on both Asia and the Middle East. At the same time Radical Robotics is expanding its manufacturing facilities to meet current demand.


Flagship high
pressure water cannons

Radical Robotics’ manway cannons provide a much higher flow and impact force than anything else available in the market today,’ Kos explains.

They run 180° on 2 axis and supply up to 530 gpm at 300 psi creating an impact force of 498 lbs with a range of up to 150 ft.

The Radical manway cannons also have an advanced totally automated control system with many features not available elsewhere. Using the high-powered lighting and 4k camera capabilities (mounted on the cannons) it allows the operator to focus the cleaning activities on specific areas viewed in real time.

‘This is one of the only fully robotic class one/div one robotic camera available today,’ Kos says. The camera allows the operator to provide the client with accurate updates and live recordings or images of the work being performed for future reference.

‘A major feature of our products is the remote access capability,’ explains Kos. ‘This allows end-users to see in real time what is actually going on and to aid in the decision-making process.’

All of Radical Robotics’ products are designed to work in challenging conditions. ‘We have eliminated the heavy and hard to manhandle umbilical hose and cabling commonly used in these types of products and designed a much more versatile hose and cable system with ‘daisy chain’ capability. This means you run your hose and cables from the last tool, not from the main command centre,’ adds Kos.

Creating a virtual tank

One of the biggest differentiators between us and our competitors is our constant product development,’ Kos explains.

‘In the past robotics weren’t seen as particularly reliable, so up until recently we’ve been focusing on improving the tools to reduce any potential downtime.

Now that has been achieved, the focus has shifted to focusing on artificial intelligence. By being able to see what’s inside the tank you can improve the speed and efficiency of the tank clean.

One of the company’s biggest innovations is its interactive 3D tank management system, which allows for the creation of an accurate 3D model of the customers tank or vessel and can even be expanded to include the whole site as well.

‘Imagine sitting at a computer screen and placing all the nozzles and tooling before the job begins, as well as all structures or equipment in the area,’ Kos says. ‘You will see any obstructions which may impact the flow rate or impact force. From this you can determine ahead of time any areas that may need extra attention and make alternate plans in order to deal with these problem areas.

‘You can then run the model again and see how it actually works. You can keep making adjustments and running the models until your confident you’ve got
it right.’

Being able to visualise not just the piece of equipment being cleaned but also being able to perform a complete site layout for site management purposes is a major step in efficient pre-planning.

‘Using all this knowledge and simulating the process gives the ability to solve problems before you arrive at the jobsite, Kos adds. ‘Sharing this with your customer gives them the confidence in your plan for the job. And lastly, allowing the model to work in real time with information being garnered from the flow measurement systems, gives yet another set of eyes into the process.’


Reducing downtime

Radical Robotics understands that reducing downtime is critical to its customers.

‘We have managed to achieve a 75% time reduction compared to traditional tank cleaning methods and by using a 3-6 man crew rather than a 10-15 man crew,’ Kos explains. ‘It takes a company just one day to set up our equipment and (omit we can) clean tanks in hours, rather than days.

As an example it used to take Canada -based waste management specialist GFL Environmental over three months to clean a tank,’ Kos explains, ‘using our technology they can complete this in less than three weeks.’

Kos firmly believes that tank cleaning is not a ‘one size fits all’ approach. The company offers a variety of tools to accomplish each project efficiently and believes offering a complete cleaning package, incorporating artificial intelligence, is the key to success.


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Racical Robotics’ current offering:

  • Robotic Manway Cannons
  • Automated Tank Sweeps
  • Automated Track Machines
  • Robotic Vessel Cleaning Tooling
  • Robotic Lighting and Camera System
  • Fully Automated Circulation Management Tanks
  • Independent Camera and Lighting Systems
  • Universal Command Centre complete with the Radical Robotics Interactive Tank Management System.
  • Portable Mini Control Stations complete with the Radical Robotics Interactive Tank Management System.


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